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The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast
40 minutes | Jan 6, 2022
48. Through the Soldiers' Eyes: The Future of Ground Combat with Denys Antipov, Heydar Mirza, Nolan Peterson, John Spencer, Jim Greer, and COL Scott Shaw
The character of warfare has consistently changed over time, with technology evolving from edged weapons, bows and arrows, gunpowder, and battlefield mechanization, to more advanced technologies today, including long-range precision weapons, robotics, and autonomy. However, warfare remains an intrinsic human endeavor, with varied and profound effects felt by Soldiers on the ground. To explore this experience with those engaged in the tactical fight, we spoke with the following combat veterans, frontline reporters, and military training experts for this episode of The Convergence: Denys Antipov is a Ukrainian war veteran who served as a platoon leader and reconnaissance drone operator with the 81st Airborne Brigade in the Ukrainian Army, defending his homeland and fighting Russian paramilitary groups and anti-government separatists in the Donbas in 2015-2016. Heydar Mirza spent 36 days on the frontline as a war reporter in Terter and Agdere during the 44-day Second Nagorno-Karabakh war during the Fall of 2020. He is currently the program author and host of the weekly RADIUS military analysis program on Azerbaijan Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company – ICTIMAI TV and Caliber.az YouTube channel. Nolan Peterson is Senior Editor at Coffee or Die Magazine and The Daily Signal‘s Ukraine-based foreign correspondent. A former U.S. Air Force special operations pilot and veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, he was among the first journalists to embed with Ukrainian forces in combat in eastern Ukraine. In Iraq, he embedded with Kurdish peshmerga forces in operations around Mosul and Sinjar. He has reported from throughout Eastern Europe, France, the U.K., and was onboard the USS George H.W. Bush off the Syrian coast to cover the air war against ISIS. John Spencer is the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute, Co-Director of the Urban Warfare Project, and host of the Urban Warfare Project podcast. He served over twenty-five years in the U.S. Army as an infantry Soldier, with two combat tours in Iraq as both an Infantry Platoon Leader and Company Commander. He has also served as a Ranger Instructor with the Army’s Ranger School, a Joint Chief of Staff and Army Staff intern, fellow with the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group, Strategic Planner and then Deputy Director of the Modern War Institute where he was instrumental in the design and formation of the institute. He has just returned from walking the battlefields of Nagorno-Karabakh, gleaning lessons learned about modern combat on complex terrain. Jim Greer (Colonel, USA-Ret.) graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1977 and served 30 years in CONUS, Europe, and the Middle East, including combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and the Balkans. He commanded an infantry-heavy battalion task force in Bosnia, led the OIF Study Group in the invasion of Iraq, was Chief of Staff of Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq, and commanded 1st Armor Training Brigade. Agent of change, futurist, and concept developer, he played a significant role in Army transformation for Force XXI digitization and the Objective Force, was the Army’s representative to DOD’s Revolution in Military Affairs, and led the transformation of Initial Entry Training from a Cold War paradigm to one that prepared Soldiers for 21st Century combat. An educator and trainer, he taught tactics at West Point and was the Director of the School of Advanced Military Studies. COL Scott Shaw is the G-3, U.S. Army I Corps. He previously commanded the Asymmetric Warfare Group, providing global operational advisory support to U.S. Army forces to rapidly transfer current threat-based observations and solutions to tactical and operational commanders in order to defeat emerging asymmetric threats and enhance multi-domain effectiveness. In our interviews with the aforementioned SMEs, we explore their respective experiences in modern warfare at the “bleeding edge” of battle, the future of conflict, and the requirements and challenges facing future ground warfighters. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interviews: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, or drones) are becoming increasingly commonplace on the battlefield for reconnaissance, direct strike, and area denial (i.e., mine emplacement) missions. These comparatively low cost systems enable lesser powers and non-state actors to execute air domain operations, lower operational risk to Service personnel, and may be operated by Soldiers with limited training. While larger UAVs can be disrupted or disoriented by direct fire and jamming devices, the size and speed of smaller drones makes them especially difficult to interdict. Further, distinguishing enemy from friendly drones will become an increasingly complicated challenge for Soldiers as they proliferate on future battlefields. Modern warfare will continue to require Soldiers to traverse, operate in, and clear complex terrain. Even in urban environments, however, artificial intelligence (AI) and enhanced aerial observation technology will make it increasingly challenging to mask military operations. Thus, it will be imperative to train Soldiers to mask their movements and operations, even down to individual heat signatures. Information operations will continue to adapt to the technological age, allowing adversaries to weaponize information against Soldiers and their families, allies and partners, and local populations. This pervasive messaging will attempt to win the hearts and minds of nations, as well as confuse and disrupt militaries. Such messaging could attempt to persuade Soldiers of their failures, contradict orders they are given, or convince domestic populations of their force’s imminent defeat by triumphant adversaries. In some cases, these efforts may lead decisionmakers to cut access to social media networks altogether. Adaptable, innovative leadership will be critical in a rapidly changing environment. Recent conflicts have witnessed the convergence of old weapons, basic infantry tactics, and combined arms maneuver, integrated and repurposed with new technologies at the point of need. U.S. Army Leaders will need to quickly adopt and integrate technological advancements with their Soldiers and be willing to consider constant force reorganization to maintain dominance on the battlefield. These changes will also require the Army to continue developing high levels of trust between the Force and its Leaders, particularly as these relationships are tested in contested environments. Problem solving, understanding technological capabilities, and the initiative to fill leadership positions attrited through combat are key skillsets for Soldiers on the future battlefield. Coding, understanding data’s capabilities and limitations, and facility/agility with new technologies will enable future Soldiers to operate seamlessly, both on and off the battlefield. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence podcast -- Innovation at the Edge -- featuring senior military leaders, field and company grade officers, and young Soldiers discussing innovation at the unit and individual level, thinking differently about modern warfare, and implementing grassroots transformation across the U.S. Army.
39 minutes | Dec 9, 2021
47. How China Fights with Ian Sullivan, Kevin Pollpeter, Amanda Kerrigan, Peter Wood, Elsa Kania, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, and Doowan Lee
Over the past two decades, China has transformed its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through a holistic approach — modernizing its weaponry, force structure, and approaches to warfare, to include operations in the cyber and space domains, while improving its professional military education. Although Russia remains a near-peer threat, China has ascended to become the United States’ lone pacing threat. The PLA’s momentous progress in warfighting capabilities and concepts, coupled with its whole-of-nation approach to competition, crisis, and conflict, enables it to challenge the United States across all domains and the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic spheres. Army Mad Scientist interviewed the seven world-class SMEs regarding our near peer threat to learn How China Fights: Ian Sullivan serves as the Senior Advisor for Analysis and ISR to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC G2). He is responsible for the analysis that defines and the narrative that explains the Army’s Operational Environment, which supports integration across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy. Mr. Sullivan is a frequent and valued contributor to the Mad Scientist Laboratory, including the previous episode in this series, How Russia Fights. Peter Wood is a program manager and defense analyst at Blue Path Labs, a strategic advisory firm. He previously edited China Brief, a publication of the Jamestown Foundation. He has an M.A. from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies (HNC) and a B.A. in Political Science from Texas Tech University. He is proficient in Chinese. Elsa B. Kania is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS. Her research focuses on Chinese military strategy, military innovation, and emerging technologies. Her book, Fighting to Innovate, should be forthcoming with the Naval Institute Press in 2022. At CNAS, Ms. Kania has contributed to the Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Initiative and the “Securing Our 5G Future” program, while acting as a member of the Digital Freedom Forum and the research team for the Task Force on Artificial Intelligence and National Security. Ms. Kania is a Ph.D. candidate in Harvard University’s Department of Government. She is also a graduate of Harvard College and has received a Master of Arts in Government from Harvard University. Ms. Kania was a Boren Scholar in Beijing, China, and she maintains professional proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. She is a proclaimed Mad Scientist and valued contributor to the Mad Scientist Laboratory.Kevin Pollpeter is a research scientist in the CNA China Studies Division. He is an internationally recognized expert on China’s space program and is widely published on Chinese national security issues, focusing on Chinese military modernization, China’s defense industry, and Chinese views on information warfare. His publications include China Dream, Space Dream: China’s Progress in Space Technologies and Implications for the United States; Planning for Innovation: Understanding China’s Plans for Technological, Energy, Industrial, and Defense Development; and “Chinese Writings on Cyberwarfare and Coercion,” in China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain. A Chinese linguist, he holds an M.A. in international policy studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program at King’s College London. Dr. Amanda Kerrigan is a Research Scientist in the China and Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Division at CNA, where her research has focused on Chinese developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and Chinese media responses to U.S. military operations and activities worldwide. Dr. Kerrigan holds a Ph.D. in China Studies from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a Master’s degree in Chinese Politics and Diplomacy from Fudan University in Shanghai, and a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from Georgetown University. She was a Fulbright Fellow in China from 2015-2016, studying protest and violence in China’s health care system. Fluent in Chinese, she spent four years living between mainland China and Taiwan. Her previous professional experiences include working in the China Practice at the Albright Stonebridge Group and with Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Doowan Lee is CEO and co-founder of VAST-OSINT, an AI startup. He builds data analytic tools to expose and analyze the provenance of disinformation and adversarial information operations by enriching and visualizing cyber data for content authentication. He is also a senior advisor to the Institute for Security and Technology (IST) and adjunct professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. He leverages emerging AI technologies to empower open society and support national security. He specializes in disinformation analysis and great power competition in the Information Environment. Before founding VAST-OSINT, he taught at the Naval Postgraduate School for more than eleven years as a faculty member and principal investigator. He was also featured in a previous podcast episode, Disinformation, Revisionism, and China.Andrea Kendall-Taylor is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at CNAS. She