One theme of Defense Secretary Ash Carter's term in office has been ensuring the department gets warfighters what they need when they need it
... now and in the future.
Kevin Baron, right, executive editor of Defense One, introduces Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Defense One Tech Summit in Washington, D.C., June 10, 2016. Carter spoke about the intersection between technology and defense.
(DoD photo by Jim Garamone)
Carter told the Defense One Tech Summit at the Newseum on June
10, 2016 that he is looking at the intersection between technology
and defense as the logical place for this emphasis as he continues
to put in place programs and organizations to meet the needs of
warfighters faster and more efficiently in an increasingly
One example is the Defense Innovation Board, which the secretary
announced in March. Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt chairs
the board, and Carter announced other members at the summit. The
board will include Reid Hoffman, the head of LinkedIn; former U.S.
Special Operations Command chief retired Navy Adm. William McRaven; and noted
innovation historian Walter Isaacson, he said.
“And we've got
some additional amazing innovators lined up, so stay tuned for who
else will be joining them,” he added.
Carter said he has
asked the board to keep DoD “imbued with a culture of innovation in
people, organizations, operations, and technology.” He wants the
board to champion people who aren't afraid to try new things, fail,
regroup and try again, he said.
The secretary also said he
wants to ensure the department is “doing everything we can to stay
ahead of potential adversaries.”
But the board does not act alone. DoD's Strategic
Capabilities Office also is coming into its own, Carter said. The
office, which the secretary established in 2012 when he was deputy
secretary, re-imagines existing DoD systems and gives them new roles
and game-changing capabilities to confound enemies.
building fast, resilient microdrones that can be kicked out the back
of a fighter jet moving at Mach .9 and fly through heavy winds,”
Carter said. “We're developing an arsenal plane, which will function
as a very large airborne magazine with different conventional
payloads, networked to fifth-generation aircraft that act as forward
sensors and targeting nodes.”
The secretary also pointed to his Silicon Valley start-up, the
Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx. He has since announced a second DIUx in
Boston. These efforts are bridges between DoD and tech companies
that might not normally consider doing business with the department,
All of these efforts are based around people,
the secretary said. “They're the key reason why our military is the
finest fighting force the world has ever known,” he added. “And in
the future, we must continue to recruit and retain the very best
talent for our all-volunteer force.”
The secretary segued
into a discussion of the Force of the Future and its implications
for his signature initiative. The Force of the Future will “ensure
that amid changes in generations, technologies, and labor markets,
we're always postured to bring in, develop, and retain the best
young men and women that America has to offer,” he said.
force initiative covers the personnel aspects of the department, he
noted. “As part of that, we're implementing several new initiatives
to give some of our own people, military and civilian, the
opportunity to get out and to learn how the rest of the world works
outside of our walls,” he said.
Fellowship programs and a career
intermission program are just two examples of the vistas now open to
military personnel, Carter said. “We're also looking for ways to
allow more of America's brightest minds to contribute to our mission
of national defense,” he added. “We're bringing in resident
entrepreneurs, who will work with senior leaders on challenging
projects for a year or two.”
is hiring a chief recruiting officer to bring in top executives for
stints in civilian leadership roles.
The new Defense Digital
Service is bringing in coders from companies such as Google,
Palantir, and Shopify for a “tour of duty” with the department.
“We're also nearing completion of our pilot program called “Hack the
Pentagon,” where we invited vetted hackers to test our cybersecurity,”
the secretary said. The program exceeded expectations, said he told
the summit audience, with more than 1,400 hackers testing the
security of DoD's networks and finding more than 100 bugs so far.
More needs to be done, Carter said, and he promised to continue
his emphasis in this area until the day he leaves office.
By Jim Garamone
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