Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced Thursday that the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) will undergo a re-branding. The unit will drop “experimental” from its name and will be called Defense Innovation Unit, or DIU.
As for the reason behind the name change, Shanahan said it was to show that the unit is a permanent fixture inside the Pentagon.
“Removing ‘experimental’ reflects DIU’s permanence within the DoD,” Shanahan said in a memo on Thursday. “DIUx has generated meaningful outcomes for the department and is a proven, valuable asset. Though DIU will continue to experiment with new ways of delivering capability to the warfighter, the organization itself is no longer an experiment. DIU remains vital to fostering innovation across the Department and transforming the way DoD builds a more lethal force.”
The unit was founded in 2015 to help the U.S. military and technology sector collaborate so that the government can quickly deploy emerging technologies. Staffed by civilian and both active duty and reserve military personnel, the unit is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.–Silicon Valley–with offices in Boston, Austin, and the Pentagon.
“DIU has provided meaningful solutions to some of the toughest challenges by successfully accelerating commercial technology into the Department,” Michael Madsen, who leads DIU’s Washington, D.C., office, said in a statement to Defense News. “We appreciate senior department leaders’ commitment to our mission and the opportunity to expand our lessons learned throughout the DoD to benefit the men and women in uniform.”
While DIU is moving forward with strong support from Shanahan, it has undergone significant shakeup this year. Previously, DIUx reported directed to the Secretary of Defense. However, back in February the reporting structure changed and DIUx now answers to undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. Raj Shah, who led DIUx for the last two years, also stepped down earlier this year. The Pentagon is still searching for a permanent replacement. Sean Heritage has been serving as acting managing director since Shah stepped down.