DIU director Michael Brown withdraws as Pentagon acquisition nominee

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Members of the Defense Innovation Board (DIB), Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and Defense Digital Services (DDS) receive a brief from an Airman at an MQ-9 Reaper display at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Sept. 12, 2019. The group is made up of prominent business leaders, scholars, inventors, and scientists such as the director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil Degrasse Tyson. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Stevens)

WASHINGTON — President Biden’s pick to serve as undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, Michael Brown, has withdrawn his nomination.

Brown is the director of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), the Pentagon’s commercial outreach office based in Silicon Valley. 

In a July 13 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Brown said he is dropping out due to an ongoing DoD inspector general investigation into personnel practices at DIU that could last up to a year. 

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“While I’m confident the Office of the Inspector General will ultimately find no wrongdoing on my art, I know there are other qualified candidates who can focus on the urgent business of making the acquisition process faster and more cost effective,” Brown said in the letter to Austin. 

Brown’s nomination has been in limbo since Biden tapped him in April. News of Brown’s withdrawal was first reported by InsideDefense. 

Before joining the U.S. government, Brown was the CEO of two public Silicon Valley technology firms, Symantec and Quantum.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on July 14 confirmed that Austin received Brown’s letter expressing his desire to withdraw. 

Kirby told reporters that Brown remains in his current post as director of DIU.

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