The cunning plan involves giving rapid seed funding to private companies as a way to encourage more work on technology projects with the commercial sector.
It sounds harmless enough, but it effectively means that tech startups who take the money will be forever beholding to the DoD. Imagine what would have happened if the DoD had done that for Microsoft, Google or Apple.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said that the push for greater cooperation with tech companies has been a big theme for the DOD in the last year as it faces a growing and unprecedented threat from private and state actors on the Internet and beyond.
Carter said that the DOD has to tap into all the streams of innovation and emerging technology and it has to do so much more quickly, Carter said.
He added that that Russia and China were modernising their militaries to try and close the gap and erode US superiority in every domain: air, land, sea, space and cyberspace
“And at the same time our reliance on satellites and the Internet has led to real vulnerabilities that out adversaries are eager to exploit. So to stay ahead of those challenges and stay the best, we’re investing aggressively in innovation,” he said.
He apparently was cheered when he said all this from the start-ups he had helped. However, this is a complete turnaround from when President Obama convened a cyber security summit at Stanford University to call on business and tech leaders to work more closely with the government to identify security weaknesses and combat cybercrime. That meeting was boycotted by CEOs from Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
Most of the older companies do not want to work with the government over fears of spying. About the only one that is keen is Apple Tim Cook spoke at the Stanford event, and the company is one of a handful that just announced participation in the DOD’s Flexible Hybrid Electronic Institute in Silicon Valley.
However, it seems that the DoD thinks that working with start-ups is a lot easier than trying to interest bigger stable companies and the lure of cash would be irresistible to them.