works on national security challenges facing the United States and Europe, focusing on Russia, authoritarianism and threats to democracy, and the state of the Transatlantic alliance. Prior to joining CNAS, Ms. Kendall-Taylor served for eight years as a senior intelligence officer. From 2015 to 2018, she was Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the ODNI. Prior to joining the NIC, Ms. Kendall-Taylor was a senior analyst at the CIA where she worked on Russia and Eurasia, the political dynamics of autocracies, and democratic decline. Ms. Kendall-Taylor is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Ms. Kendall-Taylor was also featured in the previous episode, How Russia Fights. In our interview with the aforementioned SMEs, we explore How China Fights, to include intelligentized warfare, maneuver, fires, information operations, cyber, and more! The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Beginning in 2004, China’s PLA undertook a major modernization effort to reinvent itself as a rival to the United States. It invested in extensive technology development, undertook major force restructuring, and created new, specialized units for advanced warfare. Though the PLA lacks combat experience, it has become progressively more assertive in competition.China has completed extensive research and development in artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems. Specifically, China will use this technology to support drones across all military operations, including combat and logistical support. China is now the United States’ most technologically sophisticated adversary, though its concentration on this “science” of warfare may be at the expense of the “art” of battle, or the focus on training creative, resilient human forces.China will also leverage its AI proficiency in “intelligent warfare,” integrating machines in military decision making. This strategy will shift warfare to the key cyber and space domains and increase its emphasis on obtaining high-quality military data.In its modernization campaign, China created a Strategic Support Force (SSF) for information warfare, space operations, and cyber activities. The consolidation of these capabilities demonstrates China’s perception that these will be the decisive domains in future warfare. Further, documentation demonstrates that China sees information operations as a regular, rather than irregular, warfare technique.China has also sought to fully integrate itself into the global economy and digital infrastructure through programs like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This effort increased the strength and resilience of its economy, portrayed China as a willing and capable development partner, and provided itself with increased access to operation spaces for future systems confrontations.Though China’s relationship with Russia is limited and transactional, the rate of cooperation between the two nations has increased in recent years. They are increasingly aligned on policy goals such as countering U.S. influence and democracy promotion, and seek to combine Chinese capital with Russian talent to fully advance their respective international standings. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence podcast “Through Soldiers’ Eyes: The Future of Ground Combat,” featuring subject matter experts — military analysts, combat veterans, and combat reporters — discussing their experiences in modern warfare at the “bleeding edge” of battle, the future of conflict, and the requirements and challenges facing future ground warfighters.Learn more about China as our Pacing Threat in the following TRADOC G-2 content: ATP 7-100.3, Chinese Tactics; People’s Liberation Army Ground Forces Quick Reference Guide; China Trifold; the China products page; and information on PLA weapon systems accessed via the Worldwide Equipment Guide (WEG) on the OE Data Integration Network (ODIN). … explore the following Mad Scientist Laboratory China content: The Operational Environment (2021-2030): Great Power Competition, Crisis, and Conflict, along with its source document China’s PLA Modernization through the DOTMLPF-P Lens, by Dr. Jacob Barton “Intelligentization” and a Chinese Vision of Future War Competition and Conflict in the Next Decade Disrupting the “Chinese Dream” – Eight Insights on how to win the Competition with China Competition in 2035: Anticipating Chinese Exploitation of Operational Environments Disinformation, Revisionism, and China with Doowan Lee and associated podcast China and Russia: Achieving Decision Dominance and Information Advantage, by Ian Sullivan The PLA and UAVs – Automating the Battlefield and Enhancing Training A Chinese Perspective on Future Urban Unmanned Operations China: “New Concepts” in Unmanned Combat and Cyber and Electronic Warfare The PLA: Close Combat in the Information Age and the “Blade of Victory” … and check out the following additional content on China: China’s Military Civil Fusion Strategy: A View from Chinese Strategists, by Alex Stone and Peter Wood People’s Liberation Army: Army Campaign Doctrine in Transition by Kevin McCauley THE PLA BEYOND BORDERS Chinese Military Operations in Regional and Global Context, edited by Joel Wuthnow, Arthur S. Ding, Phillip C. Saunders, Andrew Scobell, and Andrew N.D. Yang Deciphering the PLA’s New Joint Doctrine: A Conversation with Dr. David Finkelstein, a podcast by our colleagues at the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
35 minutes | Nov 18, 2021
46. How Russia Fights with Ian Sullivan, Samuel Bendett, Katerina Sedova, and Andrea Kendall-Taylor
Russia is a formidable adversary that is currently undergoing transformative modernization. Its combat proficient force has inculcated lessons learned from recent combat operations in Syria, Crimea, and eastern Ukraine; selectively invested in niche capabilities (e.g., autonomy, robotics, and artificial intelligence) to add precision strike to its already formidable fires, enhance decision making, augment combined arms formations and logistics support, and safeguard its Soldiers; and professionalized to a more balanced ratio of contract to conscript Soldiers. A master of information confrontation, Russia employs cyber, information operations, and disinformation to offset any conventional force asymmetries. Above all, Russia remains a persistent, vice a declining power! Army Mad Scientist interviewed the following four world-class SMEs about our near peer threat to learn How Russia Fights: Ian Sullivan serves as the Senior Advisor for Analysis and ISR to the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC G2). This is a Tier One Defense Intelligence Senior Level (DISL) position. He is responsible for the analysis that defines and the narrative that explains the Army’s Operational Environment, which supports integration across doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy. Mr. Sullivan is a career civilian intelligence officer, who has served with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI); Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 (USAREUR G2); and as an Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) cadre member at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). Prior to assuming his position at the TRADOC G2, Mr. Sullivan led a joint NCTC Directorate of Intelligence (DI)/Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Counterterrorism Mission Center (CTMC) unit responsible for WMD terrorism issues, where he provided direct intelligence support to the White House, senior policymakers, Congress, and other senior customers throughout the Government. He was promoted into the Senior Executive ranks in June 2013 as a member of the ODNI’s Senior National Intelligence Service, and transferred to the Army as a DISL in January, 2017. Mr. Sullivan is also a frequent and valued contributor to the Mad Scientist Laboratory. Katerina Sedova is a Research Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), where she works on the CyberAI Project. Most recently, she advised SEN Maggie Hassan on cybersecurity and technology policy issues and drafted key legislation as a TechCongress fellow with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Previously, she published research and advised projects on disinformation, state-sponsored information operations and OSINT for the NATO Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. She started her career at Microsoft, where she led engineering teams in the security, networking, and performance components of the internet browsing platform. She was named as an inventor on multiple patents awarded to Microsoft. Ms. Sedova is a proclaimed Mad Scientist, having participated in our AI Speeding up Disinformation panel discussion during the Mad Scientist Weaponized Information Series of Virtual Events last year. Sam Bendett is an Adviser with CNA’s Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). His work involves research on the Russian defense and technology developments, unmanned and autonomous military systems and AI, as well as Russian military capabilities and decision-making during crises. He is a Member of CNA’s Center for Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence, and a proclaimed Mad Scientist, having contributed multiple insightful blog posts to the Mad Scientist Laboratory, and presented informative topics during a number of Army Mad Scientist webinars and conferences. He is also a Russian military autonomy and AI SME for the DoD’s Defense Systems Information Analysis Center. Andrea Kendall-Taylor is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the CNAS. She works on national security challenges facing the United States and Europe, focusing on Russia, authoritarianism and threats to democracy, and the state of the Transatlantic alliance. Prior to joining CNAS, Ms. Kendall-Taylor served for eight years as a senior intelligence officer. From 2015 to 2018, she was Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the ODNI. In this role, Ms. Kendall-Taylor led the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) strategic analysis on Russia, represented the IC in interagency policy meetings, provided analysis to the National Security Council, and briefed the DNI and other senior staff for White House and international meetings. Prior to joining the NIC, Ms. Kendall-Taylor was a senior analyst at the CIA where she worked on Russia and Eurasia, the political dynamics of autocracies, and democratic decline. Ms. Kendall-Taylor is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. In our interview with the aforementioned SMEs, we explore how Russia fights, addressing unmanned and autonomous systems, maneuver warfare, special operations, cyber warfare, information operations, proxy forces, and more! The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Despite popular discourse casting Russia as a declining power, the Russian military remains a near-peer competitorwith significant capabilities in competition, crisis, and conflict. Russia’s military continues to undergo a transformative modernization effort, learning from its extensive combat experience in Chechnya, Dagestan, Georgia, Crimea, Syria, Libya, and eastern Ukraine. The United States cannot simply cast Russia as a declining power and pivot its focus away from the nation entirely.Instead, the U.S. military should continue to monitor Russian military modernization and strategy. The Russian military continues to develop and implement an advanced force of autonomous and robotic systems supported by AI.This technology will be tested and adopted to enhance decision-making and safeguard Soldier’s lives, ultimately making Russian operations more effective. The deployment of this technology will represent a long-term, transformative change for the Russian military. Russia will continue to pursue dominance in information operations. These comparatively inexpensive“grey zone” tactics will seek to fracture liberal alliances, influence elections, undermine trust in democratic institutions, and weaponize ambiguity and uncertainty. Even if operations are ultimately discovered, they may still succeed by casting the target as vulnerable and elevating the perceived capabilities of the Russian attackers. Russia will continue seeking to “win without fighting” by implementing rapid military operations immediately followed by offers for a diplomatic resolution.Such tactics prevent U.S. military mobilization and force the United States to choose between accepting Russian solutions or purposefully escalating conflict. Russia is seeking to develop advanced autonomous systemsto increase its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. These systems will increase the precision of Russian reconnaissance-fire complexes, enhancing Russia’s ability to dominate enemies via firepower. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence podcast featuring SMEs from CNA, CNAS, Georgetown University’s CSET, and TRADOC G-2 discussing our pacing threat and exploring How China Fights, to include intelligentized warfare, maneuver, fires, information operations, cyber, and more!
