Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX): Innovative or Excessive
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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In response to severe defense budget cuts, reduced force structure, and diminished U.S. technological superiority to near-peer competitors, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced the establishment of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental DIUx in 2015 in support of the Third Offset Strategy. The Department of Defense could no longer conduct business as usual with long acquisition timelines for expensive capabilities. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Austin, DIUx would seek out emerging technologies with non-traditional defense contractors. This paper objectively assesses whether or not DIUx is beneficial and can contribute to the Third Offset Strategy or simply another layer of bureaucracy compensating for shortcomings in other areas. When viewed through the lens of innovation, DIUx is structured and organized for success, does contribute to the Third Offset Strategy, and should be continued in the near term to allow additional time for the Department of Defense to innovate from the outside-in. To arrive at this conclusion, the paper first describes the genesis of the Third Offset and DIUx, and the short history of DIUx. Innovation principles from authors Vijay Govindarajan, Michael Docherty, and Clayton Christensen are then applied to DIUx. Lastly, concerns from congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 regarding DIUx are discussed and refuted.
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