The Department of Defense has selected Austin as the third location of its in-house tech startup, the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx.
The Defense Department created DIUx in 2015 to develop deeper connections between the military and the U.S. technology industry. To date, it has awarded five contracts worth $3.5 million to tech companies for work on autonomous vehicles, network security and battle simulation. It has another 22 projects under consideration worth up to $65 million.
“Austin’s commitment to innovation, access to talent and academia, as well as the department’s longstanding ties to Texas make this an ideal next location for DIUx,” said Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in a statement issued by the office of Austin Mayor Steve Adler.
Carter, Adler and other dignitaries and tech sector officials gathered Wednesday morning at the downtown Capital Factory incubator — where the DIUx Austin office will initially be based — to make the official announcement.
The Austin office will be led by Christy Abizaid, who will report to DIUx Managing Partner Raj Shah. Abizaid was previously the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia and a member of the National Security Council staff. DIUx’s Austin office will primarily be staffed by local reservists and National Guard members already working within the local tech community.
Adler hailed the news as further evidence of Austin’s “role as a tech leader.”