Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced Tuesday that astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Amazon chief Jeff Bezos will be joining the Defense Innovation Advisory Board.
The board, established March 2016, was created to help keep the Department of Defense up to date on the “cutting edge” of innovation. It consists of 15 innovators, scholars, and leaders of private and public organizations picked for their contributions to new technologies and organizational behavior and culture.
“These new additions to the board represent some of the most innovative minds in America. I appreciate their willingness to join this effort and keep the Department of Defense on the cutting edge,” Carter said in a statement.
The board will identify innovative private-sector practices and technological solutions, which the Department of Defense can incorporate in the future. Alphabet’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will be chairing the board, which will begin its work over the summer but is expected to provide initial recommendations as early as October.
“Not everything in the private sector will make sense for us because we’re… always mindful the military isn’t a company, it’s a profession of arms,” Carter reportedly said earlier of the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, “And for important reasons, we’re not always going to be able to do things the same way — but that doesn’t mean we can’t look ourselves in the mirror and look around the country for new ideas and lessons we can learn for ways we can operate more efficiently.”
The other members announced Tuesday include founder and executive director of Code for America Jennifer Pahlka, Google’s vice president for access services, broadband and fiber network Milo Medin, Instagram Chief Executive Marne Levine, United Technologies’ senior vice president for science and technology J. Michael McQuade, organizational psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania Adam Grant, bioengineering professor at the California Institute of Technology Richard Murray, legal scholar at Harvard Cass Sunstein, co-founder of Applied Inventions Danny Hillis and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Eric Lander.
Lander, who was present at the new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) office in Boston for the announcement, said, “It’s an honor to serve on the advisory board. I look forward to providing my insights and recommendations to Secretary Carter on how the department can innovate to solve some of its unique challenges.”