Defense Department Building An Innovation Advisory Board

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has named Alphabet (the new parent company for all Google businesses) executive chairman Eric Schmidt as the chair of the newly constituted Defense Department Innovation Advisory Board (H/T WIRED).  Aside from Schmidt’s work at Alphabet, he serves on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST).

The board will have up to 12 members, and be selected by both Schmidt and Secretary Carter.  The mission of the board, according to the Department’s press release, is to:

“provide department leaders independent advice on innovative and adaptive means to address future organizational and cultural challenges, including the use of technology alternatives, streamlined project management processes and approaches – all with the goal of identifying quick solutions to DoD problems.”

Members are expected to be leaders of (or have led) major public and/or private organizations and have experience with identifying advanced technology concepts.  The Department sees this board as comparable to the Defense Business Board, and would likely meet quarterly.

No first meeting date has been announced yet, but that is not likely to happen until the full slate of board members have been selected by Carter and Schmidt.  How much this board will be able to do before the Presidential transition is unclear.  Absent a statutory basis for the board fixing terms independent of whomever is President, this process will be restarted (or possibly not) under the next administration.


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