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A new roster of members of the Defense Innovation Board met Monday at the Pentagon for the first time. Michael Bloomberg is the board’s chair.

The DIB was established in 2016 and provides Defense Department leadership with advice and recommendations on innovative ways to address departmental challenges with a focus on people and culture, technology and capabilities, and practices and operations. 

The board held closed sessions early in the day when they met with Pentagon leadership to discuss Defense Department priorities and challenges, including investment capital and the department’s National Defense Science and Technology Strategy. In the afternoon, the board held a public session to introduce new members.

“I know I speak for all my fellow board members when … I say we’re honored to have been asked to serve at such a critical time,” Bloomberg said. “The U.S. Department of Defense has built the greatest military force in the world, and it’s always incredibly impressive to hear from Secretary Austin and his senior team — as we’ve done throughout the day today. There’s certainly no shortage of challenges and opportunities facing them right now … adaptability and innovation have become increasingly critical to the Pentagon, and to American security and leadership around the world.” 

With increasing challenges for the United States and the U.S. military, Bloomberg said partnerships with the U.S. private sector are more critical now than ever before. 

“America’s private sector leads in global R&D … and the private sector has a vital role to play in expanding our nation’s capabilities,” Bloomberg said. “That requires not just new ideas, but also new partnerships that can better connect businesses, government and academia.” 

Helping to identify those partnerships, and to make those partnerships happen, Bloomberg said, is one of the primary roles of the DIB.

“Put simply, we are not doing our jobs here if we are not … drawing on the strengths of the private sector and helping service members do their jobs across the globe,” Bloomberg said. 

“The DIB was established to help spur innovation across the department and bridge the public and private sectors,” Bloomberg said. “Over the years the board has been successful in bringing new ideas forward, including on talent and culture, digital transformation, software acquisition, and artificial intelligence. It’s also adopted principles and best practices from business to help the department run more smoothly. There is much more that we can do — and I’m looking forward to the challenge.” 

In addition to Bloomberg, the DIB includes seven new members from across industry, government and academia.

Gilda Barabino, president at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Susan Gordon, a member of the boards of directors at CACI International, Avantus Federal, MITRE, and BlackSky

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, co-founder of Inflection AI, and partner at Greylock

Navy Adm. (ret.) Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former chief of naval operations

William Roper Jr., distinguished professor at Georgia Tech, senior advisor at McKinsey and Company and former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics

Ryan Swann, chief data analytics officer at Vanguard

William “Mac” Thornberry, former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and member of the board of directors at CAE USA

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