The National Center for Simulation hosted the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), and the National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) for the Florida Regional Roadshow at the Central Florida Tech Grove on Sept. 13, 2023, in Orlando, Florida.


DIU concentrates on accelerating the adoption of commercial and dual-use technology to solve challenges – at speed and scale – for military personnel in their operating environments. The DIU is the only organization within the Department of Defense (DoD) with this focus. Per a recent memo last April, the DIU director now reports directly to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III.


NSIN is an organization nested within DIU. NSIN collaborates with several innovating organizations, to include researchers, students, universities, entrepreneurs and start-ups, to produce collaborative opportunities across various communities and connect “nontraditional” entities who are not normally involved in national security. NSIN helps drive national security innovation and improve technologies supporting warfighters and other agencies responsible for national defense.


NSIC accelerates dual-use hardware solutions to the DoD by providing funding to technology companies to help advance milestones in their product development.


Air Force Lt. Col. Alex “Stoiky” Goldberg, DIU’s Texas lead for strategic, defense, and commercial engagement, said the purpose of the roadshow is to inspire, engage and support the communities around the country to get the U.S. military modernized at the speed necessary to keep pace with today’s threats.


“There’s a lot of great technology, from hypersonics, to simulations, to cyber, to electronic warfare, [that are represented in] Orlando’s companies that we want to tap into and leverage to help us modernize,” Goldberg said.


Goldberg cited training challenges by allies like those currently faced by Ukraine’s military, which has received various technologies, such as F-16s, which are familiar to much of the western world – but not to Ukraine’s warfighters.


“Today, we’re showcasing training technology that’s being leveraged from companies we’ve utilized in the Central Florida region to help us build effective but relatively inexpensive simulators we can use to enable Ukraine to train new pilots,” Goldberg said. “It can take quite a while to train a pilot, and simulators can shorten that time by providing more repetition and live feedback. Central Florida is a mecca of [modeling and simulation] training for our allies and ourselves as well… and as we are modernizing, the training that comes with that is a huge challenge, and Central Florida is a big piece of that solution.”


DIU, NSIC and NSIN officials presented mission overviews, provided background on programs and technology areas, and offered companies advice on how to engage with the DoD mission partners.


Representatives also showcased various DIU tech portfolios, featured project highlights, and specifically focused on autonomy, space and human systems. After the presentation, in-person participants had the opportunity to ask questions.


Goldberg said another goal of the event was to simply educate companies that agencies like DIU, NISC and NSIN exist to lower barriers to entry to the DoD, and can provide guidance in navigating government bureaucracy. Goldberg acknowledged this process can be “daunting” for firms that can offer innovation solutions, but lack experience in government contracting. Even if these firms can see business opportunities, most do not know how to work with the DoD.


“They may not even know how to get on a military base, and if they did, they wouldn’t know who to talk to,” Goldberg said. “We act as that front door that can connect them to the right entity. Helping cut through the red tape, being transparent and open, understanding their problem sets, and lessening the barriers to entry to work with the DoD – that’s what we’re trying to do.”

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