Joint Defense Innovation workspace opens in Austin

By Georgina DiNardo / March 13, 2024 at 12:49 PM

The Defense Innovation Unit, in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory and NavalX, opened a new Joint Defense Innovation workspace in Austin, TX last week intended to further relationships with technology companies and lower barriers between government and industry collaboration.

“Catalyzing the [Defense Department's] innovation entities into a community of impact provides an opportunity for greater synergy and impact, from the local to a national level,” DIU Director Doug Beck said in a statement.

“I’m thrilled by the teamwork and partnership represented by this step in building our presence together here in Austin,” he said.

The workspace, launched March 8, aims to act as the “front door to DOD” for the innovation community, allowing fresh talent and ideas to integrate into national security objectives, according to DIU.

"This new space is a testament to the strong collaboration happening across the DOD's innovation organizations," said Col. Elliott Leigh, director of AFWERX and Air Force chief commercialization officer.

The space was unveiled in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Austin’s South by Southwest 2024 conference and festival.

Capt. Casey Plew, director of NavalX, said Austin was picked for the new space due to its “strategically important innovation ecosystem,” that specifically allows for innovative solutions to Navy and Marine Corps issues.

The workspace is situated at the Capital Factory, which is near government innovation centers like the Army Applications Laboratory, according to DIU.

Joshua Baer, founder and CEO of Capital Factory, noted DIU launched the first Austin-based outpost in 2016.

“Since then, we’ve tracked more than $500 million in government funding to Texas startups with dual-use technology,” he said. “This expansion will undoubtedly result in new Government funding to protect our future and fuel our economy.”