Work, Kendall talk tech superiority with DIUX leadership

Shutterstock image (by alienant): An aerial view of the pentagon rendered as a vector.

(alienant / Shutterstock)

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and Frank Kendall, the department’s top acquisition official, met Aug. 4 with the new leadership of the Pentagon’s nascent outreach office to Silicon Valley, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson said.

The Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUX) that Secretary Ashton Carter announced in April is housed at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif. There, Work and Kendall – the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics – met with DIUX Director George Duchak and Rear Adm. Brian Hendrickson, the office’s military deputy, Hillson said. The discussion focused on “technological superiority, the rapid evolution of emerging commercial technologies and integrating those ideas within military systems and concepts of operations,” she added.

The appointments of Duchak and Hendrickson made tangible an office that has existed mainly in the abstract since it was announced.

Hendrickson is a Navy SEAL with an MBA from Harvard University. Duchak is former director of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate and a onetime program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Naval Academy alumnus’ official biography touts his decade of private-sector experience but is mum on who employed him. Duchak founded SAGE Solutions Group Inc., a Centreville, Va., firm, according to a Utica Observer-Dispatch report.

While DIUX is still getting off the ground, military officials have portrayed their respective services as ahead of the game. A week after DIUX was unveiled, Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. William Bender revealed that the Air Force was setting up its own Silicon Valley office, and that the service had had a liaison in the area for a year.

The Navy has 36 agreements with small and medium-sized businesses in Silicon Valley to do basic and applied research, according to Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mathias Winter. The Navy “has had a long and enduring and robust relationship with Silicon Valley for over 60 years,” he said Aug. 5 at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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