Inspector general clears former DIU chief of ethics allegations

Michael Walls
·2 min read

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense Inspector General last week exonerated former Defense Innovation Unit Director Mike Brown of allegations he engaged in “improper personnel practices” while leading the office.

The decision comes more than a year after the Pentagon’s inspector general initiated an investigation into the claims and days after Brown left his leadership post at DIU, an organization tasked with helping the Defense Department better integrate and field commercial technologies. In a Sept. 9 letter obtained by C4ISRNET, the Pentagon’s Deputy Inspector General for Administrative Investigations Marguerite Garrison writes that the office “did not substantiate the allegations.”

“We reviewed relevant documents and conducted interviews with persons knowledgeable of the events at issue,” the letter, addressed to Brown, states. “We concluded that you did not engage in improper personnel practices.”

Bloomberg first reported on the IG’s decision. C4ISRNET could not immediately reach Brown for comment.

Brown had led DIU since 2018, growing the organization’s portfolio of commercial technology efforts and pushing for changes to the way DoD buys off-the-shelf technology. He was nominated in April 2021 to lead the Pentagon’s acquisition and sustainment office, but withdrew from consideration later that month when allegations regarding his hiring practices surfaced.

The complaint came from a former DIU chief financial officer, who alleged that a number of employees were given special treatment through tailored job descriptions.

Brown’s last day at DIU was Sept. 6. His departure comes amid questions about the future of the organization and following his own public concerns about insufficient funding from senior Defense Department leaders. Although he left at the initial planned end of his term, he declined a one-year extension.

Beginning next year, Brown will serve as a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Center for New American Security’s Board of Advisors next year.