Defense Department opens tech office in Boston

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CAMBRIDGE – The Department of Defense has opened a Boston office for its Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental (DIUx), an effort to close the military’s technology gap while dodging some of the red tape which has historically bound the military-industrial complex.

In his remarks at the opening, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, himself a former Harvard professor, praised Boston as a hub of innovative thinking and innovative technology. DIUx  serves as a bridge between U.S. security needs and cutting edge technology developed in the private sector. Carter’s hope is that the DIUx will allow the military to bypass much of the Pentagon bureaucracy that stifles innovation, by delving directly into the vast network of entrepreneurs and firms surrounding “innovation hubs” such as Boston, uniting their endeavors with the country’s military needs.

DIUx, which now has two offices bookending the nation, one in Silicon Valley and one in Cambridge, has three components. One familiarizes military officials and local entrepreneurs with each other’s needs and capabilities, and another analyzes what technology in the military is outdated, while the third and largest team, the Venture Team, is tasked with producing tangible contracts between private and defense sector.

The first tech company to have entered into a contract through DIUx is Halo Neuroscience, which produces headphones adapted to improve military training, a critical U.S. military need as more troops are deployed to the Middle East to train Iraqi soldiers combating ISIS.