Executive Mosaic is honored to introduce Raj Shah, head of the Defense Department‘s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, as an inductee into the 2018 edition of the Wash100 — Executive Mosaic’s annual selection of influential leaders in the government contracting arena – for his work in redefining innovation in relationships with non-traditional companies in the cybersecurity space.
Shah was named managing partner of DIUx after serving as senior director of strategy at Santa Clara, Calif.-based cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks. The former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot joined Palo Alto Networks through the company’s acquisition of cybersecurity firm Morta Security in January 2014, which he co-founded in 2012 and led as CEO.
During the CyberCon 2016 conference in November, Shah called on National Guard and reserve forces to help expand the presence of DIUx and reach technology companies in states where the DoD innovation unit does not have an office.
“We have reservists working in technology companies of all sizes [and] maturities across the nation and they have a deep desire to continue to serve. What better way than to be able to have them serve with us in the department in the capacity that’s similar to their day job,” Shah said.
Shah also said at CyberCon that he hopes DIUx and other DoD innovation efforts would receive continued support under the Trump administration.
“Innovation isn’t limited to California’s Silicon Valley, Boston, or Austin, Texas, where three DIUx offices have opened since 2015, Shah explained. “It’s a nationwide effort,” he added, noting that DIUx has had employment applications from tech companies in 32 states.
He told Defense News in a May 2017 interview that his current position has taught him how to form relationships with “non-traditional” companies, accelerate business with vendors, and focus on problem sets instead of technology requirements.
Shah poised a question of “how do we move at the speed of business with these companies and help them navigate through to the speed of the Pentagon? [We] focus on problem sets rather than requirements, particularly for software and more novel solutions,” Shah remarked. “The nontraditional companies are not appropriate to help us build the next aircraft carrier, but for certain types of software, particularly in cybersecurity, if we come with a capability gap rather than all the requirements, we can work well with markets.”
Executive Mosaic congratulates Raj Shah and the DIUx team for their selection to receive this award.
Sign in to cast your vote for those executives with the greatest impact on government contracting.
About The Wash100
This year represents our fifth annual Wash100 award selection. The Wash100 is the premier group of private and public sector leaders selected by Executive Mosaic’s organizational and editorial leadership as the most influential leaders in the GovCon sector. These leaders demonstrate skills in leadership, innovation, reliability, achievement and vision.