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Blog & Podcast

Ep 26: Accelerating Defense Innovation (KesselRun Discussion)

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Approximately five years ago, the Department of Defense began a new effort to collaborate with non-traditional defense suppliers as a means of accelerating its pace of innovation. The clear and present danger that is driving this strategy is the unprecedented rise of China’s economy and it’s growing military strength.

In today’s episode, my guest, Col. Sean O’Brien, a professor and department head at the National Defense University, explains some of the ways DoD is modifying its acquisition and development efforts in order to accelerate systems development as well as leverage the innovation of non-traditional commercial suppliers that normally do not do business with DoD. In particular, Col. O’Brien discusses the origins and success of the Air Force’s KesselRun project.

Ep 25: Digital Currency, Blockchain, and China

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In 2013 China announced the Belt Road Initiative, a $1 trillion project to link together countries and economies to form a Chinese-centric economic ecosystem. These linkages include telecommunications systems, physical roads and bridges, and a financial system built around a digital currency that also employs elements of blockchain. To date, over 60 countries accounting for two-thirds of the world’s population have signed on to this project.

In this podcast, we have two subject matter experts discuss what these financial developments mean and could portend for the US. Our first contributor, Mr. Yaya Fanusie, is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). His research focuses on the national security implications of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

Our second guest, Dr. Victoria Adams, is the Chief Innovation Officer at the Value Technology Foundation, and founder of ConsenSys, the largest pure play Ethereum blockchain firm in the world.

Ep 24: MITRE Government Contracting Expert Brings Clarity to DoD Contracts

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As the US military ramps up its efforts to collaborate with commercial, non-traditional suppliers of innovative products and services, these commercial firms are often puzzled and put off by the complexity and the bureaucratic maze involved in securing a government contract.

In today’s episode, I interview Lorna Tedder, an agile acquisition expert for MITRE, and a former contracting officer for the US Air Force. Lorna is a change agent who throughout her distinguished career has worked to remove barriers to efficient contracting, enabling her government clients to get the best solutions as quickly as possible.

But Lorna also sees very clearly the obstacles and challenges that remain . . . and those that introduce unnecessary friction to today’s effort to collaborate with commercial suppliers.

With refreshing honesty and clarity, Lorna decodes some of the most important contract issues that any small business should understand when considering working for the US government. She explains in plain English what key terms and conditions mean and offers practical guidance on how firms should proceed when working with a government contracting officer.

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Ep 23: Harness Commercial Autonomous Navigation for Military Uses

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The DoD and the Trusted Capital Marketplace have identified autonomous systems as one of the 27 areas in which commercial technology could be leveraged for military applications.

In my discussion with Pete DeNagy, a subject matter expert on both autonomous systems and 5G, we tackle this challenge head on. After I define the somewhat unique characteristics of the military use case for autonomous systems (and the unique complexities), Pete explains how the commercial world is implementing autonomous vehicles . . . and be prepared; it’s likely different than you think . . . at least it was to me.

Rather than develop navigation systems that can inherently mimic the cognitive and control capabilities of a human driver, automotive manufacturers (and government agencies) are implementing communications-centric autonomous navigation systems, which leverage 5G, low latency, high bandwidth, and other properties as substitutes for the compute intensive (and algorithmically complex) alternative of mimicking human drivers.

Will this work in the battlefield? That’s where Pete illustrates how it can . . . what the key drivers are, what the central innovations that are required, and the rather short timeline that is needed to achieve this.
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