WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office has a new leader. We just don’t know their name yet.
Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for research and engineering, told reporters Thursday that he has made an offer, and it has been accepted, for a new director of the SCO.
In addition, Griffin said he is in the midst of interviewing candidates to lead the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley outpost.
The expectation is that the new SCO head will be announced by the “end of July,” Griffin said. The office, which focuses on taking existing technologies and finding new capabilities for them, has been empty since Will Roper left to become the head of acquisitions for theU.S. Air Force. Roper was the founder of the office and led it since its creation.
The leadership for DIUx is less clear. The office has been working under interim director Sean Heritage since Raj Shah, who had led the team for two years, left in February. The technology hub has since created a new chair for a Washington-focused partner, Michael Madsen, to coalesce support for the office inside the Capital Beltway.
For his part, Griffin was effusive talking about DIUx, saying he had interviewed “several people” so far for a group that provides engagement with “the highest tech, fastest moving, most innovative portions of our industrial base.”
Although he hopes to have a new person in place for DIUx by the “end of summer,” Griffin said he feels the need to go slow and find the right leader as opposed to rushing to fill that spot.
“I’d rather take my time and interview a number of people because I do see it as, it’s not the largest budget item we have by any means. but it is a really important niche to me,” Griffin said. “It’s really important to me to find ways that we can engage with [companies that are] maybe the least able to cope with the DoD contracting machinery, but which can add real value.
“I really mean that. So, I want to get the right person.”
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.