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Pentagon's Silicon Valley Unit Helps Target Terrorists

  • DIUx inventing agile software to use against ‘pop-up’ targets
  • Unit started by Ash Carter survives the transition to Mattis
The Pentagon
Photographer: AFP via Getty Images
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U.S. pilots flying combat sorties against Islamic State and al-Qaeda offshoots may soon be directed to hit “pop-up” targets -- such as fleeing vehicles, ambushes and attempts to plant roadside bombs -- through streamlined planning tools crafted in Silicon Valley.

Starting this month, software specialists from the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, will spend weeks at the Air Force’s war-planning headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. They’ll work with airmen on a beta version of a tool to replace a hodgepodge of chat, Microsoft Excel and Word and other applications now used to coordinate “dynamic strikes” against “pop-up” targets that can’t be anticipated days in advance.