Apple exec named new DIU chief, unit elevated

By Tony Bertuca / April 4, 2023 at 2:59 PM

Doug Beck, previously the vice president of Apple, has been named to be the next director of the Defense Innovation Unit, which will now report directly to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to a Pentagon announcement.

Beck, a captain in the Naval Reserve, joined Apple in 2009. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan with a joint special operations task force from 2006 to 2007.

“Mr. Beck has previous experience working with DIU, as he founded and led its joint reserve component from inception in 2015 through 2019,” the Pentagon said. “He has also served extensively throughout the Asia Pacific region during his nearly 26 years of service, including command of a large joint reserve unit supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.”

The position of DIU director, which will now report directly to Austin, previously reported to the under secretary of defense for research and engineering.

As DIU director Beck will “oversee efforts to accelerate the department's adoption of commercial technology throughout the military and also serve as a senior advisor to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense on technology innovation, competition, and strategic impact,” according to the Pentagon.

The Defense Department is seeking approximately $105 million for DIU in fiscal year 2024, a $35 million increase above what Congress enacted in FY-23. However, the final FY-23 DIU topline was boosted by Congress and the Defense Department took criticism from lawmakers for only requesting $36.5 million in FY-23.

Beck will succeed Mike Brown, DIU’s longest serving director who stepped down last September.

Austin, in a new memo, is requiring Beck to provide him with an assessment in 90 days of DIU's capabilities and a proposed plan of action for achieving key goals.

"The DIU director shall serve as a leader inside the department to catalyze engagement with and investment into private sector communities where commercial technology can be adapted an applies to meet our warfighters’ requirements,” Austin said.

Additionally, Austin said, the DIU director will also serve as a “focal point for new and emerging commercial technology sectors to help identifying dual-use pathways and adaptations that enable rapid transition and fielding of new technologies.”