Austin taps Bloomberg to chair Defense Innovation Board

By Tony Bertuca / February 9, 2022 at 2:44 PM

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has asked former New York Mayor and one-time presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to serve as chairman of the Defense Innovation Board, according to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.

“Bloomberg, an entrepreneur and leader who served three terms as the mayor of New York City, brings a wealth of experience in technology, innovation, business, and government to the Defense Innovation Board,” Kirby said. “His leadership will be critical to ensuring the department has access to the best and brightest minds in science, technology, and innovation through the team of diverse experts he will lead as the chair of the board.”

Bloomberg, according to a Pentagon press release, has accepted the nomination.

“Innovation and adaptability are absolutely critical at any large organization, and there is no organization bigger or more complex than the Department of Defense,” Bloomberg said in the release. “With rapid advances in technology happening alongside rapidly evolving threats to our national security and the safety of our service members, our largest government agency must also be our most forward-thinking. I’m honored to work with Secretary Austin, Deputy [Defense] Secretary [Kathleen] Hicks, other senior Defense Department leaders and innovators from government and business to help bring new ideas and outside perspective that can help protect Americans and our values, interests, and allies around the world.”

The board, which was previously chaired by Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive officer of Google, paused all operations last year following Austin’s “zero-based review” of all DOD advisory boards and committees.

As the chairman of the DIB, Bloomberg will “lead a group of renowned-experts and leaders from across the nation’s innovation base who will provide strategic insights and recommendations on technology and innovation to address the Department’s highest national security priorities,” according to the Pentagon.

Along with DIB’s reinstatement, Kirby announced several other boards that have been reestablished: the National Security Education Board; the National Security Agency Emerging Technologies Panel; the Advisory Board for the National Reconnaissance Office; the Army Education Advisory Committee; the Education for Seapower Advisory Board; the Board of Visitors for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation; the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program Scientific Advisory Board; and the Board of Regents, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Positions for the boards will be filled in the coming weeks.

Austin reinstated several key advisory boards in September, including the Defense Business Board, the Defense Policy Board and the Defense Science Board.

“The department’s boards and committees have been and will continue to be a valuable resource as we defend the nation, take care of our people, and succeed through teamwork,” Kirby said.