Aspen RapidWeaver 8 Blog Style
CommerceBasix logo alt
  • 2020 | CommerceBasix Contact Us 0

Blog & Podcast

Ep 16: AFWERX-A Start-Up Story (featuring Joey Aurora)

powered by Sounder


The mission of the United States Air Force is to
fly, fight and win...in air, space and cyberspace.

Achieving that mission means, among other things, that the pace of innovation must accelerate and do so quickly.

Three yeas ago, the Air Force stood up AFWERX, a new program designed to integrate several innovation initiatives already underway. One of the co-founders of that first team, Joey Arora, is my guest today.

Joey Arora explains his journey into the Air Force and then the creation of AFWERX. Joey articulates why AFWERX’s mission is so critical and why Air Force leadership and airmen are working hard to make this program a success.

Email:
mark@commercebasix.com and joseph.arora@gmail.com

AFWERX: https://www.afwerx.af.mil

Original music by Josh Goode Music: joshgoode1@mac.com

Ep 15: 5G is a Three Band Network

powered by Sounder


For at least two years, wireless carriers have been promoting the next generation of wireless service known as 5G. This fifth generation of technology, we are told, holds great promise.

But unlike earlier instantiations of wireless standards, such as 3G or 4G, 5G is more complex and nuanced. Understanding these details is important to grasp the existing and new use cases for this latest communications standard.

Hi, I’m Mark Goode, host of “Commercial Innovation for Defense,” a podcast dedicated to discussing some of the challenges faced by the US military and potential commercial solutions to address those challenges.

My guest on this episode is Pete DeNagy, a pioneer in wireless communications technology and a 5G and WiFi subject matter expert. In this first of five episodes, Pete explains one of the fundamental distinctions of 5G, a distinction that if not understood, can lead to a great deal of confusion.

Unlike previous wireless standards, 5G services are offered in three distinct bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. And the unique characteristics of each band directly impacts the kind of services that an operator can offer and the use cases that can be addressed.

Pete can be reached at pdenagy@acommence.com

The podcast show music was composed, arranged, and performed by joshgoode1@mac.com (joshgoode.com)

Ep 13: Using Blockchain to Ensure Battle Network Integrity-Part 2 of 2

powered by Sounder


In our previous episode, the first part of my conversation with Michael Lewellen, we discussed the basics of blockchain and how it could be used to improve the integrity of battlefield networks.

In this episode, I put Michael to the test. As he entered the studio for this recording, I handed him a 1.5 page story that was published a few months ago. It announced a second phase AFWERX SBIR award to a startup based in North Carolina named Fluree. Based solely on the limited information in the news article, I asked Michael to speculate on what AFWERX (and the Air Force) might be funding Fluree to develop. Michael had never heard of Fluree nor did he do any research during the show prior to this segment.

I did this for two reasons. First, I was interested in what he might posit as within the realm of the possible given his subject matter expertise in blockchain. Second, I wanted to demonstrate - without any coaching or preparation - what can happen if a commercial developer is presented a
military use case in terms they can understand. America has many bright and capable commercial innovators. But if the needs of the military aren’t explained in ways that are understandable to the commercial sector, few commercial firms will respond to the invitations to innovate for the military.

Email:
mark@commercebasix.com and michael@tarski.tech

Original music by Josh Goode Music: joshgoode1@mac.com

Ep 12: Using Blockchain to Ensure Battle Network Integrity-Part 1 of 2

powered by Sounder


This is the first episode taken from my conversation with Michael Lewellen, a subject matter expert on blockchain technology. Michael is the president of Tarski Technologies, and a guest lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas.

The key driver of the Pentagon’s many efforts to harness commercial innovation for its military systems is the growing threat from China. Christian Brose, a former senior staff member of the Senate Arms Services Committee, writes in his book “The Kill Chain,” that “China has devised strategies not to beat America at its own game but to play a different game—to win by denying the US military the opportunity to project power, fight in its traditional ways, and achieve its goals. China has rapidly developed arsenals of advanced weapons intended to break apart US battle networks, destroy the US military’s traditional platforms, and shatter its ability to close the kill chain. ”

A battle network can be broken apart in many ways. But one of the more effective and nefarious methods is to exploit weaknesses relating to the identity of the participants in the network so that a bad actor can masquerade as a good actor. One technique for attenuating this class of attack is to integrate blockchain technology within the battle network.

In this first episode of a two episode series, Michael and I discuss what blockchain is, some of its commercial use cases, and its potential value for ensuring the integrity of battlefield communications.

In the second episode, we speculate on how the Air Force may be planning on using blockchain technology, based on the recent announcement of a SBIR contract in June of 2020.

Participant emails: mark@commercebasix.com and michael@tarski.tech

Original music by Josh Goode Music. Email: joshgoode1@mac.com

Ep 11: How Does DoD Value Commercial Innovation?

powered by Sounder


This is the second episode taken from my conversation with Eric Lofgren.