50 minutes | Oct 28, 2021
45. Learning About the Future Through History with Dr. Brent L. Sterling
Brent L. Sterling has been an adjunct lecturer at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University for the past twenty years, teaching courses on security studies, military strategy, and operations. He is the author of Other People’s Wars: The US Military and the Challenge of Learning for Foreign Conflicts and Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? What History Teaches Us about Strategic Barriers and International Security. Dr. Sterling has spent the past thirty years as a defense analyst, including positions at the Central Intelligence Agency and consulting firms working for the U.S. Department of Defense. In our interview with Dr. Sterling, we discuss how militaries learn (or don’t!) from foreign conflicts, what pitfalls await those trying to learn from historical conflicts, how focusing only on “relevant” observations hampers our creativity in analyzing warfare, and what strategists can do to avoid past mistakes. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: In Other People’s Wars, Dr. Sterling provides a longitudinal evaluation spanning the 19th and 20th centuries on what the U.S. military learned from foreign conflicts. Exploring the Crimean, Russo-Japanese, Spanish Civil, and Yom Kippur Wars as use cases, Dr. Sterlingidentifies how effectively the U.S. assimilated key lessons from each of these conflicts and developed responsive capabilities across doctrine, organization, training and education, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P); drew erroneous conclusions; or failed to act altogether. Importantly, Dr. Sterling compares the success of learning from these wars across the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. Studying foreign conflicts allows the U.S. military to learn about new technologies, their applications, and novel problem sets, facilitating proactive responsesto problems before they are encountered in the field. For example, at the beginning of the 20th century, the U.S. Army was reconsidering the future of the bayonet. Observations from the Russo-Japanese War, where knife fighting was prevalent — especially in night assaults, given the heightened risk of friendly fire — led Army Leaders to determine that the weapon was still relevant, and should be maintained. Learning from foreign wars can be a challenging endeavor, as it frequently runs counter to deeply-rooted institutional biases.Services’ culture and bureaucratic politics can limit the implementation of lessons learned from other nations’ conflicts. Insufficient access to information can also prevent the Services from fully appreciating the important implications of remote conflicts involving less than peer adversaries. The U.S. military also needs to be mindful that other observers learn from foreign conflicts, too. For example, while the U.S. Army learned of the importance and adopted Anti-Tank (AT) guns from observing combatants during the Spanish Civil War, these weapons were quickly rendered obsolete by what other powers observed in this conflict, largely rendering AT guns ineffective by the advent of WWII. Thus, considering the viewpoint from other observers is critical in preparing for the next war. Cooperation with foreign combatants is more important than direct observation when trying to learn from foreign wars.Access to information and contextual perspective can allow for understanding of the conflict without requiring direct U.S. presence. Increased levels of disinformationwill make learning and effective decision-making more challenging, especially under the time pressure induced by conflict. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for the debut our new The Convergence podcast series entitled “How They Fight.” Our first episode will focus on Russia and feature subject matter experts from CNA, Center for a New American Security, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, and the TRADOC G-2 discussing how Russia fights, addressing unmanned and autonomous systems, maneuver warfare, special operations, cyber warfare, information operations, proxy forces, and more! If you enjoyed this post, check out the following related content: The Case for Restructuring the Department of Defense to Fight in the 21st Century Top Attack: Lessons Learned from the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War and associated podcast Insights from the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in 2020 (Parts 1 and 2) “Once More unto The Breach Dear Friends”: From English Longbows to Azerbaijani Drones, Army Modernization STILL Means More than Materiel The Convergence: The Future of Ground Warfare with COL Scott Shaw and associated podcast Lessons from the Cold War: “The Ugly American” and Multi-Domain Operations Why the Next “Cuban Missile Crisis” Might Not End Well: Cyberwar and Nuclear Crisis Management Jomini’s Revenge: Mass Strikes Back! Making the Future More Personal: The Oft-Forgotten Human Driver in Future’s Analysis
52 minutes | Oct 14, 2021
44. Cultural Intelligence: More Than Materiel with Terry Young
Terry Young is the Founder and CEO of sparks & honey, “a cultural intelligence consultancy helping organizations understand explosive and immediate cultural shifts, as well as cultural tastes that develop over time.” By leveraging the power of culture, sparks & honey seeks to open minds and create possibilities in the now, next, and future. Mr. Young is a frequent speaker and writer on the largest shifts that will shape the future, most recently addressing such topics as precision consumer 2030, the rise of Generation Z, new semantics, open business, diversity OS, and the future of giving. His deep understanding of consumer behavior and digital and technology platforms allowed him to architect the sparks & honey model and cultural intelligence platform, QTM. In our interview with Mr. Young, we discuss the future of workplaces, the meaning of true diversity and how to achieve and measure it, and how to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build cultural intelligence across a wide spectrum of future topics. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Cultural intelligence can help us understand why humans make the decisions that they make and how we can translate that information into opportunities. At scale, it can identify weak signals and emerging threats and help organizations anticipate change. sparks & honey leverages AI and man-machine teaming to identify the impacts of cultural trends. QTM — their AI cultural analysis system — uses natural language processing to analyze and map cultural trends at scale by scouring myriad sources — social media, patents, blogs, influencers, policy changes, academic papers, scientific discoveries — and then building a taxonomy of culture to categorize, cluster, and quantify these different ‘signals.’ The humans in this man-machine equation translate these signals into opportunities by adding nuance, intuition, and context to make sense of these trends and where the world is heading. Cultural trends are classified in a ‘stack’ with three levels. Megatrends, like climate change, will structurally change society in the long term, 8-10 years out. Macrotrends will create impacts in 1-3 years, while Micro-signals indicate short term changes. Cultural Intelligence identifies the drivers of cultural change – not just what is happening, but why it is happening. For the military, cultural intelligence could help identify the emergence of radical ideologies and track new and convergent trends affecting the Operational Environment. sparks & honey predicts that cultural changes are trending towards equity in organizations. This is something that is on the radar of many large organizations, but is being dismissed as a non-priority. Due to changes arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic, work environments are shifting and employees are likely to prioritize fairness and moral leadership in the workplace and outside of it. Negative perceptions about uniformed service, exacerbated by our adversaries’ information operations, could reduce the pool of interested recruits. The pandemic has also increased the velocity at which businesses will be expected to prioritize employee wellness. Leaders need to be thinking about the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their workforce. For the Army, prioritizing wellness – with an emphasis on mental health – will be essential in maintaining Soldier readiness. Diversity will also be increasingly important to an organization’s success and cannot be solely prioritized in the human resources department. A holistic approach can spread organizations too thin. Improvement in this area needs to be incremental and will require focus, transparency, and consistent re-evaluation of progress. Given that change is inevitable, organizations should focus on building resilience rather than mitigation or aversion. This strategy will help prevent disruption and chaos when unforeseen changes occur, but will also better prepare them to ‘see around corners’ and anticipate changes that will impact their operations. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence, featuring our interview with Dr. Brent Sterling, Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and author of Other People’s Wars: The US Military and the Challenge of Learning from Foreign Conflicts, discussing how militaries learn (or don’t!) from foreign conflicts, what pitfalls await those trying to learn from historical conflicts, how focusing only on “relevant” observations hampers our creativity in analyzing warfare, and what strategists can do to avoid past mistakes. If you enjoyed this post, check out the Key Judgements excerpted from The Operational Environment (2021-2030): Great Power Competition, Crisis, and Conflict, and download the comprehensive source document; … learn more about the U.S. Army’s single consistent OE narrative (spanning the near, mid-, and far terms out to 2050) in: Four Models of the Post-COVID World, The Operational Environment: Now through 2028, and Threats to 2030 video The Future Operational Environment: The Four Worlds of 2035-2050, the complete AFC Pamphlet 525-2, Future Operational Environment: Forging the Future in an Uncertain World 2035-2050, and associated video; … and review the following additional related content: On Hype and Hyperwar by Collin Meisel and Dr. Jonathan D. Moyer Emergent Global Trends Impacting on the Future Operational Environment The Inexorable Role of Demographics, by Caroline Duckworth Own the Heat: DoD Climate Change Action with Richard G. Kidd IV, the associated podcast, and The Inevitable Threat: Climate Change and the Operational Environment Going on the Offensive in the Fight for the Future and associated podcast
29 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
43. A New American Way of Training with Jennifer McArdle
Jennifer McArdle is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and a Product Strategist at Improbable LLC, an emerging global leader in distributed simulation technology for military planning, training, and decision support. Her research focuses on military innovation, readiness, and synthetic training. She currently serves as an expert member of a NATO technical working group that is developing cyber effects for the military alliance’s mission and campaign simulations. Her work has been featured in Real Clear World, The Cyber Defense Review, National Defense Magazine, and War on the Rocks, among others. Ms. McArdle previously served as an Assistant Professor of Cyber Defense at Salve Regina University, where she lectured on the relationship between national security and disruptive technologies. In our interview with Ms. McArdle, we discuss the future of the Synthetic Training Environment, flexibility and scalability in training systems, and the critical need for a new agile approach to training that can keep pace with the dynamic character of warfare. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Synthetic training will be instrumental in providing the next generation of Soldiers with the tools they need to succeed in a new era of warfare. The adoption of synthetic training and simulation will empower realistic individual and collective multi-echelon and multi-domain training and mission rehearsal, advanced wargaming, and enhanced decision-making. The New American Way of Training Initiative at CNAS examines how the military will be required to train and fight in the future, using the Cold War as a model. During the Cold War, intense tension and sporadic ‘hot’ proxy conflicts spurred a series of innovations that required radical changes to military training and organization. This new CNAS initiative will help ensure that our future individual and collective training programs meet the needs of our warfighters, today and in the future. The DoD should focus on developing modular synthetic training architectures, enabling it to adapt training and simulations more readily as warfare evolves. This method differs from current synthetic simulators, which are monolithic in nature (i.e., large, complicated, and un-editable platforms). Modular training simulations will give future Soldiers ‘degradation dominance,’ or the ability to maintain high levels of performance under duress. The DoD should require modular components of training platforms in future acquisition contracts. Such contracts will also reduce cost for the DoD, as updating platforms will require less overhaul than monolithic platforms. Synthetic training is particularly important for success in multi-domain operations. Due to safety and security concerns, the military does not incorporate live cyber elements in its training exercises. However, synthetic environments would enable Soldiers to experience the stress of such elements in a risk-free environment, better preparing them for the realities of multi-domain operations. Successfully prioritizing training support will require the DoD to dedicate itself to organizational change. Breaking down ‘knowledge silos’ and promoting the cross-pollination of ideas will ensure that the DoD is able to use its latent talent and fully exploit the benefits of breakthrough technologies. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with Terry Young, Founder and CEO, sparks & honey — “a cultural intelligence consultancy helping organizations understand explosive and immediate cultural shifts, as well as cultural tastes that develop over time.” We will discuss the future of workplaces, the meaning of true diversity and how to achieve and measure it, and how to leverage AI and machine learning to build cultural intelligence across a wide spectrum of future topics on 14 October 2021! If you enjoyed this post and podcast, check out the following related content: From Legos to Modular Simulation Architectures: Enabling the Power of Future (War) Play, by Jennifer McArdle and Caitlin Dohrman The Synthetic Training Environment [view via a non-DoD network], presented by then MG Maria Gervais, Director, STE Cross Functional Team (CFT) / Deputy Commanding General, Combined Arms Center-Training (DCG, CAC-T), from the Mad Scientist Installations of the Future Conference, co-sponsored by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment (OASA (IE&E)) and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) on 19-20 June 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia, and see her associated slide deck The STE discussion in the Top Ten Takeaways from the Installations of the Future Conference The Metaverse: Blurring Reality and Digital Lives with Cathy Hackl and associated podcast Gamers Building the Future Force and associated podcast Fight Club Prepares Lt Col Maddie Novák for Cross-Dimension Manoeuvre, by LTC(P) Arnel David, U.S. Army, and Major Aaron Moore, British Army, along with their interview in The Convergence: UK Fight Club – Gaming the Future Army and associated podcast The Convergence: The Future of Software with Major Rob Slaughter, then listen to the associated podcast Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Army Futures Command (AFC), or TRADOC.
