DoD Buzz

Raj Shah Is Leaving. No, Not That One

FILE -- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks with Raj Shah, then the managing partner of Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), at the organization’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Aug. 10, 2017. (DoD/Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)
FILE -- Defense Secretary Jim Mattis speaks with Raj Shah, then the managing partner of Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), at the organization’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Aug. 10, 2017. (DoD/Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)

Raj Shah, who just stepped down as the Pentagon's envoy to Silicon Valley, is not related to the Raj Shah at the White House. Who is not to be confused with the Raj Shah who served in the State Department under former President Barack Obama.

The Shah who is now leaving his post had been the head of the Pentagon's Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), an initiative begun in 2015 to get high-end commercial technologies to the military more rapidly.

Shah, an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot in the Air National Guard, took over after DIUx launched to a shaky start following its creation by former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

Shah was credited with expanding DIUx from its initial office outpost near Silicon Valley to branches in Boston and Austin, Texas, and with establishing working relationships with the corporate princes of high tech.

He also apparently worked successfully with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to ensure the future role of DIUx at the DoD. There was speculation when Mattis took office that he would scrap DIUx as an unwanted remnant of the previous administration.

However, Mattis, in a visit last August to the DIUx headquarters in California, praised the initiative and its work.

"I enthusiastically embrace [DIUx], and I'm grateful that Secretary Carter had the foresight to put something in place to anchor the Department of Defense out there," Mattis said at the time.

With so many Raj Shahs in government, there have been reported cases of mistaken identity.

There's the Raj Shah at the White House, who serves as deputy press secretary and formerly was head of opposition research at the Republican National Committee.

The Trump administration went ballistic in December when CNN got mixed up and posted a photo purporting to be that of the White House Raj Shah. It was actually a photo of former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Raj Shah, who now is president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders immediately pounced. In a Tweet, she said "@CNN this is definitely not @RajShah45 but it is #FakeNews."

In this case, though, perhaps a little confusion is understandable.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

Show Full Article

Most Popular Military News