Emphasis on innovation in the 2023 Defense Policy Bill

The Defense Innovation Unit, which is tasked with facilitating the development and acquisition of cutting-edge technologies at the Ministry of Defense, is ready to receive a doubling of its requested budget for 2023.

Representative Jim Banks (R-Ind.), A member of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems, said in his opening remarks that he was “proud” to increase the budget of the House of Representatives. Defense innovation claims $ 42.9 million to $ 81 million in the House of Representatives version of the 2023 National Defense Permit Act.

The HASC passed an amendment to Bill 42-17, allowing $ 839 billion to fund the Department of Defense. That amount is more than the Biden administration’s budget request, but about $ 8 billion less than the Senate version of the bill passed last week.

“DIU’s mission to bring capabilities to the department to improve capabilities and deploy them faster is vital in this era of dual-use technology,” Banks said during the June 22 marking. “The work of DIU should be expanded, not shrunk, which is why we doubled its funding compared to last year’s figures. I encourage appropriators to follow suit. “

The bill also includes a $ 8 million increase for DIUs in authorized artificial intelligence and open source prototype funds with machine learning capability for information effects and information environments.

Michael Brown, the outgoing director of the Department of Defense Innovation, said that these funds, if allocated, could be used to further expand the agency’s ability to “have a much wider reach to international allies and partners and to make sure their technology is included in what we consider. “

“We have made great progress. And I think we’ve set a plan for some of the things that can be done in the next phase, because we’re making sure that what we’ve done integrates with more mass acquisition, “Brown said on June 22 during a virtual event with the Center for a New American Security, based in the Washington Brain Trust.

But controversy over how Congress is tracking this expansion has sparked a debate over whether the Defense Innovation Unit should inform Congress of its reach to economically disadvantaged communities when opening new offices.

Congress gave the Secretary of Defense the green light to expand the agency’s footprint at the national level in the 2022 Defense Permit Bill with an amendment requiring a briefing by January 2023 on “what steps has the DIU taken to extend its reach to communities, such as economically disadvantaged communities, which

they do not have the presence of a DIU and a strategy to continue to do so. “

The amendment was passed 30-28, but several Republicans in the committee opposed it. Banks said the measure “would cover DIUs with more mandates and make them do more things that have nothing to do with the mission.”

But with a significant increase in the top line ahead of DOD, spokesman Anthony Brown (D-Md.) Said there was nothing burdensome in a briefing on what the innovation body was doing in the face of its allowed expansion.

“We’re going to increase the defense budget by $ 36 billion, I think $ 37 [billion] and the briefing is excessive? Every member of this committee, both Democrats and Republicans, has experienced dragging and unresponsive DOD when we have requested information. Sometimes they are responsive. They often are not. We want a briefing, “Brown said.

The chairman of the commission, representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Said that the scope in areas outside the known technology centers is central to the DIU’s mission.

“Ideas don’t just come from rich, affluent neighborhoods, well,” Smith said. “[They] they don’t just come from Silicon Valley. They don’t just come from Bellevue. They come from all over the country and I think it’s appropriate to encourage DIUs to find them, I think that’s at the heart of their mission. “

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