The Convergence - An Army Mad Scientist Podcast

The Convergence is an Army Mad Scientist podcast with a distinct focus on divergent viewpoints, a c ... more

Latest Episodes

57

May 19, 2022 00:26:46
57. The Most Consequential Adversaries with GEN Charles A. Flynn

57. The Most Consequential Adversaries with GEN Charles A. Flynn

Gen. Flynn is a native of Middletown, Rhode Island and Distinguished Military Graduate from the University of Rhode Island with a BS in Business Management. General Flynn is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses at Fort Benning, GA. He holds two master’s degrees, one in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI, and one in Joint Campaign Planning and Strategy from the National Defense University.   In today’s interview, Gen. Flynn discusses the unique pacing threat posed by China, building interoperability with partner nations, and the future of multi-domain operations in INDOPACOM.  The following bullet points highlight some of the key insights from our interview: - While it is often argued that future conflicts in the Pacific will be fought in the air and at sea, the U.S. Army remains critical in securing our regional interests. The Army continues to build relationships with partners on land, and will likely be the only Service not hindered by China’s Anti-Access /Area Denial (A2/AD) system, which is not designed to find, fix, and destroy land forces. As a result, land power will serve as a counterweight to Chinese aspirations both regionally and globally.   - The Army’s Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC) integrates live, virtual, and constructive environments, enabling our forces and partners to conduct training via a mobile, regional training center in the Pacific’s Arctic, Jungle, and Archipelago conditions and environments. JPMRC enables the Army to maintain a constant presence in the region, train, and build readiness with our allies and partners.    - While training with technology in the region of operation is important, relationships matter.  Building strong relationships between individuals, organizations, and countries is vital for deterrence ...

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56

May 05, 2022 00:38:57
56. The Secret Sauce of America's Army with GEN Paul E. Funk II

56. The Secret Sauce of America's Army with GEN Paul E. Funk II

Gen. Paul E. Funk II, CG, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. (U.S. Army photo) General Paul E. Funk II assumed duties as the 17th Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), on June 21, 2019. As TRADOC commander, Gen. Funk is responsible for 32 Army schools organized under 10 Centers of Excellence that recruit, train, and educate more than 750,000 Soldiers and service members annually.  Gen. Funk was born at Fort Hood and graduated from Fort Knox High School. He was commissioned an Armor Officer through ROTC upon graduation from Montana State University.  Gen. Funk has commanded at every level, Company through Corps; his combat and operational experience includes six deployments in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve. Gen. Funk holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications, from Montana State University, and a Master of Science degree in administration, from Central Michigan University. He is a graduate of the Armor Basic Officer Leaders and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff College, and completed his Senior Service College as a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Technology, University of Texas at Austin.  In today’s interview,  Gen. Funk addresses how the Army is modernizing doctrine given the Operational Environment, what are the challenges facing our all-volunteer force, what the Army can observe and learn from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and how it is adapting to the changing character of warfare.  The following bullet points highlight some of the key insights from our interview: The all-volunteer force is at risk.Demographic trends show that the population of individuals qualified for recruitment is diminishing. Finding the “Secret Sauce” that motivates people to serve ...

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55

April 21, 2022 00:43:53
55. Going Boldly: Military Thinking withScience Fiction

55. Going Boldly: Military Thinking withScience Fiction

To Boldy Go, edited by COL Jonathan Klug and Steven Leonard, and published by Casemate Publishers in 2021, is subtitled “Leadership, Strategy, and Conflict in the 21st Century and Beyond.” Army Mad Scientist’s The Convergence podcasters Luke Shabro and Matthew Santaspirt explore how science fiction can inform the Army about the Operational Environment and the changing character of warfare with the books co-editors and contributors:COL Jonathan Klug is a U.S. Army Strategist serving as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Strategy, Planning, and Operations at the U.S. Army War College. Commissioned as an Armor officer, he served in Haiti, Bosnia, South Korea, Egypt, and Iraq.  His strategy assignments included writing U.S. Army, U.S. Joint, and NATO Joint counter-insurgency doctrine; teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy; serving as V Corps Deputy Plans and Strategy Officer; and strategic planning in the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, and Operation Resolute Support Headquarters. He holds degrees from the U.S. Military Academy, Louisiana State University, and the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies.  He is a PhD candidate in Military and Naval History at the University of New Brunswick.  COL Klug co-edited To Boldly Go and co-authored “Yours is the Superior” with Steven Leonard (below), and contributed “You Rebel Scum!” and “To Live and Die at My Command.” Steven Leonard is an award-winning faculty member at the University of Kansas, where he chairs graduate programs in Organizational Leadership and Supply Chain Management. As a former military strategist and the creative force behind the defense microblog Doctrine Man, he is a career writer and speaker with a passion for developing and mentoring the next generation of thought leaders.  ...

