Pentagon Seeks To Attract Silicon Valley Cybersecurity Talent

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sought Thursday to begin repairing the Pentagon's relationship with the technology industry, reminding Silicon Valley about the fruits of innovation that came from closely working with the government.

In a speech at Stanford University, Carter announced a number of new initiatives to give the military better access to ideas and leaders in robotics, 3-D printing, bio-medicine, data analysis and other emerging fields.

Carter listed numerous technologies already born from government-funded research, including Google's search engine, Apple's Siri assistant and GPS. But he warned that the Edward Snowden revelations about government surveillance, battles over the encryption of user data held by tech companies and other controversies have caused the government and technologists to look at each other "warily."

"Through successes and strains, our ties have broadly endured, but I believe we must renew the bonds of trust and rebuild the bridge between the Pentagon and Silicon Valley," Carter said during the first visit by a Pentagon chief to Silicon Valley in about 20 years.

The new strategy includes opening the Defense Department's first full-time office in the region. Staffed by what a senior department official called an "elite cadre of active-duty and civilian personnel," Defense Innovation Unit X will be on the hunt for both technology and talent. The unit is expected to get to work as early as next month, initially operating from Moffett Field near Mountain View.

"They will strengthen existing relationships and build new ones, help scout for breakthrough and emerging technologies and function as a local interface node for the rest of the department," said Carter, who received a doctorate in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford.

Defense officials also will take a page from the CIA's playbook and experiment with investing small sums into start-ups. The Defense Department will make the investments in nanoelectronics, software and robotics...

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