HomeStartupSteve Clean Know-how, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors  – Wrap Up

Steve Clean Know-how, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors  – Wrap Up

This text first appeared in West Level’s Trendy Conflict Institute.

We simply had our closing session of our Know-how, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors class. Joe FelterRaj Shah and I designed the category to provide our college students insights on how business expertise (AI, machine studying, autonomy, cyber, quantum, semiconductors, entry to area, biotech, hypersonics, and others) will form how we make use of all the weather of nationwide energy (our affect and footprint on the world stage).

(Meet up with the category by studying our intro to the category, and summaries of Lessons 1234, 5 6, 7 and 8.)

This class has 4 components that had been like most lecture courses in worldwide coverage:

  • Weekly Readings – 5-10 articles/week
  • 20+ visitor audio system on expertise and its influence on nationwide energy – prior secretaries of protection and state, present and prior Nationwide Safety council members, four-star generals who lead service branches
  • Lectures/Class dialogue
  • Midterm particular person mission – a 2,000-word coverage memo that describes how a U.S. competitor is utilizing a selected expertise to counter U.S. pursuits and a proposal how the U.S. ought to reply

The fifth a part of the category was distinctive.

  • 1 / 4-long, team-based closing mission. College students developed hypotheses of how business applied sciences can be utilized in new and artistic methods to assist the U.S. wield its devices of nationwide energy. After which they bought out of the classroom and interviewed 20+ beneficiaries, coverage makers, and different key stakeholders testing their hypotheses and proposed options.

On the finish of the quarter, every of the groups gave a closing “Classes Discovered” presentation with a follow-up a 3,000 to five,000-word team-written paper.

By the top the category all of the groups realized that the issue that they had chosen had morphed into one thing greater, deeper and way more fascinating.

Group Military Enterprise Capital

Unique downside assertion: the U.S. must reevaluate and enhance its public enterprise capital relationship with firms with dual-use applied sciences.

Closing downside assertion: the DoD must reevaluate and enhance its funding methods and partnerships with dual-use mid-stage non-public firms.

Should you can’t see the presentation click on right here.

We knew that these college students might write a fantastic analysis paper. As we identified to them, whilst you will be the neatest particular person within the constructing, it’s unlikely that 1) all of the information are within the constructing, 2) you’re smarter than the collective intelligence sitting outdoors the constructing.

Group Conflicted Capital

Unique downside assertion: Chinese language funding in US startups with important applied sciences poses a risk to US army capabilities, however the lack of transparency in enterprise capital makes it difficult to trace them.

Closing downside assertion: Chinese language adversarial enterprise capital investments in U.S. dual-use startups proceed to threaten US army capabilities throughout important applied sciences, however the scope of the issue is comparatively small. VCs and entrepreneurs can play a task in addressing the problem by shunning identified sources of adversarial capital.

Should you can’t see the presentation click on right here.

By week 2 of the category college students shaped groups round a selected expertise problem going through a US authorities company and labored all through the course to develop their very own proposals to assist the U.S. compete extra successfully by way of new operational ideas, organizations, and/or methods.

Group Aurora

Unique Drawback Assertion: How can the U.S. make use of its cyber capabilities to offer the populace of China with unrestricted Web entry to bolster civil society towards CCP crackdowns, as a way to stress the PRC, unfold American liberal values, and uphold U.S. freedom of motion within the data area?

Closing Drawback Assertion: How does the USG leverage a soft-power data marketing campaign to help Hong Kong residents’ proper to self-determination and democratic governance with out putting people at undue danger (of prosecution as international brokers beneath the Nationwide Safety Legislation)?

Should you can’t see the presentation click on right here.

We wished to provide our college students hands-on expertise on learn how to deeply perceive an issue on the intersection of our nation’s diplomacy, data, its army capabilities, financial power, finance, intelligence, and legislation enforcement and dual-use expertise. First by having them develop hypotheses about the issue; subsequent by getting out of the classroom and speaking to related stakeholders throughout authorities, business, and academia to validate their assumptions; and eventually by taking what they realized to suggest and prototype options to those issues.

Group ShortCircuit

Unique Drawback Assertion: U.S. semiconductor procurement is closely depending on TSMC, which creates a considerable vulnerability within the occasion a PRC invasion of Taiwan, or different kinetic disruptions within the Indo-Pacific.

Closing Drawback Assertion: How ought to the U.S. Authorities increase the home semiconductor workforce by way of training and innovation initiatives to extend its semiconductor sector competitiveness?

Should you can’t see the presentation click on right here. 

We would like our college students to construct the reflexes and expertise to deeply perceive an issue by gathering first-hand data and validating that the issue they’re fixing is the actual downside, not a symptom of one thing else. Then, college students started quickly constructing minimal viable options (coverage, software program, {hardware} …) as a solution to take a look at and validate their understanding of each the issue and what it will take to resolve it.

Group Drone

Unique Drawback Assertion: Drones can be utilized as a shock aspect in an amphibious assault to overwhelm defenses. In a possible Taiwan Strait Disaster, there’s a want for a low-cost and survivable counter-drone system to defend Taiwan.

Closing Drawback Assertion: Taiwan wants a sturdy and survivable command and management system to successfully and rapidly carry the precise asset to the precise place on the proper time throughout an invasion.

Should you can’t see the presentation click on right here.

One different purpose of the category was testing a instructing staff speculation – that we might flip a lecture class into one which gave again extra in output than we put in. That by tasking the scholars to 1) use what they realized from the lectures and a couple of) then take a look at their assumptions outdoors the classroom, the exterior enter they obtained can be a power multiplier. It could make the lecture materials actual, tangible and actionable. And we and they might find yourself with one thing fairly useful.