59 minutes | Sep 16, 2021
42. Global Entanglement and Multi-Reality Warfare with COL (USA-RET) Steve Banach
COL Stefan Banach (USA-Ret.) is a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and served in that organization for nine years, culminating with command of the 3rd Ranger Battalion from 2001-2003. He led U.S. Army Rangers during a historic night combat parachute assault into Afghanistan on October 19, 2001, as the “spearhead” for the Global War on Terror. Steve subsequently led U.S. Army Rangers in a second combat parachute assault into Al Anbar Province in western Iraq in 2003. He served with distinction in the United States Army from 1983 to 2010. Since then, he has provided executive consulting services to a diverse range of clients at a number of prestigious institutions. Steve Banach also serves as the Director, Army Management Staff College, an element of Army University responsible for “igniting the leadership potential for every Army civilian.” In our interview with Steve Banach, we discussed global entanglement, multi-reality warfare, and the urgent need for a new paradigm and cognitive approach to warfare for the U.S. Army and larger Joint Force. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: The U.S. military needs to develop a ‘fourth Army,’ whose form and function are capable of gaining logic from disorder. This Army will be better prepared to operate in the multi-reality, technologically integrated battlespace that is already upon us. The next war will be characterized by operations within the virtual battlespace. To prepare for this phase of warfare, the U.S. Army needs to develop new mental models to understand the vulnerabilities that arise from an increasingly interconnected world. Such an effort should feature the development of a ‘virtual battlespace maneuver’ Our adversaries are working to integrate technologies from autonomous weapons systems to social media to dominate this new battlespace. Future adversaries will not always be on a physical battleground, but the impacts of their operations will be felt both by the U.S. military and civilian population as they seek to create systemic shock and paralysis. The Army should redevelop its total force design and increase its operational arc to prepare the United States for this new form of conflict. Weapons of ‘mass deception’ will be increasingly prevalent in conflict, as social media is manipulated to prevent population education and engagement with critical issues. The United States should increase awareness of this threat via programs in both civilian and military education. Asymmetric ethics in the virtual battlespace will necessitate the development and communication of zones of acceptability and limits of tolerance. These standards should be accompanied by specific response outlines to both deter and defend against enemy attacks in this sphere. Our adversaries capitalize on global entanglement and multi-reality warfare by creating dependence on connectivity, increasing surveillance of online networks, and using data collected to understand and manipulate the population. This strategy involves technologies from FitBits to biometric scanners and takes advantage of a world in which every individual has an online presence.Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence — A New American Way of Training — featuring Jennifer McArdle, Product Strategist at Improbable and Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, discussing the future of the Synthetic Training Environment, flexibility and scalability in training systems, and the critical need for a new agile approach to training that can keep pace with the dynamic character of warfare. If you enjoyed today’s post and podcast, check out the following related content: The Future of War is Cyber! by CPT Casey Igo and CPT Christian Turley A House Divided: Microtargeting and the next Great American Threat, by 1LT Carlin Keally Nowhere to Hide: Information Exploitation and Sanitization The Exploitation of our Biases through Improved Technology, by Raechel Melling LikeWar — The Weaponization of Social Media The Death of Authenticity: New Era Information Warfare Influence at Machine Speed: The Coming of AI-Powered Propaganda by MAJ Chris Telley Damnatio Memoriae through AI and What is the Threshold? Assessing Kinetic Responses to Cyber-Attacks, by proclaimed Mad Scientist Marie Murphy Sub-threshold Maneuver and the Flanking of U.S. National Security, by Dr. Russell Glenn The Erosion of National Will – Implications for the Future Strategist, by Dr. Nick Marsella Weaponized Information: What We’ve Learned So Far…, Insights from the Mad Scientist Weaponized Information Series of Virtual Events, and all of this series’ associated content and videos [access via a non-DoD network] Weaponized Information: One Possible Vignette and Three Best Information Warfare Vignettes
20 minutes | Sep 2, 2021
41. The Secret Service Embraces the Future with Robin Champ
Robin Champ is the Chief of the Enterprise Strategy Division at the United States Secret Service (USSS), where she leads both foresight and strategic planning for the organization. Prior to joining USSS, Ms. Champ was the Chief of the Global Futures Office at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). Prior to joining DTRA, Ms. Champ worked at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), Office of Strategic Planning and Enterprise Transformation (J-5), where she was the DLA Lead for the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review. In addition to her official positions, Ms. Champ Co-Leads the Federal Foresight Community of Interest (see links below). She also is a guest lecturer on foresight at George Washington University’s “Mastering Strategy for the Public Sector” course. In today’s podcast, Ms. Champ discusses women leading in national security, empowering diversity to think about the future, and how emerging technologies and trends will affect Secret Service missions. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Planning for the future involves analyzing trends and considering multiple alternate trajectories. Clearly communicating findings to leaders is essential to create actionable change, and particularly important when government agencies are tasked with ‘no fail missions.’ Generating foresight and creating strategy plans require the Government to fully leverage the nation’s diversity and talent. Recruiting and maintaining this workforce should be a priority for government agencies. The Secret Service has a robust foresight program, providing newsletters, speaker series, and strategic plans to its members. This program enables the Secret Service to identify and mitigate its weaknesses that could be taken advantage of during critical decisive moments. Readers and listeners can connect with the Federal Foresight Community of Interest at org and on their LinkedIn page. Trends considered in futures forecasting are constantly in flux, necessitating that agencies prepare for multiple possible futures Embracing endless possibilities and establishing networks of partners at home and abroad will allow the United States to prepare a resilient long term defense strategy. Though typically associated with the protection of the President, the Secret Service is also mandated with the protection of U.S. currency from counterfeiters. This task has gotten increasingly challenging in the era of cryptocurrency, as criminal methods capitalize on this novel technology. However, new technologies have also provided the Secret Service with new techniques to trace financial flows and protect the U.S. currency. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence — Global Entanglement and Multi-Reality Warfare — featuring COL Stefan Banach (USA-Ret.), Director, Army Management Staff College, discussing global entanglement, multi-reality warfare, and the urgent need for a new paradigm and cognitive approach to warfare for the U.S. Army and larger Joint Force. If you enjoyed this post and episode, explore the following related content: Going on the Offensive in the Fight for the Future, and the associated podcast The Convergence: The Future of Talent and Soldiers with MAJ Delaney Brown, CPT Jay Long, and 1LT Richard Kuzma, and the associated podcast Young Minds on Competition and Conflict Emergent Global Trends Impacting on the Future Operational Environment Learning about the Future through Podcasts Extremism on the Horizon: The Challenges of VEO Innovation, by Colonel Montgomery Erfourth and Dr. Aaron Bazin Four Models of the Post-COVID World, The Operational Environment: Now through 2028, and The 2 + 3 Threat video The Future Operational Environment: The Four Worlds of 2035-2050, the complete AFC Pamphlet 525-2, Future Operational Environment: Forging the Future in an Uncertain World 2035-2050, and associated video
46 minutes | Aug 19, 2021
Disinformation, Revisionism, and China with Doowan Lee
Today’s episode of “The Convergence” podcast features our conversation with Mr. Doowan Lee, CEO, VAST-OSINT and Board Advisor, Zignal Labs, originally published last October. Mr. Lee is a National Security expert in influence intelligence, disinformation analysis, data analytics, network visualization, and great power competition. Before joining Zignal Labs, Mr. Lee served as a professor and principal investigator at the Naval Postgraduate School, where he executed federally funded projects on collaborative information systems, network analysis, and disinformation analysis. His article entitled The United States Isn’t Doomed to Lose the Information Wars explores Russian and Chinese disinformation campaigns and was featured in Foreign Policy last fall. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with Mr. Lee: Our adversaries see disinformation as just an effective tool that provides strategic and global reach. We see it as irregular warfare when it is anything but irregular. Disinformation, or the historical term propaganda, has been around forever. COVID-19 has accentuated this threat vector or surface. The Chinese government outlined their national information operations policy in "The Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere” (also known as Document #9): - Nations talking about the spread of open societies are attempting to undermine the CCP. - The CCP will maintain positive control of all media. - The CCP will professionalize information operations. This policy resulted in the development of the “Great Firewall,” the “Golden Shield" project, and the PLA’s Strategic Support Forces. The CCP and the Kremlin are increasing their coordination on national security activities and, in some cases, are increasing their collaboration. This resulted in a joint statement that stated the two governments would work together to undermine disinformation that seeks to destabilize the Russian and Chinese governments. How is our Great Competition strategy working to prevent Chinese and Russian collaboration? Slaughtering the “Golden Calf” - Information Operations are not irregular warfare. DROP THE ADJECTIVE! There is nothing irregular about these operations and they are probably the most regular or everyday form of competition we face. - Embrace our doctrine. We are not using our tools such as international or bilateral exercises for advantage, while our adversaries are using these exercises, oftentimes in the same contested space, to their information advantage. - Stop trying to make perfect decisions. Instead, work to perfect decision making using rapid experimentation, learning, and implementation. When engaging the younger generations, we need to discuss data and civil liberties, the philosophy of science or acquiring knowledge, ethics, and critical thinking. What keeps me up at night? Technologies that create strategic latency between offense and defense. Deep fakes is one of these technologies. It has a high first mover advantage and identification tools do not prevent them from getting into the “wild” and impacting our society. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next podcast with Robin Champ, Chief, Enterprise Strategy Division, U.S. Secret Service, discussing women leading in national security, empowering diversity to think about the future, and how emerging technology and trends like cryptocurrency and cyber warfare will affect Secret Service missions on 2 September 2021!
