TDIF Founders attended the Center for Defense Innovation VIP Grand Opening at Capital Factory on Thursday February 21 in Austin, TX. Hosted by Josh Baer (CEO, Capital Factory), remarks were given by Gen. John “Mike” Murray, Commanding General of Army Futures Command; Senator John Cornyn, United States Senator from Texas; and Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. Attendees included a who’s who of Venture Capital Firms, Austin Technology Company Executives, DOD Decision Makers, and Serial Entrepreneurs.
Later in the day was the Public Grand Opening of the same Center. Hosted by Josh Baer (CEO, Capital Factory), remarks were given by Karen Dahut, Executive VP and Global DefenseGroup Lead at Booz Allen Hamilton; Adam Jay Harrison, Command Innovation Officer at Army Futures Command; and Mike Madsen, Director of Strategic Engagement at DIU. Hundreds, if not thousands, of innovators, job creators, and influencers spoke together about their collective excitement about this new vision from the US Army.
Both events filled the new Center on the 8th floor of Capital Factory from wall to wall. This new Center will be unlike any other in the US defense ecosystem. Technology companies, entrepreneurs, and innovators will all be encouraged to interact directly with government decision makers and solution providers on a daily basis. Army Futures Command, especially, desires more one-on-one discussions with the scientists, engineers, and technology developers in order to rapidly put modern solutions to complex challenges in the hands of US Warfighters. Booz Allen Hamilton has stepped up in a big way by developing an open air collaboration space right next door to Army Futures Command, AFWERX, DIU and NGA in the new Center. With hundreds of startups in the same building, AFC and the DOD will not have to look far for great ideas and the American companies developing them. Collaboration will be key to success and organizations like TDIF will be working in harmony with others in the ecosystem, both public and private, to connect innovative thinkers together with the defense community in order to solve wicked hard problems. Based on the turnout, the buzz, and the excitement Thursday, the Center for Defense Innovation will be a huge early success in the very early life of Army Futures Command.