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

47

December 09, 2021 00:38:33
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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 ...

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46

November 18, 2021 00:35:04
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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 ...

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45

October 28, 2021 00:49:29
45. Learning About the Future Through History with Dr. Brent L. Sterling

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 ...

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44

October 14, 2021 00:52:04
44. Cultural Intelligence: More Than Materiel with Terry Young

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 ...

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43

September 30, 2021 00:29:25
43. A New American Way of Training with Jennifer McArdle

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 ...

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42

September 16, 2021 00:59:29
42. Global Entanglement and Multi-Reality Warfare with COL (USA-RET) Steve Banach

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 ...

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