37 minutes | Aug 5, 2021
Bias, Behavior, and Baseball with Keith Law
In this latest episode of “The Convergence,” we talk with Keith Law, Senior Baseball Writer at The Athletic, which he joined in January 2020 after spending thirteen and a half years at ESPN. Before joining ESPN.com in June 2006, Keith spent just over four years as the Special Assistant to the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, and prior to that had written for Baseball Prospectus. Keith Law is the author of Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball, published in April 2017; and The Inside Game: Bad Calls, Strange Moves, and What Baseball Behavior Teaches Us About Ourselves, published in April of this year. In today’s podcast, Keith Law discusses the parallels between baseball and the Information Environment, how stats skew our thinking, and the implications of anchoring bias: The brain develops cognitive biases to manage extensive information. These biases lead information consumers to draw false conclusions and ignore conflicting data. Anchoring bias occurs when the brain latches onto the first piece of information, even if it is irrelevant to what you are working on. Creating radical change in a large, traditional organization, like the Army or a sports team, is best done through an individualized grassroots effort. Radical change, especially from people new to the organization, does not usually “win hearts and minds.” Information environments are full of persistent yet harmful beliefs. These need to be addressed, as those with these beliefs are often more aggressive about promoting their viewpoints. “Credibly foolish beliefs” benefit from a “first mover” advantage. These irrational narratives are rarely challenged by peers. Once these fallacies are adopted, they are difficult to let go. Data collection tools are becoming democratized, leading to individuals having more agency over information. To become a better writer, future analysts should work to become better readers, especially when it comes to reading books and articles outside the genre they write in. For people with a STEM background, being able to write well provides a personal competitive advantage for future employment. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next podcast which, given the West's current focus on blunting China's ambitions, will feature last year’s interview with Doowan Lee discussing disinformation, changes over time in approaches to information warfare, and revisionism and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on 19 Aug 2022.
44 minutes | Jul 22, 2021
40. Gamers Building the Future Force with Air Force Gaming
Air Force Gaming (AFG) is the official gaming program and competition hub for the United States Air Force and Space Force. Over 86% of Airmen and Guardians between the ages of 18-34 identify as gamers. AFG was started to help Airmen of all ages, ranks, and backgrounds find common ground through video games, while also promoting mental acuity, fine motor coordination, and competitive excellence. Its mission is to create an inclusive gaming community for Airmen of all ages, ranks, and backgrounds. Capt Zach “ZB” Baumann co-founded AFG, and for the better part of 2020, led the explosion of AFG's digital reach to 575K impressions and 40K profile visits (doubling its digital footprint of followers on social media and verified members on its Discord server) across five platforms, and tirelessly built the connective tissue between the Department of the Air Force, DoD at large, and the gaming industry — ultimately leading to AFG’s “acquisition” by the USAF in November of 2020. AFG is helping to bridge the gap between the DoD’s digital natives (tomorrow’s leaders) and digital immigrants (today’s leaders).Capt Oliver “OliPoppinIt” Parsons founded AFG and leads a diverse group of Airmen and Guardians all across the world. AFG strives to be the leading DoD eSports/gaming organization. In 2020, he led the AFG Space Force Call of Duty team to victory in the first ever transatlantic Armed Forces eSports bowl (CODE Bowl).MSgt Michael Sullivan co-founded AFG, launching the Department of the Air Force’s first gaming and eSports organization, with a primary focus in mental health and resiliency for service members. MSgt Sullivan led day to day operations; advised on the organization’s direction, event planning, and brand implementation; developed its “Ambassador” volunteer program, on-boarded, and trained 50+ personnel; and established the first ever USAF/USSF official eSports teams, achieving the Championship title in an international tournament.In today’s podcast, Capt Baumann, Capt Parsons, and MSgt Sullivan discuss how gaming breaks down barriers in rank, generation, and geography; identities the digital talent residing in the gaming community; and how video games can cultivate the future Senior Leaders in the military. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: AFG seeks to identify and engage gamers already ‘within the gate’ of the Air and Space Forces, providing an online platform where Airmen and Guardians can network and develop skills in teaming, organization, and strategy. AFG hopes to expose the benefits of gaming to the DoD, counteracting the outdated stereotype that gaming is a waste of resources. AFG engages service members on a massive array of games, ranging from tabletop games like chess to interactive streaming games like Minecraft and League of Legends. This feature of the community allows for the inclusion of a wide spectrum of gamers with different skills and interest levels. AFG emphasizes that almost all ‘techies’ are ‘tinkerers’ who can use games to test new strategies and creative processes. Thus, games provide service members with opportunities to fail in a safe environment. Embracing this feature of gaming, in which new strategies can be developed and tested, can help create a culture of game appreciation in DoD, even up to the level of Senior Leaders. Importantly, gaming communities within the DoD can facilitate better talent management. Gaming exposes ‘hidden talents’ among service members, helping the branches identify tomorrow’s leaders that are already serving. Gaming can also help promote cooperation and competition across the branches of the military. As each branch works to develop new ways to engage gamers, they can learn from each other, advancing the DoD mission collectively. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” which, now that the 2021 Baseball Season is in full swing, will feature last year’s interview with proclaimed Mad Scientist Keith Law, author and Senior Baseball Writer with The Athletic, discussing the parallels between baseball and the Information Environment, how stats skew our thinking, and the implications of anchoring bias.
