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DIUx Startup Collaboration

Helping the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental bridge the gap between the Department of Defense and the tech community to better access innovative and emerging technologies to solve critical national security challenges

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About DIU

DIU's mission is to accelerate commercial technology for national security. They are a fast-moving government entity that provides recurring revenue to companies to solve national security problems.

The challenge

How might the Department of Defense better collaborate with start-ups?

As an Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) organization, DIU solves critical DoD technical challenges by leveraging commercial technology and/or methodologies. The focus is on working with non-traditional companies (i.e., start-ups) who traditionally do not work with the DoD and/or see them as a customer. DIU leverages a unique mixture of military and tech experts to solve DoD customer problems while utilizing rapid acquisition vehicles as a means to an end - solving the problems. These cross-functional and collaborative teams are comprised of military and civilians and can work together in ambiguous, bureaucratic environments. Customers range from Services to COCOMS to SEAL teams.

DIU’s technical focus areas include: 1) Autonomy (drones, robotics, counter-drones–in the air and underwater); 2) Space (includes launch, analytics on satellite data, space situational awareness); 3) AI/ML (decision making, autonomy applications, automation of cyber); 4) Human Systems (wearables on soldiers that provide real-time biometrics, situational awareness in combat, etc.); and 5) IT (catch-all for cyber security, networking, agile software development, big data and analytics)

DIU is looking for two Presidential Innovation Fellows to help bridge the gap between the DoD and the tech and innovation community. These individuals should have a understanding of technology within DIU’s focus areas (AI/ML, autonomy, networking and security, etc.), experience running large programs in the commercial world, entrepreneurial backgrounds with success in founding and selling a tech start-up and/or tech policy experience.”