The Defense Innovation Unit is celebrating its fifth birthday. DIU reports a total of 208 Other Transaction Authorities (legally binding instruments used for rapid research, prototyping and production projects) in its five-year history, and 40% of its contracts have gone to production.
- The original vision for DIU was to tap into investment and the speed of advances within the commercial technology industry and bring those benefits to DoD, according to Deborah Lee James, Former Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.
- James said DIU has added value to DoD in three ways: raising awareness of commercial innovations in the private sector, raising awareness on the use of Other Transaction Authorities and successfully transitioning a number of programs from prototypes to actual Programs of Record.
- DIU needs to keep working on addressing the “valley of death,” the period of a couple of years between an idea and its implementation into a Program of Record, which causes a strain on small companies as they wait for additional funding, said James.