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54

April 07, 2022 00:56:01
54. Crossing the Valley of Death for Innovation with Trish Martinelli and David Schiff

54. Crossing the Valley of Death for Innovation with Trish Martinelli and David Schiff

National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) is a problem-solving network in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that adapts to the emerging needs of those who serve in the defense of our national security. NSIN is dedicated to the work of bringing together defense, academic, and entrepreneurial innovators to solve national security problems in new ways.   Trish Martinelli, At-Large Director, NSIN, is an accomplished Senior Intelligence professional with a strong background in business, applicable analysis, and a keen sense of how to implement innovative planning in support of customer satisfaction.  With more than 25 years in Government, Military, Analytical, Middle East, Special Missions and Operations Expertise, she is adept and experienced in working with people of diverse backgrounds to maximize the benefit from relevant experience.   David Schiff, At-Large Director, NSIN, is working to change the culture of the DoD and Federal Government to favor innovation as a strategic advantage and strengthen the relationship between civilian industry and the Government to solve the world’s biggest problems.  He seeks to bridge the gap that has developed between these ecosystems by building more collaborative, higher-trust, more empathetic, and creative environments, which will lead to the innovative solutions we need to ensure a better world for future generations.   In this episode, Ms. Martinelli and Mr. Schiff discuss innovation, the value of hackathons and crowdsourcing in harnessing the Nation’s intellect to benefit National Security, and integrating their programs in support of U.S. Army innovation. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview:   The DoD has created a series of innovation organizations. Each of these organizations has specific priorities tailored to the mission of the branch that oversees it. NSIN, however, serves as an innovation catalyst for the entire DoD, seeking to serve each ...

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53

March 24, 2022 00:50:37
53. Innovation at the Edge

53. Innovation at the Edge

In today’s interview, Senior Leaders and Soldiers discuss how the Army is successfully harnessing its disruptive thinkers to cultivate innovation at the tactical level. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: The 3rd Infantry Division’s The Marne Think Tank, the 101st Airborne Division’s EAGLEWERX, and the 18th Airborne Corps’ Dragon’s Lair are leading the U.S. Army’s efforts to crowd-source innovative ideas from every echelon of the force. While innovation tends to focus on technology, these organizations also invite creative ideas on policy, process, and quality of life.  These organizations provide opportunities for Soldiers to pitch their ideas to senior leaders, then collaborate with their peers to refine their ideas and create actionable solutions. Soldiers themselves lead their projects, developing leadership, creativity, and problem-solving skills.  Innovation requires both time and resources — the Army must dedicate specific time to innovation, particularly outside of focused technology development efforts.  This tactical-level innovation, harnessing insights from Soldiers on better ways to perform missions and duties, is often overlooked. Ideas can range from the adoption of preparedness measures for assault survivors to new methods of range scheduling, team cohesion building, and rucksack transportation.  Prerequisites for innovation include a welcoming environment and platform rather than extensive incentive structure. Soldiers already want to improve the Army – providing a positive space for them to proactively engage and collaborate on problems allows disruptive seekers to find each other and excel at innovation. The Army can cultivate its tactical innovators by fostering partnerships with academia and industry. By building a network ecosystem of interested parties, Soldiers are empowered to leverage existing technologies and processes in new ways to help solve Army problems now. Stay tuned to the Mad Scientist Laboratory for our next episode of The Convergence podcast — Crossing the Valley ...

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52

March 10, 2022 00:36:37
52. War in Ukraine: The Urban Fight is Happening Now with Maj. (Ret.) John Spencer

52. War in Ukraine: The Urban Fight is Happening Now with Maj. (Ret.) John Spencer

MAJ John Spencer (USA-Ret.) is the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies with the Madison Policy Forum.  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, and Strategic Planner and Deputy Director of the Modern War Institute where he was instrumental in the design and formation of the institute.  In today’s interview, MAJ John Spencer (USA-ret.) discusses the on-going war in Ukraine, urban warfare strategies employed by both Russian and Ukrainian military forces, the changing character of warfare, and what this portends for the future of conflict. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview: Both with respect to the current Russia/Ukraine conflict and with modern conflict in general, urban warfare strategies are critical.This is true whether the objective requires getting past urban terrain or involves an objective that is urban in nature.  Despite Russia’s initial plans falling in line with traditional invasions, characterized by a large mass of forces that are then rapidly deployed in a “shock and awe” campaign, Ukraine’s combined arms approach to defense has prevented Russia from quickly gaining control of critical areas. Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) and Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) have been very effective in this conflict due to Russia trading combined arms operations for speed. Russia’s rush to seize ground objectives in convoy without effectively utilizing their air superiority has led to many of their ground assets being destroyed.  It is tough to find a recent battle where an urban ...

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