What is the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU)?

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is an organization within the United States Department of Defense (DoD) that focuses on accelerating the adoption of commercial technology into the U.S. military and growing the national security innovation base. The DIU's mission is to strengthen national security by increasing the military's adoption of innovative commercial technology.

Established in 2015, the DIU seeks to build and facilitate relationships between commercial technology sectors and the DoD, with the goal of solving national defense problems at the speed and scale of the commercial sector. The unit operates across several technology areas, including artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, human systems, information technology, and space.

Key aspects of the DIU include:

  • Commercial Engagement: DIU works to scout for cutting-edge commercial technologies that can be adapted for military use.
  • Rapid Contracting: The unit employs flexible and streamlined contracting processes to quickly prototype and field technologies.
  • Cross-Sector Collaboration: DIU partners with other military branches, government agencies, private industry, and academia to foster innovation.
  • Problem Solving: It focuses on solving specific DoD problems through commercial innovation, acting as a bridge between the DoD and technology companies that traditionally haven't been defense contractors.

By focusing on agility and innovation, the DIU aims to provide the U.S. armed forces with the tools they need to maintain technological superiority.