Google executive to head up Pentagon 'innovation' board

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The executive chairman of Google’s parent company will head a new Pentagon board aimed at bringing Silicon Valley’s culture to the Defense Department.

“Just as the Defense Business Board provides advice to the department on best business practices from the private sector, the Defense Innovation Advisory Board will provide advice on the best and latest practices in innovation that the department can emulate,” the Pentagon said in a statement Wednesday.

The board is the second new Pentagon program announced Wednesday as Defense Secretary Ash Carter swings through Silicon Valley and meets with industry leaders.

Earlier Wednesday, the Defense Department announced “Hack the Pentagon," a program for hackers to test the Pentagon’s cybersecurity.

The Defense Innovation Advisory Board will advise the Pentagon on a slew of topics familiar to the tech industry, according to the Pentagon. That includes rapid prototyping, iterative product development, complex data analysis in decision-making, the use of mobile and cloud applications, and information sharing.

“The board will not engage in discussion of military operations or strategy,” the statement said.

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, will lead the board.

It will include up to 12 people from private and public organizations. Schmidt and Carter will choose the members. 

“Members will represent a cross-section of America’s most innovative industries, drawing on technical and management expertise from Silicon Valley and beyond,” according to the statement.

Carter has been eying Silicon Valley as a talent pool to build up the Pentagon’s cyber team.

His latest trip, Carter’s third to the Bay Area, is meant to “rebuild bridges between the Department of Defense and some of our nation's most innovative industries,” he told reporters earlier this week.

The Pentagon and the tech industry have been at odds since 2013, when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed through a series of leaks the extent of the government’s secret surveillance efforts.