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Former DIU Head Raj Shah Urges DoD to Boost Innovation Spending

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Raj Shah
Raj Shah

Raj Shah, former director of the Defense Innovation Unit, recommended that the Department of Defense increase contracting opportunities for nontraditional vendors that can help DoD adopt emerging technology, Federal News Network reported Thursday.

He told the publication that programs like the U.S. Air Force’s Pitch Day need to be further developed to encourage firms to collaborate as part of the defense industrial base. He added that increasing federal investment into research and development efforts by 1.1 percent “would be very important.”

“My recommendation would be to increase by tenfold the spend on successful innovation efforts such as the Air Force’s Pitch Day, DIU, Joint [Artificial Intelligence] Center and many others,” said Shah, a 2918 Wash100 inductee.

Chris Brose, former senior policy adviser to the late Sen. John McCain, noted that Congress needs to improve contract vehicles to simplify the process for nontraditional companies. He also said that DoD needs to work on polishing the skills of its own personnel and implement incentive-based policies.