41 minutes | Jul 8, 2021
39. Algorithms of Armageddon with CAPT (Ret.) George Galdorisi
CAPT George Galdorisi (USN-Ret.) is a career naval aviator whose thirty years of active duty service included four command tours and five years as a carrier strike group chief of staff. He is currently the Director of Strategic Assessments and Technical Futures at the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific in San Diego, California. He is also a contributing blogger for the Mad Scientist Laboratory, having written Creating a Convergence of Technologies to Defeat the Deadly Fast Inshore Attack Craft Threat Before 2050 and Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Meet Warfighter Needs. CAPT Galdorisi also presented Designing Unmanned Systems For the Multi-Domain Battle (please access this video via a non-DoD network) as a Mad Scientist Speaker Series presentation on 10 January 2018. CAPT Galdorisi began his writing career in 1978 with an article in the U.S. Navy’s professional magazine, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. Since then, he has written fifteen books published by mainstream publishers, including the New York Times bestseller, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor, the novelization of the Bandito Brothers/Relativity Media film, and The Kissing Sailor, which proved the identity of the two principals in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic V-J Day in Times Square photograph. His latest projects include a new series of thrillers published by Braveship books, as well as a recent collaboration with St. Martin’s Press rebooting the Tom Clancy Op-Center series. His three Braveship thrillers are: The Coronado Conspiracy, For Duty and Honor, and Fire and Ice, just released in 2021. The first three books of the rebooted Tom Clancy Op-Center series, Out of the Ashes, Into the Fire, and Scorched Earth are New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly best-sellers. In today’s podcast, CAPT Galdorisi discusses leading edge technologies, man-machine teaming, and algorithms of armageddon. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: All military services must identify the “low hanging fruit” where Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be injected quickly and easily into the operational force. For example, the U.S. Army lost Soldiers on fuel and water resupply convoys during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. AI can be incorporated into logistics platforms, replacing vulnerable human drivers in order to save lives. We are still assessing who — human or machine — has the innate edge over the other; however, man-machine teaming is really what holds the advantage. We are slowly developing how to best pair manned and unmanned platforms to create a sum that is greater than its parts. History is replete with battles where Leaders were forced to make command decisions with a limited or incomplete understanding of all available information. AI intelligence systems and entities conducting machine speed collection, collation, and analysis of battlefield information will free Commanders to do what they do best — fight and make decisions, respectively. Commanders will be able to focus on the battle with coup d’œil, or the “stroke of an eye,” maintaining situational awareness without consuming precious time crunching data. AI’s role is not to make decisions free from human input, but rather to assist decision makers by presenting logical alternatives. We are techno-realists, not techno-optimists. Fiction is a great tool to help determine the future of warfare; however, it often includes idealized AI solutions. Where as in reality, this is not the case. We are not trying to change the world with AI, so much as go after the low hanging fruit to initiate change. The Army is leading the way in autonomous convoys and wearable devices that can help lighten the load for the Soldier. The most important thing is to recognize the importance of AI and autonomy for the Services and DoD which is happening at Senior Leader levels. Each Service can do much better in sharing their best practices and ideas for AI solutions and innovations. For his novels, Mr. Galdorisi begins by thinking about what worries him regarding the military and builds a scenario around that fear. His novel, Fire and Ice, depicts Soviet meddling into Eastern Europe and the possibility of Russia holding its energy supply hostage in order to exercise power over Europe. With its European presence, the Army must be aware of the potential for Europe to become the next host of a new cold war and posture itself to prevail. New writers should get their feet wet by writing articles for professional journals before undertaking an entire novel. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with Air Force Gaming leads Capt Zachary Baumann, Capt Oliver Parsons, and MSgt Michael Sullivan discussing how gaming breaks down barriers like rank and geography, the digital talent residing in the gaming community, and how video games can cultivate the future senior leaders of the military. Check out our video teaser from this upcoming podcast! How did you like this podcast? Have you had a chance to rate or review it on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you accessed it? This feedback helps us to improve future episodes of The Convergence and allows us to reach a bigger and broader audience — Thank you! If you enjoyed this post, check out the following additional content by CAPT Galdorisi: How Can the U.S. Army Effectively Leverage Leading-Edge Technologies? Are There Rewards and Risks?, with co-author Dr. Sam Tangredi (CAPT, USN–Ret.), U.S. Naval War College Creating a Convergence of Technologies to Defeat the Deadly Fast Inshore Attack Craft Threat Before 2050 Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Meet Warfighter Needs. Designing Unmanned Systems For the Multi-Domain Battle (please access this video via a non-DoD network) … and review the following related content: Artificial Intelligence: An Emerging Game-changer “Own the Night” How does the Army – as part of the Joint force – Build and Employ Teams to Compete, Penetrate, Disintegrate, and Exploit our Adversaries in the Future? Insights from the Robotics and Autonomy Series of Virtual Events Takeaways Learned about the Future of the AI Battlefield Integrating Artificial Intelligence into Military Operations, by Dr. James Mancillas The Convergence: Bringing AI to the Joint Force, and the associated podcast
28 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
38. Worldbuilding with Dr. Malka Older
Dr. Malka Older is a writer, aid worker, and sociologist. Her science-fiction political thriller Infomocracy was named one of the best books of 2016 by Kirkus, Book Riot, and the Washington Post. This is the first novel of the Centenal Cycle trilogy, which also includes Null States (2017) and State Tectonics (2018). The trilogy was a finalist for the Hugo Best Series Award of 2018. She is also the creator of the serial Ninth Step Station and the author of the short story collection …and Other Disasters. Named Senior Fellow for Technology and Risk at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs for 2015, Dr. Older has more than a decade of field experience in humanitarian aid and development. Her doctoral work on the sociology of organizations at The Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) explores the dynamics of post-disaster improvisation in governments. Dr. Older is a part-time Faculty Associate at Arizona State University‘s School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) In today’s podcast, Dr. Older discusses worldbuilding and inspirations drawn from her humanitarian work. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our discussion: In Infomocracy, Dr. Older explores an alternative to our current media environment. Instead of fragmented media environments and the concept of media neutrality, she presents an idealized information management officer – a well-intentioned single source for information. With this comes the realization that even a single actor with good intentions could hold massive influence in society. The inspiration for Infomocracy came from Dr. Older’s disaster relief work while responding to an earthquake for which the United Nations brought in a dedicated information management officer to collate all information and ensure the response team had what was fundamental to completing their work. This curated the idea of centralizing information that was then widely dispersed. Dr. Older began thinking about the role of information in our society and how it is portrayed through media. When thinking about content for science fiction writing, it is important to experience things outside your comfort zone in order to give yourself an idea of the possible, while also taking an introspective look at yourself. Experiencing diverse communities allows you to truly get a different perspective on future possibilities. Some places may vary so much from your “normal” world that they could resemble the past or a possible future. The most effective tool for worldbuilding is being able to effectively observe your surroundings and tune into the way your brain works when everything seems new. Older’s goal is to have readers feel thrown into a story and do a little bit of work to figure out what is going on, why people act in a certain way, and what is important. The contrast between predictions of the future we think of as non-fiction — even if we accept that they’re not necessarily true or correct all the time (e.g., weather forecasts or Fictional Intelligence) — with Science Fiction is important to keep in mind. We need to figure out how these two ways of talking about the future complement each other, so we do not falsely prioritize one over the other. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with CAPT George Galdorisi (USN-Ret.) about leading edge technologies, man-machine teaming, and algorithms of armageddon. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider giving us a rating or review on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you accessed it. This feedback helps us to improve future episodes of The Convergence and allows us to reach a bigger and broader audience — Thank you!
61 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
37. Realer Than Real: Useful Fiction with P.W. Singer and August Cole
Peter Warren Singer is Strategist and Senior Fellow at New America. He has been named by the Smithsonian as one of the nation’s 100 leading innovators, by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues, and by Foreign Policy to their Top 100 Global Thinkers List. Mr. Singer is the author of multiple best-selling, award winning books in both fiction and nonfiction. Described in the Wall Street Journal as “the premier futurist in the national-security environment,” Mr. Singer is considered one of the world’s leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare, with more books on the military professional reading lists than any other author, living or dead. He has consulted for the U.S. Military, Defense Intelligence Agency, and FBI, as well as advised a range of entertainment programs, including for Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, Universal, HBO, Discovery, History Channel, and the video game series Call of Duty.August Cole is an author and futurist exploring the future of conflict through fiction and other forms of storytelling. He is a non-resident fellow at the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marine Corps University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council; he directed the Council’s Art of the Future Project, which explores creative and narrative works for insight into the future of conflict, from its inception in 2014 through 2017. Mr. Cole is a regular speaker to private sector, academic, and U.S. and allied government audiences. He also leads the Strategy team for the Warring with Machines AI ethics project at the Peace Research Institute Oslo.Messrs. Singer and Cole co-authored the best selling Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, a near-future thriller about the next world war. Foreign Policy states “Every Army officer should read it…. we need to imagine what war will look like in the future so that we are prepared to win.” Last year, Messrs. Singer and Cole co-authored Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution — our colleagues at War on the Rocks stated that this novel “will do more for defense experts’ understanding of this brave new world with literature than a thousand non-fiction assessments would have.”In today’s podcast, Messrs. Singer and Cole discuss the power of fictional intelligence; the importance of storytelling, narrative, and verisimilitude in crafting tales of future possibilities that resonate and inform; and the significance of imagination. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our discussion: FicInt, also known as fictional intelligence or ‘useful fiction,’ combines extensive research and futures forecasting with worldbuilding and narrative, one of the oldest forms of communication. The finished product involves an engaging and plausible storyline to introduce readers to novel trends and problems. FicInt has four “rules of the real” that separate it from science fiction: research must be embedded in the story (usually via footnotes); the story must take place in a real-world setting; the story must involve real world people; and the timeline must be realistic. Using these rules, any white paper, report, or executive summary can be distilled into its key themes and drafted into narrative. FicInt is also distinguished from science fiction via its engagement with the policy community. Fictional intelligence strives to react and be useful to the policy community, and thus engages with policy experts before, during, and after its development. This engagement may involve commissioned stories, workshops on how to create FicInt, or briefings on the end product. The goal of FicInt is often to expose and prevent a possible future, rather than predict it. By creating plausible storylines, the security industry can adapt and develop programs and technologies to create an alternate future that prepares for the situations exposed by FicInt. The value of narrative, compared to non-fiction research, can be found in three elements: Understanding: Narrative effectively packages information the way our brains are designed to absorb it, creating lasting messages. Action: By connecting information to our emotions, narrative is more likely to promote action. Connection: People are driven to share narratives, leading the audience of FicInt to become part of its marketing. This virality contributes to the creation of a network of people with increased understanding of potential futures. Establishing FicInt credibility involves connection with target audiences and the real-world people featured in the narratives and responding to their feedback. This process ensures the end story is as accurate and plausible as possible. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with Dr. Malka Older – author of the Centenal Cycle series of science fiction novels – where she’ll discuss world-building, experiential learning, and inspiration from her humanitarian work in the third of our special series of podcasts exploring the power of science fiction, the importance of storytelling and narrative, and the significance of imagination.
