Defense Innovation Board Recommends how to Boost US military innovation

The Defense Innovation Board is an organization set up in 2016 to bring the technological innovation and best practice of Silicon Valley to the U.S. Military. The board will have up to a dozen members selected by the chair (Eric Schmidt) in consultation with the US Secretary of Defense.

Patrick Tucker at Defense One reported on Defense Innovation Board’s new recommendations for United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

The problem that the Defense Innovation Board are addressing
* the US military does not know how to innovate and bureaucracy crushes innovation.
* China and other countries have become more successful at innovating

Obtained exclusively by Defense One before the meeting, A draft of several new recommendations include:

1. Design a fast track for new technology initiatives.

DoD should develop a sustainable process, as opposed to another rapid office, that would act as a “fast-track” for:
(1) identifying and prioritizing the most critical operational warfighting problems,
(2) assembling cross-functional teams that span organizational boundaries and disciplines to develop rapid solutions,
(3) including end users’ feedback from the beginning of the capability development process, and
(4) optimizing a pathway for those teams to accelerate fielding of solutions and continue working on them throughout their life cycle, with appropriate tradeoffs in time, cost, schedule, performance, and risk.

Responsibility for this process should lie with the Deputy Secretary of Defense (DSD) to demonstrate the seriousness with which the Department takes this gap and to ensure that a DoD-wide solution is ultimately applied across the enterprise, rather than place this new process within a particular Service, Combatant Command, or other organization.

Concurrently, the Department should find ways to reward and incentivize fast-tracking throughout the Department, as the novelty of this approach is reflective of a culture that does not value speed. While the proposed pathway described in this recommendation is designed to help DoD see major technology initiatives to fruition faster, it is not a panacea for every one of the Department’s major programs.

2. Start an incubator for DOD ‘startups’

3. Create an innovation + STEM career field.

4. Establish technology and innovation training for senior DoD leaders.

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