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Defense Secretary Ash Carter Looks To Strengthen Washington’s Relationship With Silicon Valley

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In an interview with CNBC on May 11, Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated that, through discussions with tech innovators, he has identified brewing tension between Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley. Now, he is calling for change within the government to address these issues.

Carter stated on CNBC's Power Lunch that Silicon Valley perceives the government is "slow," and therefore, challenging to work with on all things tech. He perceived this as a signal to initiate change within the government in an attempt to "stay agile." Carter also specified the need to compete with those around the world who intend to harm the U.S.

"We've got to be the best because we're protecting the greatest country on Earth," Carter said on the news program.

While speaking to a group of reporters on May 11, Carter gave a prime example of the government's move to use more tech, citing electronic techniques used by U.S.-led coalitions to disrupt jihadist forces. At the event, he noted that these tactics could potentially be used by other U.S.-led efforts against the Islamic State in various countries.

The U.S. Secretaries of Homeland Security and Commerce were also present at the news brief, which was held at the headquarters of the Intel Corporation. Carter continued to speak about the government's tech efforts, announcing an expansion of the Pentagon's technology innovation unit. A new facility will be constructed in Boston, and a recruiter will be hired to bring in tech company leaders. 

The over-arching goal is to recruit more innovative tech experts for the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental. The DIUx was initially formed to strengthen relationships with tech innovators and Silicon Valley. Over time, participants will work on scouting breakthrough and emerging technologies that could potentially help the Department of Defense. Reserve Military Lead Doug Beck, Army Lead Karl Gossett, and U.S. Cybercom Lead Ernie Bio are just some of the many individuals leading the DIUx team, which is made up of about 20 experts.

At the event held at Intel, tech and security company officials expressed hope that the government would hasten the adoption of private-sector innovation, specifically in the areas of robotics and machine learning.

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