33 minutes | May 27, 2021
36. Moonshot: A Sci-Fi Adventure with Ronald D. Moore
“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them, into the impossible.” — Sir Arthur C. Clarke, 20th Century British science fiction writer, futurist, and inventor Mad Scientist is pleased to introduce a new series of The Convergence podcast interviews with writers, creators, and producers who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in envisioning the future in diverse and unique ways! Creative writing and narrative building helps us to explore how emergent technologies and other capabilities could be employed and operationalized. Today’s post highlights key points from our interview with Ronald D. Moore — award winning screenwriter and producer of the several science fiction, fantasy, and alternative history television shows — in the first of our special series of podcasts exploring the power of science fiction, the importance of storytelling, and the significance of imagination Ronald D. Moore is a multiple Emmy and Hugo award-winning screenwriter and producer for Star Trek: The Next Generation; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica (for which he also won a Peabody award), the Outlander historical fantasy series, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, and the For All Mankind streaming series portraying an alternative history featuring an enduring American/Soviet Space Race after the Russians beat us to the Moon. In today’s podcast, Mr. Moore discusses creativity, the power of science fiction in exploring future technologies, the importance of storytelling and narrative, and the significance of imagination in formulating fresh perspectives about future possibilities. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our discussion: Thinking about the future involves both world-building and storytelling. To do this process successfully, futurists must first identify constants and relevant social elements (e.g., religion, government structure, culture) for the desired time period. Then, one can consider key changes in the time period, and think through their second and third order impacts on the society being discussed. By harnessing the powerful process of developing science fiction narratives, the U.S. military can develop and prepare for alternate futures in the operational environment. These narratives can help communicate complex and abstract ideas in concrete ways and provide Army leaders with explicit examples of problems they may encounter in the future. Sharing stories and thinking critically about the future not only allows us to prepare for it, but inspires us to be involved in its creation. Science fiction has inspired generations of scientists and explorers, and created ambition to travel to new worlds. It is important to incentivize this innovative spirit, given that progress is not inevitable. Science fiction and futurist thinking can also help the U.S. military consider ethical implications of technology development. Creating and sharing stories about technology use can help contextualize the impact of research and development on human society. Competition among great powers is inevitable. It is important to recognize the impact that national prestige plays in predicting the actions of our competitors. For instance, the Space Race was an extraterrestrial extension of the Cold War competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, driven largely by each side’s desire to showcase the exceptionalism of their respective political and economic systems for international acclaim. Narrative is a key component of soft power influence, for both domestic and international audiences. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with proclaimed Mad Scientists Peter W. Singer and August Cole — co-authors of the sci-fi techno thrillers Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War and Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution — in the second of our special series of podcasts exploring the power of science fiction, the importance of storytelling and narrative, and the significance of imagination.
26 minutes | May 13, 2021
35. Women Warriors Fighting for the Future with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana (2011), Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield (2015), and The Daughters of Kobani (2021). Additionally, Ms. Lemmon is the Chief Marketing Officer at Rebellion Defense, and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as an expert on their Women and Foreign Policy Program, She also serves in private sector leadership roles in emerging technology and national security firms, Ms. Lemmon is a frequent speaker on national security topics, including at the Aspen Security Forum and TED forums, and has given talks at the U.S. Military Academy, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the National Infantry Museum. In today’s podcast, Ms. Lemmon discusses writing about disruptors, the emergence of female fighters and military leaders, and the future of women on the battlefield. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our discussion: In The Daughters of Kobani, Lemmon details the story of an all-female Kurdish Militia that partnered with the United States to fight ISIS in Syria. Their story demonstrates the evolving nature of women in combat, as role-breakers step forward to lead both women and men in conflict. The successful collaboration between this militia and the U.S. military provides strong justification for the formation of future counterterrorism partnerships. These efforts could include a ground partner force, a light U.S. special operations presence, and U.S. air support. While partnerships with local groups can be challenging, success in Kobani shows significant advantages to such endeavors. As the United States forms these partnerships, it will be critical for the U.S. military to consider and define U.S. responsibilities post-conflict. Partner allegiance to the United States involves significant risk, and thus the United States should be certain to support partner efforts before, during, and after conflicts. The Daughters of Kobani demonstrates the advantages for the inclusion and advancement of women in conflict operations. By harnessing all available talent and integrating women across all levels of the military, the United States can significantly advance U.S. national security interests. Importantly, this effort may involve the dismantling of structures that no longer serve U.S. interests and a reshaping of the conceptualization of power. The establishment and preservation of U.S. values will be essential in order to maintain U.S. leadership internationally. The United States is not competing against other democracies for global influence, and thus will have its policies and behavior criticized on the international stage. Commitment to high democratic standards of inclusion will be critical in maintaining U.S. soft power. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with Ronald D. Moore — screenwriter and producer of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica television series and the For All Mankind streaming series portraying an alternative history of an enduring American/Russian Space Race — in the first of our special series of podcasts exploring the power of science fiction, the importance of storytelling, and the significance of imagination. We’ll be talking to writers, creators, and authors, who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in thinking about the future in unique ways!
38 minutes | Apr 29, 2021
34. Own The Heat: DoD Climate Change Action with Mr. Richard Kidd
Mr. Richard G. Kidd IV, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment & Energy Resilience, provides policy and governance for programs and activities that enable resilience and cyber-secure energy for weapon systems and installations. This includes budgetary, policy, and management oversight of programs related to climate change, compliance with environmental laws, prevention of pollution, management of natural and cultural resources, and cleanup of contaminated sites, as well as energy resilience, risk, and performance. Prior to his current position, Mr. Kidd served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Strategic Integration where he led the strategy development, resource requirements, and overall business transformation processes for the Office within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. He was responsible for developing and monitoring performance metrics for the Army’s installation management community as well as leading a strategic effort to examine options for future Army installations. In today’s podcast, Mr. Kidd addresses threats to the force from climate change, operating conditions in a worsening climate, and how the DoD can be proactive in this existential fight. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our discussion: Climate change presents an inevitable threat to world peace, economic prosperity, and capital investment. It is likely to impact the U.S. military in three major ways: Increased Operational Requirements: Climate change will overwhelm the governing capacity of weak states, increasing conflict and extremism abroad and subsequently increasing foreign threats. Domestically, demand for the Army National Guard, the Corps of Engineers, and civil authorities will increase in responding to and preventing damage from severe weather. Increased Vulnerability of Installations: Prevalence and intensity of floods, erosion, drought, fires, wind shear, and sea level rise will grow as a result of climate change, threatening military installations. Degradation of Performance: Performance parameters of both people and equipment will be challenged as they are forced to operate in extreme temperatures. Keeping Soldiers alive in an increasingly hostile climate will challenge the U.S. Army. U.S. adversaries will craft strategic narratives to criticize U.S. action, or inaction, on climate change. China has heralded, and indeed, ‘weaponized’ its own prioritization of climate change policy and technology development, highlighting its actions in contrast to previous U.S. failures to engage in the Paris Accords. Despite this element of competition, the United States should cooperate with China on climate change policy, given the two nations’ significant impact on the environment. Through a series of executive orders, and specifically via EO14008, the Biden administration has established climate change as a priority, putting the climate crisis at the center of U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security. Policies such as setting a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require the DoD to plan to reduce emissions and build climate awareness into every level of the Joint force. Finding innovative solutions to address legacy weapons systems’ emissions will be an on-going challenge. Creating solutions by leveraging experts and relevant data will be essential to DoD’s success in addressing this challenge. In order to manage the existential threat posed by climate change, the U.S. Army and DoD must prepare strategies for both adaptation and mitigation. Adapting to climate change will focus on ‘managing the unavoidable’ aspects of climate change, such as building sea walls, developing new land use patterns, and moving vulnerable power lines underground. On the other hand, mitigating climate change will focus on ‘avoiding the unmanageable’ by reducing current greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation and mitigation strategies can overlap. The development of cyber-secure micro grids with on-site power generation can protect against a range of threats, whether from adversarial cyber-attacks or extreme weather events, enhancing overall installation resiliency, while reducing carbon emissions. Short term solutions will focus on increased efficiencies, while long term solutions will dramatically reduce fuel consumption via promising new technologies and innovation. These include: incorporation of winglets on fixed wing aircraft, hybridization of vehicles, on-site solar power generation, super efficient solar cell technologies capable of beaming power from point-to-point, and small modular nuclear reactors — “You can’t be concerned about climate change and be opposed to nuclear power.” The U.S. military should prioritize ways to ‘own the heat,’ mirroring former initiatives to develop advanced night vision technology. Technology development in this arena will involve creating tactical cooling systems, increasing vehicle performance, developing individual Soldier cooling solutions, and increasing their medical monitoring. Advanced technology for operating in extreme temperatures could provide the United States with a strategic advantage in conflict. Emphasizing DoD climate awareness and efforts to mitigate military environmental impacts will help the Army recruit the next generation of Soldiers, who are increasingly impacted by climate change and interested in climate solutions. Conversely, "If we as a military are not addressing climate change, if we're not serious about this, we're going to lose appeal to many future Soldiers... They're going to say, 'If the military is not onboard with climate change, I don't want to serve.'" Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring an interview with bestselling author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, discussing writing about disruptors, the emergence of female fighters and military leaders, and the future of women on the battlefield.
