The Pentagon is creating a new advisory board in hopes of helping the U.S. military become “more innovative and adaptive in developing technology and doing business.” The new Defense Innovation Advisory Board was announced by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday at the RSA cyber security conference in San Francisco. As part of the unveiling, Carter also revealed that Alphabet Inc executive chairman Eric Schmidt will head up the board.
Schmidt indicated he has hopes the new panel will help bridge a gap that exists between the military and the technology sector. The panel will be made up of an additional 12 individuals who will join Carter and Schmidt. The Alphabet leader says he has identified a short list of people who have experience with large private and public organizations and who have shown the ability to identify and adopt new technology. However, he has not yet started contacting those individuals. The first meeting of the board could take place as soon as April.
This latest move is part of Secretary Carter’s efforts to “keep the department thinking fresh, bringing in new ideas, [and] bringing in new voices.” Carter is a big believer in the use of science and technology to enhance the U.S. military, especially during a time when Russia and China continue to expand their capabilities.
Carter has also been active in courting expertise from Silicon Valley. This is already Carter’s third trip to the area since taking office a year ago. Prior to that, Silicon Valley had not seen visits from a defense secretary for two decades. Carter sees people from Silicon Valley as having unique insights and knowledge to share on topics like rapid prototyping, iterative product development, complex data analysis, mobile and cloud applications and organizational information sharing.