Department of Defense opens tech office in Austin

Austin’s selection on Wednesday as one of the U.S. Department of Defense’s innovation hubs is expected to add fuel to the fire of the city’s already red-hot technology sector.

“We have so much forward momentum as far as innovation is concerned that it’s another feather in our cap and validation that we’re moving in the right direction,” Austin Technology Council CEO Barbary Brunner said.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Wednesday the DoD spends $72 billion a year on research and development. So a local office for the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, should put local entrepreneurs and technologists in a position to capitalize on such investment.

“We’re connecting Austin to innovators to fit that huge need and set of problems,” Carter said. “We’re starting with what’s uniquely strong about Austin and that’s the existing technology, and also the strong connection to the military.”

The DIUx will initially operate at the Capital Factory, a combination co-working space and accelerator that encompasses the entire top floor of the Omni Hotel building downtown. It was founded in 2009 and quickly became popular with local tech startups.