Defense Business Brief: DIU in India; armor deal; shutdown watch, and more...
NEW DELHI—The Pentagon’s innovation arm is going international.
Doug Beck, the new head of the Defense Innovation Unit, arrived in New Delhi to co-host an event with his Indian counterpart, Vivek Virmani, the chief operating officer for Innovations for Defence Excellence in the Indian defense ministry on Nov. 8.
The India-U.S. Defense Acceleration Ecosystem, or INDUS-X, event, invited startups, nonprofit organizations and investors to talk about how private capital could be used to spur defense tech innovation in both countries. Beck hosted the event just days before joining Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for the India-US 2+2 ministerial dialogue here on Nov. 10.
The two countries have been working feverishly to tighten their defense relationship, with multiple engagements this year and a strategic roadmap that explores joint projects to solve common tech problems, including those in munitions, mobility, air combat support, intelligence and surveillance, and undersea domain awareness. DIU has turned its focus to scaling technologies that work.
As part of that, the countries are holding tech challenges to find the best solutions for high-speed undersea communications and for spotting and tracking oil spills. There’s a $150,000 prize for each challenge; winners are expected to be announced early next year.
“Challenges are initiatives that put a problem out to solvers around the world, and allow startups at early/mid-stage with commercial technology to compete for financial awards for providing the best technology solutions along with potential procurement opportunities,” Beck said.
DIU and IDEX also announced an educational series, Gurukul, to help tech companies navigate the defense ecosystem by holding monthly events where government officials, commercial leaders, and U.S. and Indian start-ups can discuss regulations and business and technology development.
“These events, these challenges, and this new education series are all pieces of a deeper collaboration,” Beck said. “As we're defending against potential adversaries, particularly here in the region, we're not going to get there with the speed that we need to or the capability that we need without leveraging the very best technology. This is even more important as 11 of the 14 areas of critical technology for defense needs that we track in the department are actually going faster in the commercial tech world.”
In addition to India, Beck said DIU is working with other U.S. allies and partners—such as the UK, Australia, NATO, and Japan—with “tech innovators in both the public and private sector, so that we can work together in support of our common strategic objectives. That's an important part of what we're doing.”
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Shutdown watch: We’re here again, counting the days and hours to see whether the GOP-led House of Representatives can avoid a wasteful government shutdown. The deadline is midnight on Nov. 17, as is well known by those in the Defense Department and across the federal government who have been pulled off their regular jobs to plan.
What’s at stake: a shutdown would “halt the payments of salaries across the Department of Defense, furlough hundreds of thousands civilian employees, and slow the pace of war planning and the military modernization, Pentagon leaders said in late September.
Latest: The House may take up a proposal from Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, that would “fund federal agencies into early 2024 with two staggered deadlines, allowing lawmakers time to try to finish off the annual spending bills and putting off a debate over wartime aid to Israel and Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.
U.S., India ink armor deal: The two countries plan to co-produce Stryker armored vehicles in a move designed to boost India’s military capabilities and deter China, defense officials announced Friday. Lauren Williams has more, here.
Cybersecurity rule: Meanwhile, the Pentagon is inching closer to issuing the rule that will govern its implementation of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification regime. The rule is expected to be in the “hundreds of pages,” Matt Travis, the chief executive officer of the Cyber Accreditation Body, said at an event hosted by D1’s sister pub GovExec. But here are five things to look out for, per Federal News Network.
Lastly this week: Remember the sky-is-falling reports about China’s new smartphone chip? It might not be all that, write BluePath Labs’ Matt Brazil and New America’s Peter W. Singer. Read their argument.