In major reorg, Pentagon forms new Force Development and Emerging Capabilities Office

DefenseScoop was briefed on the intent behind this restructure and aims for the new office.
(Getty Images)

Michael Horowitz, a senior Pentagon expert for military technology and policy, is poised to lead a newly formed organization in the Office of the Secretary of Defense that will focus on strengthening the department’s readiness to confront uncertain security challenges associated with artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies. 

In an announcement via Twitter on Tuesday, Horowitz wrote: “Life update: Yesterday, I became the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Development and Emerging Capabilities — a new OSD Policy office combining the Emerging Capabilities Policy Office with the Force Development Office. Super honored, excited, and grateful!”

This move is one element of a broad, recent reorganization effort within the Defense Department’s policy team, through which its leadership aims to “enhance OSD Policy’s work on force development, emerging capabilities, and strategy development and implementation,” a Pentagon spokesperson told DefenseScoop on Tuesday. 

Horowitz has more than two decades of experience in management, research and academic roles pertaining to international security issues. Most recently — as the Defense Department’s first-ever director of emerging capabilities policy — he has played a major role in updating DOD Directive 3000.09 — the overarching policy that establishes definitions and a policy framework for making and buying weapons with autonomous features.


Back in late 2021, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl launched the Emerging Capabilities Policy Office under Assistant Secretary for Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities Mara Karlin.

That “initiative was consistent with the 2022 National Defense Strategy, which emphasized the need for the department to more quickly and actively adopt capabilities critical for integrated deterrence and warfighting, including the development, fielding, and incorporation of emerging capabilities,” the Pentagon spokesperson told DefenseScoop. At the time, Horowitz was tapped to lead that hub, which was designed to lead OSD’s policy work on emerging capability-related policy for national security and defense strategy, diplomatic efforts, and interagency collaboration. 

“As part of an OSD Policy re-organization in 2023, the Emerging Capabilities Policy Office and Force Development (FD) Directorate, which resided in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for Strategy and Force Development, merged to create a new DASD-led office called Force Development and Emerging Capabilities (FDEC),” the spokesperson explained. 

This new office will be led by Horowitz. In this capacity, he will report to Karlin.

Ultimately, the purpose of the reorganization is twofold, according to the Pentagon spokesperson.


“First, it consolidates two organizations responsible for resourcing and capability development to elevate the role of emerging capabilities in the development of the future force. This reorganization is important to ensure that the department maintains strategic and policy oversight on the development of capabilities that will largely define our ability to deter and build advantage vis-a-vis the [People’s Republic of China], Russia, and other competitors,” the official said. 

“Second, this move restores [the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for] Strategy as a standalone office, enabling it to focus on articulating the secretary’s strategic vision and aligning the department’s efforts to those strategic priorities,” the official added.

Brandi Vincent

Written by Brandi Vincent

Brandi Vincent is DefenseScoop's Pentagon correspondent. She reports on emerging and disruptive technologies, and associated policies, impacting the Defense Department and its personnel. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Brandi produced a long-form documentary and worked as a journalist at Nextgov, Snapchat and NBC Network. She was named a 2021 Paul Miller Washington Fellow by the National Press Foundation and was awarded SIIA’s 2020 Jesse H. Neal Award for Best News Coverage. Brandi grew up in Louisiana and received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

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