In our first episode, Eric and I discussed the challenge of how DoD counts costs, a system that is based on an industrial view of the defense industry and one that dates back to the second world war. His conclusion
and a view that I share is that DoD’s cost accounting system is outdated and does a poor job of providing guidance to the department’s decision makers as well as members of Congress.

Yet, as the department accelerates its efforts to woo commercial innovators to bring their best ideas to the military, that begs this important question:
how will the department value these innovations? Will it be based on a “works for hire,” “time and materials” accounting method as used by the defense prime contractors? If so, many commercial firms won’t engage with DoD. For them, value is determined by a broader market and is imputed based on a variety of factors, many of which are unrelated to the underlying cost of goods sold - or services rendered.

You can listen to the full episode here on our show, Commercial Innovation for Defense, on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

Email:
mark@commercebasix.com and Lofgren.e.m@gmail.com

Ep 10: The Challenge of Defense Accounting

powered by Sounder


This is the first episode of a conversation I had with Eric Lofgren. If you aren’t familiar with Eric, you may have heard of his blog https://acquisitiontalk.com or his podcast “Acquisition Talk with Eric Lofgren.” Eric is a subject matter expert on defense cost accounting and budgeting.

Why does this cost accounting and budgeting matter? Peter Drucker, a legendary management consultant, observed that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” DoD’s cost accounting system and budgeting process were developed immediately after WW II and reflect the experience of that time, which was principally industrial and the biggest weapons’ systems were platforms.

But today, weapons are rapidly morphing into systems that bear far more resemblance to a high technology system - with both hardware and software - and the issue of accounting for the costs of these systems bears little resemblance to the current method of DoD cost accounting and budgeting. There are at least two implications to this: 1) how does the department budget for systems whose cost structure doesn’t resemble systems they are used to developing? 2) how does the department value commercial innovation that it seeks as an accelerant to both innovation and lethality?

You can listen to the full episode here or at our show, Commercial Innovation for Defense, on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

Email:
mark@commercebasix.com and Lofgren.e.m@gmail.com

Ep 9: Astrapi-An AFWERX Success Story

powered by Sounder


In this fourth and final episode of our discussion with David Shaw, he tells the story of how the Astrapi team discovered AFWERX, competed for a Phase 1 SBIR, and won.

This concluding episode provides the perfect capstone to the rollercoaster ride most entrepreneurs ride, particularly as they pursue opportunities with the Department of Defense.

Email: dshaw@astrapi-corp.com

Ep 5: David Shaw-An Entrepreneur's Journey

powered by Sounder


In today’s episode, we talk with David Shaw, an entrepreneur and co-founder of a firm that has developed what many believe are innovations that will change in fundamental and substantial ways both the bandwidth and the efficiency of wireless communications.

In this first part of our multi-episode interview, David takes us through his interesting career journey from an entry level sales executive into entrepreneurship. David, who is in his mid-sixties, is a sterling example of the truism that entrepreneurs are made and not born.

You can listen to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

Email: David Shaw-dshaw@astrapi-corp.com

Ep 4: 5G, the US, and the Chinese

powered by Sounder


In today's episode, we talk with Peter DeNagy, a subject matter expert in telecommunications, a thought leader in the area of 5G (and particularly in IoT applications), an entrepreneur, and a consultant to major organizations. Pete's career in telecom spans nearly four decades.

Pete explains in layman's terms what 5G is, the changes it will bring to business, commercial, and military communications, and the particular challenges the US faces in catching up to the lead the Chinese have developed in 5G.

Pete can be reached at pdenagy@acommence.com

Ep. 3: Artificial Intelligence and the US Military (Part 3 of 3)

powered by Sounder


In this third and final part of our discussion with Stephen Ellis, we discuss both the AI start up market space as well as the activities of large established enterprises such as Microsoft. We then pivot to a discussion of China’s innovations in AI, why they are making such advances, and some strategies for how the US military could accelerate the integration of American commercial AI into its systems.

Ep. 2: Artificial Intelligence and the US Military (Part 2 of 3)

powered by Sounder


In this second part of our discussion with Stephen Ellis, we discuss Lockheed Martin’s collaboration with a commercial supplier to develop specialized hardware (based on gaming hardware) to run an AI exoskeleton, the future of AI development including biomimetics, the commercial use cases driving this innovation, and an unlikely leading edge AI innovator: Microsoft’s AgTech group.

Ep. 1: Artificial Intelligence and the US Military (Part 1 of 3)

powered by Sounder


In today’s episode, the first in a three part series, Mark has a discussion with Stephen Ellis, an AI subject matter expert. We talk about AI, the current and developing market for this technology, and its potential applications to defense systems.
November 2020
October 2020
October 2019