McRaven named to Defense Innovation Advisory Board by U.S. Secretary of Defense

Update (7/28/16): Defense Innovation Advisory Board complete. Learn more.

AUSTIN—United States Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has named University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven as one of the first appointees to the newly formed Defense Innovation Advisory Board, advising the Pentagon on strategies to cultivate a culture of innovation in national defense.

Carter announced three new members of the board, led by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s new parent company, Alphabet, on Friday, June 10. Carter announced the creation of the board in March, but, until last week, no members of the board other than Schmidt had been named. Along with McRaven, Carter also announced that Reid Hoffman, head of LinkedIn, and historian Walter Isaacson, biographer of former Apple head Steve Jobs and chief executive officer of the Aspen Institute, would join the board.

“This appointment provides me the opportunity to emphasize the important role universities play in advancing national security,” McRaven said. “I appreciate Secretary Carter’s invitation to serve in this critically important capacity and am eager to get to work.”

According to defense officials, the board could ultimately have as many as 12 members.

“They will begin their work over the summer, and I expect to receive their first recommendations in the fall,” Carter said about the board while speaking at the Defense One Tech Summit in Washington, D.C. last week.

“Among other things, I’ve charged them with keeping DoD imbued with a culture of innovation in people, organizations, operations and technology, to support people who innovate; to support those creative figures in the department who are willing to try new things, fail fast and iterate; and to ensure we’re always doing everything we can to stay ahead of potential adversaries,” Carter said.

One of McRaven’s eight “Quantum Leaps” – a cornerstone of his vision for the UT System – is focused on national security. According to McRaven, the UT System is uniquely positioned to establish itself as a leader in national security, because within its institutions are great minds thinking and working on national security problems. The UT System has more than 40 centers and institutes focusing on cybersecurity, bioterrorism, policy and statecraft and other national security issues at UT institutions. The national security Quantum Leap will establish the UT Network for National Security, uniting these efforts to create a system-wide alliance, which will address the most vexing national security problems.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 221,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $16.9 billion (FY 2016) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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