How Veterans Turned Entrepreneurs Are Disrupting The Pentagon’s Weapons Program

Below is a summary for the article : How Veterans Turned Entrepreneurs Are Disrupting The Pentagon’s Weapons Program by Fast Company

*Note: Image used belongs to

*Note: Image used belongs to

Like DIUx, are now attracting the attention of Silicon Valley and other entrepreneurs, drawn by a desire to serve – and to be part of a defense budget of around $600 billion.

Similar to DIUx, NSTXL connects private-sector companies with military customers that need particular problems solved.

Organizations like DIUx and NSTXL are now helping cut through the red tape, and letting founders like Zeuss, Inc.’s Brandon White serve their country in ways that might otherwise be out of reach.

White found a different way to serve: working with DIUx to provide intelligence- and information-management software to the U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, which oversees joint special ops missions across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

Without a handler like DIUx or NSTXL, “Going the DoD or IC route can be suicidal,” White says, which is why most Silicon Valley boards advise companies to steer well clear.

While there are attempts afoot to overhaul the acquisitions process from the top down, it’s bottom-up initiatives like DIUx and NSTXL that are already having an effect.

DIUx provides a way for the armed services to rapidly prototype new technologies, but moving those technologies into bigger procurement contracts may prove more difficult.

DIUx has so far moved more than $45 million to the more than two dozen companies it has worked with, which make products that range from air-support drones to wargaming platforms, cybersecurity services, data analysis, and more.

The “Superpower” DIUx plans to use to get its companies through that valley is a provision in the 2016 defense budget bill that lets DIUx prototyping stand in for a more traditional acquisition process.

These days, Newell can be found in the offices of BMNT Partners, a Palo Alto consultancy with a role similar to DIUx orNSTXL: connecting government customers with innovative private-sector problem solvers.


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