Group Apollo

Unique Drawback Assertion: The Area Pressure should leverage business innovation and set up a skilled, skilled acquisition workforce that can ship innovation influence that the Area Pressure requires.

Closing Drawback Assertion: The USA Area Pressure lacks the provision chain and fast launch capabilities wanted to answer contingencies in area. The non-public sector possesses these capabilities, however will not be being adequately leveraged or incentivized.

Should you can’t see the presentation click on right here. 

We knew we had been asking so much from our college students. We had been integrating a lecture class with a heavy studying record with the most effective practices of speculation testing from Lean Launchpad/Hacking for Protection/I-Corps. However I’ve but to guess incorrect in pushing college students previous what they suppose is cheap. Most rise method above the event.

Given this was the primary time we taught built-in lectures and initiatives our pupil opinions ranged from the “we will need to have paid them to write down this” to “did they take the identical class as everybody else?” (Really it was, let’s repair the legitimate points they raised.)

A couple of pupil quotes:

“This can be a MUST TAKE [caps theirs]. The professors and instructing staff are second to none, and the visitor audio system are actually superb. This course is difficult, however you actually get out of it what you place into it, and you’ll study a lot essential and fascinating materials.”

“THIS IS A FANTASTIC COURSE! [caps theirs]. The fabric was glorious, the instruction from legendary professions was prime notch and the studying materials was well timed, fascinating, and related. Anybody who’s interested by geopolitics and expertise innovation must take this course. Not solely that, however every week includes a totally different visitor speaker that’s often from the best ranges of US authorities and is THE knowledgeable within the topic for that week’s course. Actually superb expertise attending to hearken to and have Q&A with such unbelievable individuals.”

Group Catena

Unique Drawback Assertion: China’s cryptocurrency ban presents the U.S. with a possibility to affect blockchain growth, entice technical expertise, and leverage digital asset expertise.

Closing Drawback Assertion: CCP’s financial coercion makes nations similar to Australia depending on China’s financial system and susceptible to the occasion’s will. The U.S. should analyze which key Australian industries are most threatened and decide viable various buying and selling companions.

Should you can’t see the presentation click on right here.

A couple of extra pupil quotes:

“That is hands-down top-of-the-line programs I’ve taken at Stanford. From the second I walked into the door, I used to be shocked by each the caliber of individuals you’re sharing oxygen with in that room, and the way welcoming and accessible they’re. Regardless of it being the primary providing of this course, all the pieces was well-organized, and our staff was all the time supported with a wealth of assets and entry we wanted to get our coverage deliverables to, alongside a wholesome dose of near-constant suggestions and encouragement from the instructing staff. Readings had been participating and insightful, and the visitor record we had was merely unbelievable- Mattis, McFaul, Rice, Pottinger, amongst a number of others within the White Home, Pentagon, and past. There’s an actual feeling that everybody who labored on this course desires you to develop as a pupil but additionally educate them what you’re studying.

Beware Steve Clean- he will be harsh and aggressive however exemplifies the ‘impolite however life-saving physician’ trope. I’ve realized extra from responding to a single Clean cold-question in lecture than from three total quarters of utilized math at Stanford. Be sure you get began early in your teamwork and speak to the lecturers as a lot as you can- this actually is a ‘you get as a lot as you give’ course, and the best returns are available by being tenacious, loud, and unabashed in your questioning.
And, for God’s sake, don’t draw cartoons in your closing presentation- the JCOS is perhaps watching.

“DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE! This class is an entire waste of time.“

“This was the worst class I took at Stanford “

Whereas the optimistic suggestions accolades for the category had been rewarding, a number of feedback recognized areas we will enhance:

  • Letting the scholars know upfront the workload and distinctive format of the category
  • Higher group and timing
    • Readings: be a lot clearer on which of them are necessary vs optionally available
    • Make clear particulars, flows and targets for every class

    • Tie audio system to initiatives / pupil shows

  • Make weekly workplace hours necessary to make sure all college students obtain common professor/pupil interplay, suggestions and steering from week 1

All of our college students put in extraordinary quantity of labor. Our college students, a mixture between worldwide coverage and engineering, will go off to senior roles in State, Protection, coverage and to the businesses constructing new disruptive applied sciences. They would be the ones to find out what the world-order will appear like for the remainder of the century and past. Will or not it’s a rules-based order the place states cooperate to pursue a shared imaginative and prescient for a free and open area and the place the sovereignty of all nations giant and small is protected beneath worldwide legislation? Or will or not it’s an autocratic and dystopian future coerced and imposed by a neo-totalitarian regime?

This class modified the trajectory of lots of our college students. A quantity expressed newfound curiosity in exploring profession choices within the area of nationwide safety. A number of can be profiting from alternatives supplied by the Gordian Knot Heart for Nationwide Safety Innovation to additional pursue their contribution to nationwide safety.

Classes Discovered

  • We might flip a lecture class into one which gave again extra in output than we put in.
  • Tasking the scholars to check their assumptions outdoors the classroom, the exterior enter they obtained was a power multiplier
    • It made the lecture materials actual, tangible and actionable
  • Pushing college students previous what they suppose is cheap leads to extraordinary output. Most rise method above the event
  • The output of the category satisfied us that the work of scholars like these might materially add to the security and safety of the free world
  • It’s a nationwide safety crucial to create higher alternatives for our greatest and brightest to have interaction and tackle challenges on the nexus of expertise, innovation and nationwide safety

Notice: Impressed by our expertise with this course, we determined to extend the main focus of Stanford’s Gordian Knot Heart for Nationwide Safety Innovation on growing and empowering the extraordinary and largely untapped potential of scholars throughout the college and past.



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