The Department of Defense has chosen a senior expert from the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT to head a new military laboratory set to operate out of Cambridge. Its focus is mainly research and development. Many observers see this as an attempt by the military to max out on the technological potential of the region in the long-term.
The official, Bernadette Johnson, is poised to head the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental, which is known across the board as DIUx. This revelation was made by Secretary for Defense Ash Carter earlier this week.
Ms Johnson has a long and glittering resume, with a background in biological and chemical defense background that stretches way back. Her most recent posting was as the leading technology officer at the Lincoln Laboratory.
The DUIx initiative kicked off last year in one of the most popular technology centers of the world, Silicon valley. Cambridge is a show of intent from the department, seeing as it is the second office opened up over the course of 12 months. Secretary Carter handpicked a new set of leaders for the program in May, and this pointed to a shift in direction as well as a new sense of commitment going forward. It was also a way of bringing together industry professionals for a common purpose, from private sector specialists to independent technology professionals in the field.
The initiative was able to win a contract extension just a month after the shift in leadership, which again served as an indicator that there was a long term edge to the plan. There is the expectation that DUIx will provide more contracts in the days ahead, and there is a particular focus on initiatives that push forward research into water-based drones. Network Security is also considered a key area of interest, according to reports from the Pentagon.
Choice of Cambridge Was Highly Strategic
It seems that the decision to zero in on Cambridge was not a fluke. In his speech on Tuesday, Mr. Carter pitched for the area, praising it for a long, colorful history of collaboration and involvement in projects involving military Research and Development. MIT for one, with their world leading leading scientist, high-technological laboratories and laboratory equipment and cutting edge research, has been working with the military from as long as anyone can remember, with their breakout project being the ambitious rolling out of radar units in the thick of the Second World War.
Boston has also entrenched itself in the map, with tech-minded firms from the area having recently worked closely with the military to push robotics to the edge with robotic units whose inclination is to imitate human posture in a bid to accomplish more with minimal hassle.
Carter’s feel was that the Boston area has a rich background when it comes to technology. He touted the place as a meeting point of ideas and technology, two aspects that always work together for the sake of progress, according to his outlook.
In the Tuesday event, Secretary Carter also revealed a new-look Defense Innovation Advisory Board for Pentagon. The team is headed by Eric Schmidt from Aphabet Inc. It also includes new faces from the general Boston area.