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The Pentagon’s innovation arm has a new chief and a new strategy

September 1, 2023

Lauren C. Williams

Defense One

A 2019 meeting of the Defense Innovation Board.


By Lauren C. Williams, Defense One / September 1, 2023

The Pentagon’s new innovation chief wants to redefine how the Defense Department adopts commercial technology, starting with extending the Defense Innovation Unit’s reach into the combatant commands. 

“There was a time where, a bit, disruptors of the team was what was needed, because we just had to finally break through and change the way we were thinking about certain things,” said Doug Beck, the new director of the Defense Innovation Unit. “Now what we've got to do is we've got to be disruptors on the team, and that's about disruption at scale, which is more like the kind of world that I just came from. And that's why when I'm out here, I'm not wearing jeans. I'm wearing this thing,” the former Apple exec said, pointing to his tie. 

The Defense Innovation Unit has long had engagement teams across the department, but now, the goal is to hit “a-whole-nother level,” Beck told reporters Tuesday at the National Defense Industrial Association’s emerging-tech event.

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