DIU director will discuss defense priorities at SXSW

By Georgina DiNardo / February 22, 2024 at 11:32 AM

The Defense Innovation Unit director is set to speak at the South by Southwest 2024 conference in Austin, TX, held March 8-10, discussing technology projects with industry executives and national security innovation leaders.

“Our presence in key technology ecosystems like Austin helps us identify the best technology and talent for national security,” DIU Director Doug Beck said in a press release announcing his participation in the high-profile event.

SXSW is a wide-ranging conference and festival that focuses on an array of subjects, including technology, film, music and culture. Beck will speak on two panels at the conference portion focused on technology.

The discussion will include talk about “defense priorities and trending technologies that can help solve national and global security challenges” from a variety of individuals from industry, private capital, technology experts and senior leaders, DIU said in the release.

“Events are aimed at helping cultivate and propel the defense innovation ecosystem with allies and partners by creating an uncommon opportunity to converge in the same place, at the same time and with a shared purpose,” DIU said.

A new Capital Factory joint innovation space will be launched at the conference, including a ribbon-cutting event, with Beck set to speak at the launch on March 9.

“The joint workspace will enable innovation-focused entities to connect and collaborate support of the DIU mission to rapidly deliver capabilities to maximize strategic impact,” DIU said.

On March 10, Beck will be on a panel called “Secret Squirrel: The Future of Defense and Intelligence” with John Beiler, director of science and technology in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, discussing the “transformative role” technology plays in defense and intelligence.

“They [will] explore the evolving landscape of national defense and intelligence in the age of rapid technological advancement,” the release said. “This session offers a deep dive into new initiatives with insights into how the DIU and the ODNI are collaborating with tech innovators and startups to embrace innovative technologies.”

Beck will join a second panel that same day, called “Greatest Innovator in the History of the World,” that also includes Stefanie Tompkins, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, that aims to spread awareness of the impact defense innovation has on society.