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

25

December 17, 2020 00:35:42
25. Reading and Leading in the Future with Joe Byerly

25. Reading and Leading in the Future with Joe Byerly

In this episode of “The Convergence,” we discuss reading and its implications on leadership and forecasting, the future of command selection, and cultivating effective communicators and thinkers in the future force with LTC Joe Byerly, an active duty armor officer in the U.S. Army who has served in both conventional military and Joint assignments. In 2013, LTC Byerly started From the Green Notebook to share this thoughts on self-development — “I’m passionate about leader development and want to help others to lead with the best version of themselves. I created this site to provide a platform for leaders to help each other by sharing lessons learned. Lessons that come from our own green notebooks.” The following bullet points highlight key insights on leadership and reading from our interview with LTC Byerly: Leaders can learn and prepare for the future by reading and understanding how we got to where we are, studying economics and the social sciences, and focusing on what the classics tell us about human behavior. Reading science fiction as part of our personal study program serves as a mental laboratory to push our thought and help us break from linear projection (now) into the future. To understand the possibilities of the future, you have to connect disparate things and bring them together. Reading broadly and connecting these dots improves strategic thinking. Ideal Soldiers in the future will love to learn, demonstrate empathy, and have the ability to fight and win. Communication is a key skill for the future to describe vision and intent. A favorite quote – “If the people can’t see your vision, then it is a hallucination.” Talking to future Soldiers, we must convince them to own their personal development. The ...

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24

December 03, 2020 00:55:37
24. Bringing AI to the Joint Force with Ms. Jacqueline Tame, Ms. Alka Patel, and Dr. Jane Pinelis of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center

24. Bringing AI to the Joint Force with Ms. Jacqueline Tame, Ms. Alka Patel, and Dr. Jane Pinelis of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center

The Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Center of Excellence that provides a critical mass of expertise to help the Department harness the game-changing power of AI. To help operationally prepare the Department for AI, the JAIC integrates technology development with the requisite policies, knowledge, processes, and relationships to ensure long term success and scalability. The mission of the JAIC is to transform the DoD by accelerating the delivery and adoption of AI to achieve mission impact at scale. The goal is to use AI to solve large and complex problem sets that span multiple services, then ensure the Services and Components have real-time access to ever-improving libraries of data sets and tools. In this episode of “The Convergence” we discuss how the JAIC is bringing AI to the Joint Force (and the associated challenges!) with the following panel members: Jacqueline Tame, Acting Deputy Director, Chief Performance Officer Alka Patel, Head of AI Ethics Policy Jane Pinelis, Chief, Testing and Evaluation, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML). The following bullet points highlight the key insights from our interview: We have not seen a reorganization of the DoD since the Goldwater–Nichols Act in 1986. AI offers a catalyst for what is next. The DoD has a temporal split in how to integrate AI. AI is now ready to start tackling Phase I objectives to alleviate redundant and repetitive work, but legacy processes and cultural barriers remain as obstacles in starting this work. Phase II objectives of integrating AI on the battlefield present additional obstacles that are measurable. Getting AI ready requires improved open mindedness at the individual level on ...

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23

November 12, 2020 00:46:11
23. Disinformation, Revisionism, and China with Doowan Lee

23. Disinformation, Revisionism, and China with Doowan Lee

Today’s episode of “The Convergence” podcast features a conversation with Mr. Doowan Lee, Senior Director from Zignal Labs.  Mr. Lee is a National Security expert in influence intelligence, disinformation analysis, data analytics, network visualization, and great power competition. Before joining Zignal Labs, Mr. Lee served as a professor and principal investigator at the Naval Postgraduate School, where he executed federally funded projects on collaborative information systems, network analysis, and disinformation analysis. His article, entitled The United States Isn’t Doomed to Lose the Information Wars, explores Russian and Chinese disinformation campaigns and was featured in Foreign Policy last month. The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview with Mr. Lee: Our adversaries see disinformation as just an effective tool that provides strategic and global reach. We see it as irregular warfare when it is anything but irregular. Disinformation, or the historical term propaganda, has been around forever.  COVID-19 has accentuated this threat vector or surface. The Chinese government outlined their national information operations policy in “The Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere” (also known as Document #9): –    Nations talking about the spread of open societies are attempting to undermine the CCP. -     The CCP will maintain positive control of all media. -    The CCP will professionalize information operations. This policy resulted in the development of the “Great Firewall,” the “Golden Shield“ project, and the PLA’s Strategic Support Forces. The CCP and the Kremlin are increasing their coordination on national security activities and, in some cases, are increasing their collaboration. This resulted in a recent joint statement that stated the two governments would work together to undermine disinformation that seeks to destabilize the ...

