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Ex-Obama defense chief calls for boosting Pentagon, Silicon Valley ties

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday called for strengthening ties between the government and Silicon Valley, saying it is “essential” to the country’s defense.

“The bridges between technology-driven change and government need to be repaired,” Carter said at an Atlantic Council panel, which coincided with the launch of the council’s new report, Keeping America’s Innovative Edge.

“The secretary of Defense needs to win the wars and meet the security challenges of today … but also to meet the unforeseen challenges and opportunities that an unpredictable future might hold,” Carter continued. “To me, that meant ensuring that my successor … continues to have what I inherited from my predecessors, the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”

He added that such a force “needs to be re-earned in each generation. To do so, we had to, even as we dealt with the challenges of today, invest and innovate for an uncertain future.”

Building bridges between the Pentagon and the technology world is also best for “the broader public good of America, something that’s sorely needed.”

Carter, who last week accepted a teaching job with Harvard University, called the connection “essential to our success.”

While heading the Pentagon, Carter established the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, launched to build new relationships with technology companies, with offices in Silicon Valley and Boston. He also created a chief innovation officer position at the Pentagon to get the department cutting-edge technology more quickly.

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