Marine Innovation Unit tackles some remaining Force Design tech needs

STEWART AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. — The U.S. Marine Corps inaugurated its Marine Innovation Unit here on May 5, as the reserve formation is already claiming some early wins as the proclaimed “problem solvers” for the service.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, on hand for the celebration, said he ordered the creation of the Defense Innovation Unit-inspired group nearly two years ago and was already impressed with the talent it had attracted and the projects it had taken on.

The Marine Innovation Unit will have about 270 reservists by the end of the fiscal year; about 80% are officers and 20% enlisted Marines, MIU commanding officer Col. Matthew Swindle told Defense News following the unit activation ceremony.

Unlike most reserve units, rank and occupational specialty were irrelevant in selecting which Marines would join; about 1,000 Marines applied and were each carefully considered based on their education and experience from their day jobs. The unit is meant to pull together Marines who also have expertise and connections in the worlds of business management, cyber, artificial intelligence, robotics, data analytics, venture capital and more — expertise the active component needs but lacks.

Swindle said some of the Marines in the unit would be put on long-term orders to work as Marine liaisons in other innovation centers like the Strategic Capabilities Office, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Army Futures Command and more.

But the bulk of the work will center around requests that active-component Marine commands send over. MIU members

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