“The new brand identity more clearly represents the vision of the organization: a national network of commercial innovation hubs and top universities to which the Department can export its most complicated problems and from which it can import novel concepts and solutions,” said Morgan Plummer, who serves as MD5’s Managing Director and will continue to lead NSIN after the transition.
NSIN will also begin reporting to the Director of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). DIU is in the process of standing up its new National Security Innovation Capital Fund (NSIC), authorized by Congress in the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019. This re-organization reflects efforts by Dr. Michael Griffin, the current Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and the DoD’s Chief Technology Officer, to streamline and synergize defense innovation activities throughout the Research and Engineering enterprise.
“What is compelling about what the Research & Engineering leadership has done is that there are now three organizations (DIU, NSIC, and NSIN), each with adjacent but distinct missions, operating together to improve overall innovation outcomes for the Department,” said Michael Brown, Director of DIU.
In addition to changing its name, NSIN assumes a more refined mission set as it transitions. Much of its current, core activities focused on dual-use venture formation, assisting the DoD Labs with technology transfer, and collaborative problem-solving with university partners will remain intact. NSIN will replace MD5’s workforce development portfolio with a new series of initiatives aimed at building out new opportunities for technologists and entrepreneurs to serve with the Department of Defense in unique ways.
“When MD5 was established, many of the current Military Service initiatives that are focused on increasing the ‘bench’ of military intrapreneurs didn’t exist. Now you have innovation cells throughout the Services, in some cases all the way down to the tactical unit level. This is the right time to pivot away from some of our workforce development work and re-focus on leveraging new skill sets to augment our military and civilian workforces by attracting people to work with us that wouldn’t normally do so,” said Managing Director Plummer.
NSIN will build its programs and services, which are designed to help other DoD entities from the Military Services, Joint Staff, Combatant Commands, and Defense Agencies and Field Activities solve problems with non-traditional partners, around three lines of effort:
- Create New Opportunities for National Security Service by building models of service that account for generational and cultural differences between the military, academic, and venture communities and providing flexible pathways to official service within the Department of Defense;
- Solve National Security Problems by Collaborating with Partners from the Academic and Venture Communities by engaging new problem-solvers in collision events with DoD customers that generate novel concepts and solutions and building a national network of problem-solving ecosystems that leverage the competitive advantages of regions and commercial innovation hubs for DoD customers; and
- Accelerate the Adoption of Novel Concepts and Solutions by facilitating engagement with DoD end users and transition partners to stimulate dual-use venture growth and improving Technology Transfer and Transition (T3) rates for DoD Lab technology through dual-use commercialization via early-stage ventures.
To learn more about NSIN and its programs and services, please visit https://www.nsin.us.
About the National Security Innovation Network:
The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) is a Department of Defense program office reporting to the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering through the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). NSIN was founded in 2016 as the MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator (MD5); NSIN’s new mission is to “build networks of innovators that generate new solutions to national security problems.” NSIN is headquartered in Arlington, VA, and has regional offices in 10 commercial innovation hubs throughout the United States. Through its headquarters, regional hubs, and embedded university partnerships, NSIN builds a national network of innovators and delivers programming that solves real-world, DoD problems through collaborative partnerships with non-traditional problem-solvers with the academic and early-stage venture communities.