Federal Relations

April 23, 2015

DOD Announces Silicon Valley Outpost for Cyber

In a speech at Stanford today, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a new initiative designed to improve Department of Defense  (DOD) innovation through the creation of a permanent Pentagon presence in Silicon Valley, a move already taken by the Department of Homeland Security.  The Department plans to create the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental in Northern California to serve as a permanent office that will be a conduit between the California technology community, military reservists, and the DOD.

Secretary Carter emphasized increasing innovation with better partnering between industry, startups, and academia with government funded research and development. The Defense Innovation Unit will be designed to reach out to the commercial sector to drive new technologies, better connect DOD activities with those in Silicon Valley, and find better ways to transition DOD discoveries.

This effort is part of department’s work to regain technological superiority as announced in November through the Defense Innovation Initiative (DII). DII is intended to focus on three themes: increasing competitiveness by attracting talented workforce, develop and field breakthrough technologies and to use current capabilities in different ways, and finding new ways to fight, train and create organizational constructs. In addition, DOD recognizes the need to be more open to global, commercial technology and learn from advances in the private sector.

This annoucment is a significant update to the Pentagon’s four year-old cyber-strategy. It will commit DOD to creating an effective deterrent to cyberattacks against America, but also stresses the limits of the military’s role in cyberspace. Two key components of that deterrent will be denying attackers the benefits they hope to gain from a cyberattack and ensuring there’s a U.S. response to every major attack, even if it’s just a strongly-worded public statement, the official said.

Other strategy goals include strengthening DOD’s cyber infrastructure, improving the department’s cyber intelligence and warning capabilities, and working with the DHS to share information The strategy also reflects a shift to more actively incorporating the military’s Reserve and National Guard components into Cyber Mission Forces.