The Defense Department has tapped a leader from MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory to anchor the Cambridge office of a new military R&D lab, part of a push by the Pentagon to more quickly harness innovations from the region’s tech sector.

Bernadette Johnson will serve as chief science officer of the Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental, known as DIUx, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at an event in Cambridge Tuesday. Johnson, who has previously studied chemical and biological defense, most recently served as the Lincoln Lab’s chief technology officer.

Cambridge is the second location for the DIUx program, which opened a Silicon Valley office last year. Carter appointed new leadership for the DIUx initiative in May, an overhaul meant to build stronger connections with private-sector entrepreneurs and tech experts.

The lab awarded a new contract within a month of that leadership change, and DIUx expects to award more contracts in the weeks ahead, including projects that focus on network security and water-based drones, the Pentagon said.

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Image courtesy of MIT