Heidi Shyu, undersecretary for research and engineering at the Department of Defense and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, appeared before the House Armed Services Committee’s cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee Thursday and said she intends to increase funding for the Defense Innovation Unit in the fiscal year 2024 budget request, Breaking Defense reported Friday.
“You got to realize, by the time I came in … [the] budget was pretty much baked two weeks before I came in,” Shyu said in response to a question by Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., during the hearing.
“So my opportunity to influence is this year, in FY24. So you’ll see a much stronger request for funding for FY24,” she added.
DIU Director Mike Brown, a 2022 Wash100 awardee, is retiring in September and Shyu said she intends to find a replacement with experience in the commercial sector and who understands the acquisition process.
“Because that’s where the gap is — a lot of small companies, great ideas, have produced a lot of prototypes — it’s this funnel that’s going down to production,” she said. “And it’s the pull from the acquisition community that we need. So I think that’s what I want to focus on and this is where I think having somebody… with experience on both sides would help.”
Shyu’s office underwent restructuring by redesignating the three directors of defense research and engineering as deputy chief technology officers as part of efforts to help DOD speed up the transition of technologies into capabilities for warfighters.