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Blog & Podcast

Ep 27: China's Digital Currency - A Conversation with Yaya Fanusie

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The Chinese are leading the effort to implement a digital currency. Starting first within China and then expanding to other nation’s around the globe, the People’s Bank of China, or PBOC, is developing a form of digital currency that enables controlled anonymity - privacy between parties involved in a transaction but full visibility of the transaction details by the Chinese state, in real time, of any and all transactions employing this digital currency system.

My guest for today’s podcast is Mr. Yaya Fanusie, 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.

Mr. Fanusie explains how this new digital currency system operates, the risks and benefits of this system to both the Chinese state and the commercial participants, and some issues that the US and its western allies need to bear in mind as this system begins to expand around the globe.

You can download a copy of Mr. Fanusie's paper here:

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.

Ep 22: Understanding China's Threat to the United States

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In 1989 the free world rejoiced as the Berlin Wall was torn down. Cheers went up again as the United States’ cold war adversary, the Soviet Union, collapsed in 1992. Some historians speculated that we had come to the end of history, that democracy and freedom, as articulated by America’s founders, would expand around the globe.

But it was not to be.

Starting with Deng Tse Peng’s pivot to state capitalism in 1979, the rush to outsource manufacturing to China in the 1990s, and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, the world has watched in amazement as China has risen economically to the point of eclipsing the United States as the world’s largest economy.

But this extraordinary economic achievement has not been accompanied by a hoped for pivot to greater freedom for the Chinese people or China’s trading partners. On the contrary, the ruling Chinese Communist Party has cemented its authoritarian control over the Chinese people, implemented frightening Orwellian high tech surveillance, and is expanding its authoritarian values and oppression through its trillion dollar Belt Road Initiative, which now reaches over 70 countries, includes two-thirds of the world’s population, and one third of its economic output.

My guest today is Col. Sean O’Brien, a professor and department head at the National Defense University and a career intelligence officer with the US Air Force. Col. O’Brien offers his personal assessment of the threats China’s poses the United States and its allies as well as his views of opportunities companies have to push back against this totalitarian threat.

Ep 21: Innovation Best Practices for the Military-Part Two

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Innovation is the heartbeat of advancement in many areas of life, including commercial technology for defense. In this second episode of our discussion with Mike Courtney, a technologist and futurist, we discuss how innovation begins . . . and how it proceeds. Mike talks about “great leaps” as well as “incremental steps.” He explains why one approach may be more appropriate than the other.

To provide a context for this dynamic, we use the evolution of aerial bombardment to illustrate both incremental innovation and great leaps of innovation that have undergirded the changes in this method of war fighting.

We discuss what kind of perspective is needed to be an innovator and our examples include Leonardo DaVinci and Isaac Newton, two men whose backgrounds and range of expertise may surprise you.

Emails: and

Ep 20: Innovation Best Practices for the Military-Part One

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In this first part of a two part series, I talk with noted technologist and futurist, Mike Courtney, about innovation. We discuss what it takes for individuals or organizations to succeed at innovating, things that stand in the way of best practices, and lessons that can be learned from past innovation failures and successes.

Because our audience is focused on military innovation and high technology, our discussion ranges widely: from the Maginot Line and Noorden bombsight, to the iPhone and ethical concerns about some classes of innovation.

As someone who guides organizations in the process of imagining and innovating their future, Mike offers concrete advice to both commercial companies and the military on how to innovate successfully as well as suggestions on pitfalls to avoid.


Ep 19: AgTech and Battlefield Situational Awareness

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The Pentagon’s drive to engage the commercial sector in developing dual use technology involves more than a search for technical innovation; it requires finding those firms whose commercial business case overlaps with the Pentagon’s military use case.

This is important because sustaining a dual use solution requires that the commercial firm generate revenue and profit from the private sector and not just the government.

In this podcast, I discuss the application of agricultural technology (agtech), advanced, intelligent ground sensors, and commercial LEO satellite networks as being a potential solution for the Pentagon’s need for low cost, efficient, and accurate situational awareness in remote places around the globe.

My guest, Mr. Peter DeNagy, is a co-founder of IoT America, an agtech startup, and a subject matter expert on terrestrial and space-based communications.


Ep 18: Securing 5G Networks-Necessary and Challenging

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How do we secure 5G networks?

Defense Department officials announced in October 2020 the award of $600 million in contracts to 15 prime contractors to perform testing and evaluation of 5G technologies at five military installations across the United States.

Michael Kratsios, the acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering stated that “5G networks - and the technologies that will be built upon them — are an integral component of the National Defense Strategy. Kratsios went on to say that “we at DoD are committed to the advancement of this critical emerging technology to improve the lethality and modernization of our force.”

While 5G does promise great advances that can be of use to the US military, our guest today, Pete DeNagy, discusses some of the risks associated with this new communications standard. A particular focus are the risks outlined in the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency report titled, “CISA 5G Strategy.”

Email: and

Original music by Josh Goode Music:

Ep 17: LyteLoop-A Cloud Above the Clouds - Data Storage in Space

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

But doing that requires a new level of coordination and integration of both manned and unmanned systems. And a way to connect “sensors to shooters.”

In today’s episode, we talk with Ohad Harlev, co-founder and CEO of LyteLoop, a firm based in New York, and a recent participant in the Air Force Space Command’s Catalyst Accelerator. Ohad and his team have been working for four years to create the first space-based data center using a set of patentable techniques to store information on lasers connected to a constellation of low earth orbit satellites.

LyteLoop’s innovation, a space-based data center or a “cloud above the clouds,” could be a key part of helping Dr. William Roper’s vision of accessing data anywhere become a reality.

Email addresses:

Mark Goode:
Ohad Harlev:

Original music composed by Josh Goode Music:

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

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The mission of the United States Air Force is to
fly, fight and 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: and


Original music by Josh Goode Music:

Ep 15: 5G is a Three Band Network

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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

The podcast show music was composed, arranged, and performed by (

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

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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: and

Original music by Josh Goode Music:

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

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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: and

Original music by Josh Goode Music. Email:

Ep 11: How Does DoD Value Commercial Innovation?

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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: and

Ep 10: The Challenge of Defense Accounting

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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 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: and

Ep 9: Astrapi-An AFWERX Success Story

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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.


Ep 5: David Shaw-An Entrepreneur's Journey

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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

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

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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

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

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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)

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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)

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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.
March 2021
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