Beale Fosters Modernization with the Defense Innovation Board

By Senior Airman Valentina Viglianco

Members of the 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group were asked to attend the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) meeting in Mountain View, California on 11 July, 2018.

“DIB is a huge networking opportunity, as well as a chance to interact and influence the direction of innovation at the strategic level in not only the Air Force, but the whole Department of Defense,” said Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Phillips, 9th Intelligence Squadron superintendent.

DIB is one of several independent federal advisory committees that provides the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense and other DOD senior leaders with advice on innovation. The information is used to address future challenges through three focus areas: people and culture, technology and capabilities, and practices and operations. 

“I enjoyed hearing the board’s perspectives, and it was a great learning experience to witness how they want to guide the DOD into a culture shift of innovation,” Phillips said. “It’s one thing to shift the culture of a squadron or a flight, but to do it for the whole DOD is massive. But to create change, we have to start somewhere.”

The board members consisted of business civil society and ex-military leaders, as well as scholars, entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists and technologists. They use their leadership experience to foster DOD innovation.

“Our adversaries are innovating at increasing rates and one way we can be sure to accomplish the mission is to not be static in the way we think and create ideas,” said Milo Medin, Google access services vice president. “One part of what the board does is visit different installations to see successes that we can try to replicate in the DOD.”

At the conclusion of the meeting, DIB members and senior military leaders transitioned to Beale to learn first-hand about unit-level software development, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and innovation culture.

“We visited Beale because of the demonstrated success the base has had in the way they process tasks and solve problems,” said Michael McQuade, Former United Technologies senior vice president of science and technology. “If we see ideas that make sense during a visit, you can bet we are going to spread that idea around the DOD.”

The visit included an operations tour at the Common Mission Control Center and a presentation of software the 548th ISRG Airmen have developed in-house to improve job processes.

“The visit was a wonderful opportunity for the 548th ISRG to showcase Airmen embodying modernization in the mission,” Phillips said. “These events are just one of many opportunities Beale is capitalizing on to continue to grow our innovative culture.”