Established in 2016 as a means of sharing creative thinking between U.S. military and industry leaders, the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) recently held its first meeting at the Pentagon led by DIB chairman of the board Michael Bloomberg. Private sessions included establishing U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) priorities as well as handling of investment capital and defining the DoD’s National Defense Science and Technology Strategy. Public sessions involved introductions of new DIB members (see image above).
Regarding the meetings, Bloomberg said, “The U.S. Department of Defense has built the greatest military force in the world, and it's always incredibly impressive to hear from Secretary Austin and his senior team—as we've done throughout the day today. There's certainly no shortage of challenges and opportunities facing them right now... adaptability and innovation have become increasingly critical to the Pentagon, and to American security and leadership around the world.”
Bloomberg added that the need for tight collaboration between the military and the private sector are more important than ever: “America's private sector leads in global R&D... and the private sector has a vital role to play in expanding our nation's capabilities. That requires not just new ideas, but also new partnerships that can better connect businesses, government, and academia.” Bloomberg feels that identifying those partnerships is an important role for the DIB.
The DIB includes members from academia, government, and industry, such as Gilda Barabino, president of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering; Susan Gordon, a member of the boards of directors (BoDs) at CACI International, Avantus Federal, MITRE, and BlackSky; Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn co-founder of Inflection AI, and partner at Greylock; and retired Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former chief of naval operations.
Additional DIB members include William Roper Jr., distinguished professor at Georgia Tech, senior advisor at McKinsey and Co., and former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics; Ryan Swann, chief data analytics officer at Vanguard; and William “Mac” Thornberry, former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and member of the board of directors at CAE USA.