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Michael Brown Appointed Defense Innovation Unit Lead; Mike Griffin Quoted

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Michael Brown, former Symantec CEO, has been named managing director of the Defense Innovation Unit.

“Mike’s extensive Silicon Valley career speaks for itself, as he has experience in both hardware from his time at Quantum, as well as software at Symantec,” Mike Griffin, defense undersecretary for research and engineering, said in a statement published Monday.

“Mike’s notable academic contributions in both assessment of Chinese technological advances and [Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.] reform round out his unique background, and I am pleased that he chose to serve our nation as DIU director,” Griffin added.

Brown told Defense News in interview published Monday that DIU will prioritize several technology areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber, autonomy, information technology and human systems engineering.

DIU said he will oversee the organization’s efforts to rapidly deploy commercial technologies to soldiers and address national defense issues with strategic technological capabilities.

Brown is a former White House presidential innovation fellow and currently serves as an adviser at Tala Security and Asimily.

He served as a board member at Symantec and Echo Nest and spent more than a decade at Quantum, where he served as CEO and board chairman.

His appointment came a month after Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan issued a memo to drop the word “experimental” from the organization’s name in an effort to emphasize DIU’s permanence within the Pentagon.