Rachel Kolesnikov-Lindsey, Director of Organizational Development
Defense Innovation Unit - DIU

Rachel is an Active Duty Air Force Acquisitions Engineer who joined the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) in October 2017. As the Director of Organizational Development, she is responsible for the execution and plans related to human capital, improving the effectiveness of the organization in terms of skills, processes, and culture, as well as the development of the leadership team. Rachel also leads the DIU Small Responsive Launch efforts to utilize emerging commercial rockets to precisely place Department of Defense (DoD) payloads into their mission designed orbits. She also leads the effort to prototype commercial means to modernize aging DoD systems beginning with aging Phased Array Radars.

Prior to DIU, Rachel worked in the Launch Enterprise Systems Directorate at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, where she was Chief of Propulsion Systems for the Atlas V Rocket, precisely delivering over $5 billion of DoD National Security Space satellites to orbit before serving as executive officer for her 640 person wing. Prior to that, she was selected for the Engineer & Scientist Exchange Program (ESEP) where she finalized designs and built composite aircraft at the Spanish National Laboratories for Aerospace in Madrid Spain. Before her assignment in Spain, Rachel worked in the Materiel Directorate at the Air Force Research Labs (AFRL) completing Biological and Nanomaterials research as well as prototyping how to forcibly take down light aircraft without killing the pilot as part of the AFRL Commander’s Challenge. Rachel received an educational delay immediately upon commissioning in order to complete a master’s degree before entering active duty.

Rachel has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Materials Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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