Brown shares next steps as he departs DIU

By Briana Reilly / September 2, 2022 at 10:55 AM

The outgoing head of the Pentagon's Silicon Valley outreach team announced he'll be taking on two new roles where he'll be continuing "to cheer for" the Defense Innovation Unit following his departure today.

Director Mike Brown wrote in an email to DIU staff Thursday, which was later shared with Inside Defense, that he’ll be a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Center for a New American Security’s Board of Advisors next year.

“I will continue to cheer for you all in pursuing our shared mission: ensuring technology is a force for good supporting our military and providing our warfighters every advantage,” he wrote.

Brown, DIU’s longest serving leader and a key advocate for the small-budget unit, has been at its helm since fall 2018. His replacement has not yet been named, though Deputy Mike Madsen will serve as acting director in the interim, a Defense Department spokesman confirmed to Inside Defense this week.

In his email, Brown touted the work the unit has done over those years, including transitioning 50 prototype projects, bringing 100 first-time vendors into the national security base “and influencing policy and practice to fight adversarial capital, fund deep tech and make it easier for vendors to succeed at DOD.”

“We have more momentum than at any time in our history and DIU will continue to be a force for disruptive change in the department,” he added.

Still, he cautioned the military must move faster to transition commercial solutions to warfighters and help non-traditional suppliers achieve success.

In addition to the need to change DOD processes -- likely a reference to his so-called “fast follower” strategy -- Brown touted the need for “an effective, well-funded approach to adopt commercial technology,” which he stressed “is critical to modernizing DOD.”