While the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has supported national startups with $5.5 billion since 2015 to try and reboot this historically sluggish sector, their current outputs have been anything but satisfying. And if a few tech startups like Anduril Industries have thrived, Pentagon bureaucracy still ends up hampering progress across the board.

Recently, the DIU also decided to reboot itself, seeking change under new leadership. Doug Beck, a Navy reservist and former Apple executive, now leads with a mission to enhance scalability. Beck, reporting directly to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, secured a new record budget (somehow the 'easy' part) and is now expanding staff and embedding employees worldwide. On paper Beck's diverse experience positions him as a translator between the long-cycle, risk-averse defense sector and the risk-taking, move-fast-and-break-things Silicon Valley's proverbial mindset.

The Bridge Builder
After more than a decade at Apple, Doug Beck is in charge of making sure the Pentagon doesn’t lose a tech race with China.

What is notable here is that the U.S., in the medtech and agrotech sector, has already largely managed to curb the FDA sluggishness and lower the barrier to entry to many waves of startups this last decade. It's certainly not perfect, but a high mark in another long-cycle, risk-averse sector.

As I'm currently training teams and executives on what is a customer-driven culture vs. a process-driven culture for key European contractors in the same defense market, Beck's vision is quite interesting. It focuses on the need for confirmed demand before technology pilots and aims to shorten the transition from prototype to contract.

So now the question is: who's our Beck in Europe?

The link has been copied!