Lauren Schmidt

Next Generation National Security Fellow, 2018

Senior Director, Pathways, DIUx

  • Press: mchristian@cnas.org

Lauren Schmidt is the Senior Director, Pathways at the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), located in Mountain View, CA. In this position, she developed a first-of-its-kind rapid acquisition mechanism called the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO), which leverages Other Transaction authorities to execute fast, flexible, and collaborative deals with top-tier technology companies across the country. As a result of her work, DIUx has deployed over $180M to over 60 companies over the past year in areas as diverse as machine learning, autonomy, and commercial space. Ms. Schmidt sets and manages the innovative acquisition strategy for DIUx, which aims to fundamentally change the way the Department of Defense does business. Using these new techniques, DIUx scouts, connects and supports the innovation of disruptive technology that sustains and extends U.S. strategic advantage in defense.

Prior to her position at DIUx, Ms. Schmidt served as the Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology). In that capacity, she advised and supported the Principal Deputy across the full spectrum of policy and oversight matters concerning Army acquisition – including operations of a 6,000 person organization managing over 600 Army weapon systems programs and contracts totaling more than $70B. In this capacity, she helped develop and promulgate the Department’s acquisition reform proposals included in congressional legislation. She also previously served as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement), focusing on oversight of all Army procurement operations and the development of the Army contracting workforce.

Ms. Schmidt holds a Master of Science in Commerce and a Bachelor of Arts, both from the University of Virginia.