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Alphabet's Eric Schmidt to Lead Pentagon Board to Make Defense Department Tech Savvier

The Pentagon extends an olive branch to Silicon Valley.

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The Pentagon is turning to Silicon Valley. On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced plans to create a new “innovation advisory board” for the bellicose department and appointed Alphabet chairman and Google CEO emeritus Eric Schmidt to lead it.

Filling out the rest of the board will be up to 12 leaders who have “excelled at identifying and adopting new technology concepts,” according to the Pentagon’s press release.

“The board’s mandate is to provide department leaders independent advice on innovative and adaptive means to address future organizational and cultural challenges, including the use of technology alternatives, streamlined project management processes and approaches — all with the goal of identifying quick solutions to DoD problems,” the release went on.

The board comes amid relatively tense relations between the government and tech, as the Apple standoff with the FBI over the San Bernardino terror attack investigation continues to boil. Most big Silicon Valley companies have come to Apple’s defense.

Alphabet’s Schmidt, a longtime lover of such entangled tensions, introduced a new policy arm last month, called Jigsaw, under Google’s Alphabet parent company, whose first initiative is around cyber attack protection. Google’s parent company, it should be noted, has several potential business ties to the defense industry, including its enterprise software and robotics units.

Carter and Schmidt are expected to unveil the board later today at the RSA Security Conference.

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