Christine Abizaid will head up the DIUx office in Austin at Capital Factory.

Christine Abizaid will head up the DIUx office in Austin at Capital Factory.

The Department of Defense on Wednesday officially launched a Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, known as a DIUx, at Capital Factory in Austin.

The defense department already has DIUx offices in Silicon Valley and Boston.

The Austin office will focus on national security challenges and cutting edge technologies to help the nation’s warfighters. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday morning at Capital Factory along with Mayor Steve Adler and other local and state officials as well as Austin technology leaders.

“I created DIUx last year because one of my core goals as secretary of defense has been to build, and in some cases rebuild, the bridges between our national security endeavor at the Pentagon and America’s wonderfully innovative and open technology community,” Secretary Carter said in a news release. “Austin’s commitment to innovation, access to talent and academia, as well as the department’s longstanding ties to Texas make this an ideal next location for DIUx.”

Christy Abizaid, who previously served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia and on the National Security Council staff, will lead the DIUx office in Austin. The rest of the staff will primarily be filled by local reservists and National Guard members already working within Austin’s tech community. Abizaid will report to DIUx Managing Partner Raj Shah.

“This Austin presence will introduce us to even more innovators looking to help America’s warfighters,” Abizaid said in a news release “The entrepreneurs in this area, including many veterans, are working on cutting-edge technology that could benefit our troops. We want to make it easier for them to do business with the DoD.”

DIUx is focused on a wide range of technologies including autonomy, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity and analytics. Already, the DIUX offices have signed five agreements worth $3.5 million and another 22 projects are in its pipeline totalling $65 million in investment.