26 minutes | Apr 15, 2021
33. Going on the Offensive in the Fight for the Future with Hon. James "Hondo" Geurts and Dr. Zachary Davis
James F. “Hondo” Geurts was designated as performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy, effective February 4, 2021. In this position, he serves as the deputy and principal assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, as well as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Management Officer for the Department of the Navy. Additionally, he oversees intelligence activities, intelligence-related activities, special access programs, critical infrastructure, and sensitive activities within the department. Secretary Geurts previously served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development & Acquisition (ASN (RD&A)), from December 2017 to January 2021, and as the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Acquisition Executive, at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Florida, where he was responsible for all special operations forces acquisition, technology and logistics. He has over 30 years of extensive Joint acquisition experience and served in all levels of acquisition leadership positions including Acquisition Executive, Program Executive Officer, and Program Manager of Major Defense Acquisition Programs. Secretary Geurts penned the Foreword to Strategic Latency Unleashed: The Role of Technology in a Revisionist Global Order and the Implications for Special Operations Force. Dr. Zachary S. Davis is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a research professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he teaches courses on counterproliferation. He has broad experience in intelligence and national security policy and has held senior positions in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government. Dr. Davis began his career at the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress and has served with the State Department, congressional committees, and the National Security Council. Dr. Davis was group leader for proliferation networks in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Z Program and in 2007 was senior advisor at the National Counterproliferation Center in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He leads the project addressing the national security implications of advanced technologies, focusing on special operations forces; authored the Introduction to Strategic Latency Unleashed: The Role of Technology in a Revisionist Global Order and the Implications for Special Operations Force; and co-edited said document. In today’s podcast, the Undersecretary of the Navy James F. “Hondo” Geurts and Dr. Zachary S. Davis discuss Strategic Latency Unleashed: The Role of Technology in a Revisionist Global Order and the Implications for Special Operations Force and how to think radically about the future, capitalize on talent, and unleash technological convergences to out-compete and defeat our adversaries. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with them: The U.S. Army should identify emerging technologies with “strategic latency,” or technologies that will change the balance of power once fully developed and deployed. While many technologies could fit this description alone (i.e., biotechnology, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, cyber), convergences could also emerge between them that multiply their impact. Novel applications of technology by creative operators will amplify the disruption caused by technology with strategic latency. Thus, identifying operators with diverse experiences and teaming them with technologists will enable better technology development, and will be essential to solving complex security problems. Attracting, connecting, and leveraging diverse perspectives will be critical to successful and rapid technological development. Including diversity in gender, race, age, skills, and networks will be imperative. Creating flexible platforms where these perspectives can engage safely and creatively will be essential to solving non-linear problems. The United States’ advantage lies in its people’s diversity and their ability to innovate. Creating strategic relationships among U.S. talent before they are needed will facilitate the development of multiple possible solutions for each technological problem encountered. The U.S. Army needs to adopt an abundance mindset. While budgetary constraints are present and persistent, the United States has an abundance of disruptive thinkers both inside and outside of the security sphere that can be accessed and leveraged to solve complex problems. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with proclaimed Mad Scientist Mr. Richard G. Kidd IV, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience at United States Department of Defense, addressing the climate change resiliency challenges and opportunities facing the DoD, and the U.S. Army in particular.
61 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
32. Top Attack: Lessons Learned from the 2nd Nagorno-Karabakh War
COL John Antal served 30 years in the Army and has commanded combat units from platoon through regiment and served on division, corps, and multinational staffs. He also served at the National Training Center and has extensive experience in Korea, serving multiple tours on the DMZ. After retiring from the Army, COL Antal was selected by Microsoft Games Studio to help develop an interactive entertainment company in Texas. He then became the Executive Director for Gearbox Software with studios in Texas and Canada. He led teams to develop multiple AAA+ video games and is an innovator in the interactive gaming and learning industry. As an author, COL Antal has published 16 books and hundreds of magazine articles. He has served as Editor of the Armchair General magazine, and appeared on TV and the radio to discuss leadership, historical, and national security issues. He is a freelance correspondent for Euro-based Military Technology (Mönch Publishing Group) and Mittler Report Verlag. In today’s podcast, COL Antal discusses the implications of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, the psychological effects of drone warfare, and the future of maneuver. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with him: U.S. success in future conflicts depends on our ability to analyze the trends found in conflicts today. By examining the Second Nagorno-Karabakh war, the United States can gain valuable insights on the future of warfare, and better respond to threats in future conflicts. Ten lessons learned from the Second Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are: Know Yourself, Know your Enemies. The Azeris had reviewed the underlying causes of their previous defeat at hands of the Armenian armed forces, meticulously studied their current capabilities, and adapted/incorporated new ways of warfare, enabling them to decisively win this conflict in 44 days. Better equipment, organization, training, preparation, and leadership are key. Set the Conditions for Success before you Fight. The Azeris had cultivated strategic relationships with both Turkey and Israel — providing them with access to sophisticated ISR and strike UAS and loitering munitions. They also induced hesitation with Armenia’s sponsor, Russia, causing them to equivocate whether the defense of the Nagorno-Karabakh region fell within the scope of the Armenian-Russian mutual defense agreement. Strike First. The innovative use of obsolete, remotely piloted air assets to probe and force Armenian air defense radars to “light up” enabled the Azeris to then fix, target, and destroy the Armenian layered air defenses using precision weapons, granting them first mover advantage. Dominate across all Domains. While the Maritime domain did not factor significantly in this conflict (Nagorno-Karabakh being landlocked), the Azeris dominated all other domains, successfully synchronizing actions across the Air, Land, Cyber, and even the Space domains — with their Turkish-supplied Bayraktar TB2 ISR and strike UAS leveraging Turkish satellites for communications links. The Battlefield is Becoming Increasingly Transparent. Despite camouflage, Armenian command posts and air defense assets were easily targeted and destroyed. If you are sensed, you are targeted; and if targeted, you are destroyed or rendered inop. Sensors are more important than shooters, enabling shooters to now execute with greater precision than ever before. High definition full motion real-time videos from UAS and loitering munitions not only allowed the Azeris to target and destroy Armenian systems and personnel, but provided intelligence, battle damage assessment, and video content used to win the information war. There is nowhere to hide. Masking is Essential to Survive in the Future Battlespace. Masking is a full spectrum effort engaging all active and passive measures to make systems and personnel hard to target. Camouflage is no longer enough. We must define, study, and promote the concept of masking as a key element of war — possibly elevating it as a separate principle of war. Our mantra must be “Mask or Die.” Top Attack is Becoming the Decisive Method of War. Azeris’ UAVs and loitering munitions provided them with a relatively inexpensive substitute for conventional air power. Any state (or non-state actor) with the resources to purchase top attack systems on the global market has the potential to achieve air supremacy. Long Range Precision Fires will Dominate Future Fights. Azeris use of both dumb and smart artillery fires, in conjunction with UAS and brilliant loitering munitions, enabled them to win decisively in just 44 days. There was no decisive close combat fight. We need to develop our own standoff strike capabilities, while simultaneously denying our adversaries the use of theirs. Active Protection Systems and Air Defense. Active defense systems are needed to survive in the new battlespace. Armenian ground forces had about seven seconds to react to incoming strikes by UAS and loitering munitions, resulting in devastating crises in their Soldiers’ morale and will to fight. Layered, multi-capable, air defense against top attack munitions, missiles, aircraft, and low-speed and high-speed threats, is vital. We need an “Iron Dome-like” top attack protection capability for our combat, command and control, combat support, and combat service support elements. Warfare is Accelerated. Roboticization and automation mean battles will be increasingly executed faster than ever before. This trend will turn the existing “kill chain” into a “kill web,” where artificial intelligence (AI) will prioritize and synchronize weapons engaging targets across multiple domains. This synchronization will be AI-led, with humans-in or on-the-loop, then executed with humans-out-of-the-loop at hyperspeed. The United States should remain prepared to deter or fight and win decisively future conflicts by leveraging its spending power to lead in technology development. While the U.S. Army’s greatest asset remains its people, developing technologies to help Soldiers win should remain a priority. Technology development has allowed an increased number of actors to engage in warfare through the use of inexpensive drones. In the future, mercenary forces may serve as “drones for hire,” further expanding access to this disruptive technology. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring our interview with the Undersecretary of the Navy, the Honorable James “Hondo” Geurts and Dr. Zachary Davis, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, discussing how to think radically about the future, capitalize on talent, and unleash technological convergences to out-compete our adversaries, and when necessary, defeat them decisively in conflict, on 15 April 2021.
32 minutes | Mar 18, 2021
31. The Metaverse: Blurring Reality and Digital Lives with Cathy Hackl
Cathy Hackl is a leading tech futurist and globally recognized business leader specializing in AR, VR, and spatial computing. Ms. Hackl hosts the Future Insiders podcast and has been designated as one of LinkedIn’s Top Tech Voices. She founded and leads the Futures Intelligence Group, a futures research and consulting firm that works with clients in tech, fashion, media, government, and defense implementing innovation strategies, strategic foresight, and emerging technologies. BigThink named Cathy “one of the top 10 most influential women in tech in 2020” and she has been called the CEO’s business guide to the metaverse. She was included in the 2021 prestigious Thinkers50 Radar list of the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future of how organizations are managed and led. In today’s podcast, Ms. Hackl discusses forecasting, the metaverse, and women in tech. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with her: The world is approaching a pivotal moment for VR/AR/MR. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated adoption of these technologies, as they allow for an elevated sense of presence in a distanced physical world. AR/VR technologies have extremely diverse applications, from filters on social media to the treatment of PTSD and Alzheimer’s disease. Novel applications for these technologies are in constant development, particularly as wearables like “smart glasses” proliferate in the commercial sphere. Although AR/VR are frequently associated with altered visuals, other senses are increasingly incorporated into these platforms. Currently in development is AR that would allow users to focus on a single conversation amidst significant background noise. As the metaverse, a digital copy of the world available in real time, is developed, the way we engage with the physical world will change. Information available to VR/AR users in various “layers” could be manipulated or controlled by actors capable of altering the available data. In order to recruit future generations to technology development, it will be essential to “meet them where they are.” By identifying online platforms, interests, and values of youth, recruiters will be able to present opportunities to create meaningful change in an attractive manner. The federal government’s focus on artificial intelligence has de-prioritized AR/VR. However, AR/VR are innately American technologies, and increased focus on their development could allow the United States to maintain its current advantage in the field. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of “The Convergence,” featuring an interview with COL John Antal (USA-Ret.) discussing the implications for future conflict from the Second Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, the psychological effects of drone warfare, and the future of maneuver, on 1 April 2021.
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