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22

October 29, 2020 00:34:52
22. The Future of Software with Maj. Rob Slaughter

22. The Future of Software with Maj. Rob Slaughter

In today’s podcast, Major Rob Slaughter discusses Platform One (P1), an official DoD DevSecOps Enterprise Services team.  P1’s vision is to create an innovative, collaborative, and unified Defense Department that delivers freedom through continuous software integration and deployments.  Its mission is to guide, empower, equip, and accelerate DoD program offices and weapon systems through their DevSecOps journeys by: Helping to deploy mission code to the Warfighter quickly and securely. Accelerating deployment capabilities by providing an 85% solution to jump start coding. Providing a common code base for reusability. Creating a collaborative environment to break down silos and enable government-wide cross-functionality. The following are highlights from our interview with Major Slaughter: Platform One solves two simultaneous DoD problems, usually seen as polar opposites: – DoD systems are not secure enough. – DoD struggles to quickly deliver software capabilities. The current limitation on software is the age of our systems. The average USAF aircraft is older than our airmen. The future is “everything software,” but to realize this future, we will need new hardware. An AI beat an F-16 pilot in air-to-air combat, but that same F-16 could not incorporate that AI onboard without major hardware upgrades. The “everything software” future means every Soldier and Civilian should be able to write software wherever they are. The greatest immediate potential is with the new Space Force, as 100% of their fight will be through a console. Mobility is an enabling trend — being able to access the necessary software tools and work with agility in any environment. In this future, the #1 risk to combat systems is software.  Rapid software development and accreditation, and sharing what works across the force is critical to mission success. Platform One can be the “Easy button”– ...

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21

October 15, 2020 00:44:39
21. The Future of Talent and Soldiers with MAJ Delaney Brown, CPT Jay Long, and 1LT Richard Kuzma

21. The Future of Talent and Soldiers with MAJ Delaney Brown, CPT Jay Long, and 1LT Richard Kuzma

In today’s podcast, the following Army officers discuss Soldiering and talent management in the future force: MAJ Delaney Brown is a strategist with the Army Talent Management Task Force. She has deployed in a variety of roles ranging from intelligence platoon leader to regional foreign aid coordinator and served as an Assistant Professor of American Politics in West Point’s Department of Social Sciences. MAJ Delaney holds a Bachelor of Science in Comparative Politics and Systems Engineering from the United States Military Academy and a Master of International Development Policy from Georgetown University where she used quantitative methods to evaluate the efficacy of government policies. She is currently a term member at the Council of Foreign Relations and active with the Aspen Institute’s Socrates Program. CPT James “Jay” Long is an Army Reservist serving as an innovation officer at Joint Special Operations Command. Previously, he served in various infantry assignments on active duty and was a National Security Innovation Network Startup Innovation Fellow. He is based in Washington, DC. 1LT Richard Kuzma is a data scientist and technical program manager at the Army Artificial Intelligence Task Force, where he applies machine learning to Army problems and helps the Army build its digital workforce. Richard is an alum of the Defense Innovation Unit and the Harvard Kennedy School, where he wrote his thesis on structural changes needed to facilitate AI adoption within the Department of Defense. He is a member of the Military Writers Guild and writes about the DoD’s machine learning transformation in War on the Rocks, The U.S. Naval Institute, and The Strategy Bridge. The following are highlights from the Podcast’s panel discussion: At a fundamental level, the Army is still looking for ...

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20

October 01, 2020 00:28:05
20. Strategic Foresight and Shifting Paradigms with Dr. Amy Zalman

20. Strategic Foresight and Shifting Paradigms with Dr. Amy Zalman

Dr. Zalman is a global futurist who helps leaders and organizations explore the implications of critical global trends and prepare their organizations for transformative change. She is a part-time professor of Strategic Foresight at Georgetown University and the CEO of the foresight consultancy Prescient, LLC, which she founded in 2017 after over a decade of hands-on experience accelerating change in public, private, and non-profit organizations.  In today’s podcast, Dr. Zalman discusses forecasting and strategic foresight, paradigm shifts in thinking, and the nature versus the character of warfare: Strategic foresight is a way of thinking to develop an effective strategy that is appropriate for the moment. How to think like a futurist — If you can tell a compelling story that engages someone else in a shared aspiration (e.g., the American Dream), then you have a higher probability of realizing that vision. The point of foresight is to avoid being surprised.  The key to marrying foresight and strategy is maintaining global situational awareness – remaining constantly vigilant and attuned to trends and events occurring around the world – and then using this knowledge to shape and affect strategically advantageous decisions. Avoiding surprise is a central tenet in the Army — so why do we feel surprised after an event like COVID? Because unpredictable events with major effects are either not taken seriously or are willfully ignored; consequently, they are not factored into institutional planning. Organizational culture must be receptive to discussing strategic foresight ideas that run counter to mainstream thought. What are the Army and DoD missing regarding the future?  The power of the individual.  Even in Great Power Conflict, individuals are able to wield inordinate influence and shape events via their phones, cameras, ...

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