Elon Musk has never shied away from comparisons with superhero Tony Stark, but his most recent joke on the subject is pretty on the nose, even for him. Responding to a story from CNN that pondered why the SpaceX founder had met with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter earlier this week, Musk replied in a tweet: “Something about a flying metal suit…” And considering the Pentagon’s official description of the visit — Musk was apparently there to talk about “innovation” — that gloss might not be too far off.
Something about a flying metal suit…https://t.co/6Z1D9iZ1fV
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 9, 2016
But of course, there are plenty of non-Iron Man-related reasons that Musk might be chatting with the folks at the Pentagon. Tech innovation is something the Department of Defense is keenly interested in, and in March this year, it even created a new advisory board to “tap innovation” from the private sector, headed by Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt. The board wants to recruit 12 individuals “who have successfully led large private and public organizations, and excelled at identifying and adopting new technology concepts,” but as of now, the DoD doesn’t seem to have announced any new members. (We’ve tried to reach out to the DoD to ask about this, and will update the story if they respond.)
Musk, meanwhile, already has his own dealings with the US military. In April SpaceX won a contract with the US Air Force in a $87.2 million deal to launch a GPS satellite in May 2018, the first of its kind since the company was given approval to bid for this sort of work in May 2015. So while we may joke about Musk’s resemblance to Stark — they’re both described as genius billionaires with boundless enthusiasm and curiosity — the main point of comparison is a little less romantic: they’ve both done contract work for the military.