PARIS — French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has appointed Emmanuel Chiva, a specialist in artificial intelligence and training simulation, as director of the newly formed agency for defense innovation, the ministry said.

Chiva took up the post Sept. 1, when the innovation office was officially set up, the ministry said in a Sept. 4 statement. Parly made the appointment in consultation with Joël Barre, head of the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office. The innovation agency will report to the DGA.

The agency will be the key player in a new strategy for innovation, seeking “to bring together all the actors in the ministry and all the programs which contribute to innovation in defense,” Parly said in an Aug. 28 speech to a conference held by Medef, an employers’ association.

The innovation office will be open to Europe, while allowing experiments to stay close to their operational users, she said.

Parly has set a budget of €1 billion (U.S. $1.2 billion) for the agency, which will seek to coordinate attempts to apply new technology to military applications.

Chiva has more than 20 years of experience in AI and training simulation. He previously held a senior post for strategy and development at Agueris, a specialist in training simulation for land weapon systems.

Agueris is a unit of CMI Defence, a Belgian company specializing in guns and turrets for armored vehicles. Agueris was on the CMI stand at the Eurosatory trade show for land weapons in June. Agueris held three conferences on AI, with Chiva speaking at a roundtable debate on innovation.

Chiva is a graduate of Ecole Normal Supérieure and a specialist in biomathematics, the study of the application of math to biology.

“His appointment perfectly illustrates my vision of defense innovation: open to research and the civil economy, in which entrepreneurship is not a concept but a reality,” Parly said.

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