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DOD’s Heidi Shyu Says DIU to Get More Funding, New Director

Funding challenges

DOD’s Heidi Shyu Says DIU to Get More Funding, New Director

Defense Undersecretary Heidi Shyu on Thursday assured lawmakers the Defense Innovation Unit enjoys “strong support” from the Pentagon and said she is pleased with what the agency has accomplished. The Department of Defense’s research and engineering leader, however, acknowledged DIU officials’ frustration with their limited budget, Breaking Defense reported Friday.

Shyu’s statements came after DIU Director Mike Brown announced his resignation effective September. During the announcement of his impending departure, Brown decried what he called a “critical lack of support” from the DOD leadership. He attributed the unit’s “not achieving more” to a “benign neglect” of its funding.

During her testimony before the House Armed Services Committee’s Cyber, Innovative Technologies and Information Systems subcommittee, Shyu vowed to increase funding for the unit in the fiscal year 2024 budget request. The 2022 Wash100 awardee added that the DIU’s current budget was already established when she assumed office in July 2021.

During the same hearing, Rep. Seth Moulton told Shyu that it has really been Congress, and not the DOD, that has been investing in the DIU. He said that the Pentagon’s allocation for the unit in FY21 was actually lower than what it gave two years earlier if inflation is factored in.

The Massachusetts lawmaker called for a tenfold increase in the DIU’s funding, referencing a 2020 Future Defense Task Force report by HASC. 

Meanwhile, Shyu said that the search is on for Brown’s replacement. The undersecretary added that she is looking for a replacement who both “understands the acquisition process and has exposure to the commercial world.”

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