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Bernice Glenn Kissinger

The Call to (Innovative) Arms:  Uniting Innovators & Entrepreneurs to Help Keep the Peace

Challenges from global adversaries intensify every day.  Technology is often the critical X factor that makes the key difference on the battlefield, which means defense needs civilian innovators and entrepreneurs now more than ever, and not just from the U.S. but also from its allies.

A critical player to bringing these groups together is Bernice Glenn Kissinger, who is at the center of a new effort to assimilate new defense technology in the Indo-Pacific (and in Ukraine). As the senior vice president and co-founder of the Pacific Impact Zone and co-founder of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, Bernice specializes in rapid defense contracting, tech scouting, and engaging innovators from allied nations. Taking a page from commercial leaders of the information revolution, where networking fueled the massive success of giants like Google, she’s applying networking principles to foster an innovative contracting ecosystem that puts needed technologies into the hands of US and allied defense in a swift and timely manner.

Bernice has a clear vision—to harness the collective capabilities, talent, and dynamism of private-sector technology enterprises across the U.S., Japan, Australia, Canada, U.K., Korea, and NATO nations to ensure that the pipeline of needed next generation technology can be put into the right hands to best meet the challenges of our adversaries. She’s delivering on that vision, orchestrating the fastest and most flexible contracting programs domestically and across partner nations. “We’re organizing world-class innovators into teams to solve the hardest tech problems with warfighters using rapid contracting to accelerate the U.S. government’s adoption of technologies at scale,” she explains.

Over the past decade, interacting with more than 20,000 companies (and counting) along the way, Bernice and her team have helped over 5,000 successfully transition their products to meet defense needs, spanning electronic warfare and semiconductors to aerospace, logistics systems, and transportation. “When we clear barriers for innovators and companies across regions, we grow economies, resiliency and deterrence together,” Bernice says.

With 40 years of business and government experience, and invaluable insights from a multicultural heritage, she is qualified for this undertaking. Born to a West Point Paratrooper veteran of three wars (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) and a Japanese-American mother trapped in Japan during WWII, her family’s experiences—and their continuing legacy of military service (continued by a West Point graduate son who deployed to Afghanistan before beginning his studies to become a U.S. Army doctor)—have deeply influenced Bernice’s career, which began with her work leading strategic workforce and innovation teams for Motorola in Japan and, later, for Toyota in the United States.  


Bernice worked with economic development agencies in Hawaii and Kentucky, and international disaster resiliency teams in Korea. She has supported U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Centers, U.S. Office of Undersecretary of Defense Research & Engineering, U.S. Office of Naval Research, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Defense. She has engaged with governments of Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, and federally funded research centers, accelerators, and venture capital funds. A respected thought leader, her insights have been published in Defense News, Japan Times, Asia Pacific Strategic Policy Institute, and Space News and presented at IEEE, AFCEA, Aerospace, Quad and U.S. Japan technology conferences.  Throughout, her passion has been to bridge and foster international collaboration across and between the commercial and government sectors.

Now, Bernice’s work takes on heightened significance and urgency. In her hands, a diverse coalition of innovators is shaping the future of defense technology in the Indo-Pacific region, ensuring that the U.S. and its allies are capable of not only meeting the evolving challenges of maintaining security but also maintaining a robust economy.

Bernice Glenn Kissinger

Senior Vice President — Pacific Impact Zone Solutions



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