Steve “Bucky” Butow is the Director of the Space Portfolio at the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). He joined the team in 2015 as an early plank owner when DIU was known as the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) and helped establish the organization’s operating locations in Silicon Valley, California; Boston, Massachusetts; and Austin, Texas. In his reserve capacity, Butow is a Brigadier General serving as the Commander of the California Air National Guard where he leads 4,900 Airmen assigned to five wings and a headquarters staff. Prior to this assignment, he was a Special Assistant to the Director, Air National Guard...
Steve Butow, a member of the Defense Innovation Unit under the Secretary of Defense, emphasizes the importance of space domain awareness in building enduring advantages in space. Recognizing the potential dangers and challenges in space, efforts are focused on addressing issues such as debris and near-Earth objects. The goal is to improve detection and tracking capabilities, develop sustainable practices for space traffic management, and promote the removal of active space debris through a commercialization model. Setting standards of conduct and property in space is crucial, as is the involvement of industry in solving tough problems and providing comprehensive data. With advancements in commercial technology, there is an opportunity to expand knowledge, reduce error bars, and increase maneuverability in space operations. The Defense Innovation Unit’s reach extends to moon and Mars projects, and the importance of balancing defense-related national security with commercial interests is acknowledged.