The Defense Innovation Board (DIB) held a public meeting on November 14, 2023. Once the meeting was called in session by the Designated Federal Officer and DIB Executive Director, Dr. Marina Theodotou, the DIB Chair, Mr. Michael Bloomberg, and members discussed the status of the two studies underway and explored topics for the next tranche of studies expected to begin in January 2024.
Since October 6, 2023, the Defense Innovation Board has been distilling key internal innovation impediments to the Department. The Lowering the Barriers to Innovation study will articulate actionable recommendations to the Department, and the results will be announced at the January 26, 2024, Defense Innovation Board Public Meeting. The study Terms of Reference can be found here.
Building on the 2021 Data Decrees, it is imperative that the DoD utilizes data as a product to responsibly harness the power of disruptive technologies, such as generative artificial intelligence (AI), and Large Language Models (LLMs) to out-innovate our adversaries in support of the warfighter. To address this challenge, the Defense Innovation Board is conducting a study on Building a DoD Data Economy. The purpose of this study is to strengthen data-centricity and enhance decision advantage in the Department by 1) assessing the current state of the DoD data economy, including identifying gaps and opportunities, 2) providing best-in-class industry practices to Department needs, including principles, frameworks, and metrics, and 3) developing actionable and outcomes-driven recommendations, building on current strategies and initiatives, for an assured, available, and accessible DoD data economy for 2025 and beyond. The results of the study will be announced at the January 26, 2024, Defense Innovation Board Public Meeting. The study Terms of Reference can be found here.
To inform its efforts on the two studies, the Board heard from Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matt Pine who shared perspectives on the barriers to innovation facing the U.S. Marine Corps. He spoke about the need to address acquisition and approval challenges, create a culture of innovation through promotion reform, shift away from “up or out” for promotions, and allow Warfighters to collect and use technical data. The Board also heard from Mr. Ryan Connell, Deputy Director of the Defense Contracting Management Agency Commercial Item Group, who shared perspectives on lowering barriers to innovation in contracting.
To inform the Board’s effort on the second study, two speakers presented their perspectives on building the DoD Data Economy. Mr. Tom Sasala, Deputy Director of the U.S. Army Office of Enterprise Management, discussed the need to confront cultural barriers against the use of real data, develop data awareness among defense leaders, train Soldiers in the use of data, and push senior leaders to model data-driven decision-making across the DoD. The Board also heard from Ms. Meridith Fonseca, Chief Data Officer U.S. Army Pacific, who highlighted struggles with data cataloging and ownership, bilateral data agreements in INDOPACOM, retaining talented data professionals, and senior leaders effectively using and trusting data.
Secretary Austin was apprised of the status of the two studies by the Board Chair Mr. Bloomberg in writing at the end of the meeting. The Board is expected to present the study results to Secretary Austin and Deputy Secretary Hicks in January 2024.
The DIB provides the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and other senior leaders with independent advice and recommendations on innovative means to address future challenges through the prism of three focus areas: people and culture, technology and capabilities, and practices and operations.
Additional information about the DIB and the Terms of Reference for these two current studies can be found on its website: https://innovation.defense.gov