Thursday, April 18, 2024

Steve Clean Expertise, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors  – 2022 Wrap Up


We simply wrapped up the second yr of our Expertise, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors class – now a part of our Stanford Gordian Knot Heart for Nationwide Safety Innovation.

Joe FelterRaj Shah and I designed the category to 1) give our college students an appreciation of the challenges and alternatives for america in its enduring strategic competitors with the Individuals’s Republic of China, Russia and different rivals, and a couple of) provide insights on how industrial expertise (AI, machine studying, autonomy, cyber, quantum, semiconductors, entry to house, biotech, hypersonics, and others) are radically altering how we are going to compete throughout all the weather of nationwide energy e.g. diplomatic, informational, navy, financial, monetary, intelligence and regulation enforcement (our affect and footprint on the world stage).


Why This Class?
The return of strategic competitors between nice powers turned a centerpiece of the 2017 Nationwide Safety Technique and 2018 Nationwide Protection Technique. The 2021 Interim Nationwide Safety Steering and the administration’s not too long ago launched 2022 Nationwide Safety Technique clarify that China has quickly develop into extra assertive and is the one competitor probably able to combining its financial, diplomatic, navy, and technological energy to mount a sustained problem to a steady and open worldwide system. And as we’ve seen within the Ukraine, Russia stays decided to wage a brutal warfare to play a disruptive function on the world stage.

Prevailing on this competitors would require greater than merely buying the fruits of this technological revolution; it can require a paradigm shift within the considering of how this expertise could be quickly built-in into new capabilities and platforms to drive new operational and organizational ideas and techniques that change and optimize the best way we compete.

Class Group
The readings, lectures, and visitor audio system explored how rising industrial applied sciences pose challenges and create alternatives for america in strategic competitors with nice energy rivals with an emphasis on the Individuals’s Republic of China. We centered on the challenges created when U.S. authorities businesses, our federal analysis labs, and authorities contractors not have unique entry to those superior applied sciences.

This course included all that you’d count on from a Stanford graduate-level class within the Masters in Worldwide Coverage – complete readings, visitor lectures from present and former senior officers/specialists, and written papers. What makes the category distinctive nevertheless, is that that is an experiential coverage class. College students fashioned small groups and launched into a quarter-long venture that bought them out of the classroom to 1) establish a precedence nationwide safety problem, after which to 2) validate the issue and suggest an in depth resolution examined in opposition to precise stakeholders within the expertise and nationwide safety ecosystem.

The category was break up into three components. Half 1, weeks 1 by 4 lined worldwide relations theories, methods and insurance policies round Nice Energy Competitors particularly centered on the Individuals’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Communist Peoples Occasion (CCP). Half 2, weeks 5 by 8, dove into the industrial applied sciences: semiconductors, house, cyber, AI and Machine Studying, Excessive Efficiency Computing, and Biotech. In between components 1 and a couple of of the category, the scholars had a midterm particular person venture. It required them to write down a 2,000-word coverage memo describing how a U.S. competitor is utilizing a particular expertise to counter U.S. pursuits and a proposal for the way the U.S. ought to reply. (These coverage memos have been reviewed by Tarun Chhabra, the Senior Director for Expertise and Nationwide Safety on the Nationwide Safety Council.)

Every week the scholars needed to learn 5-10 articles (see class readings right here.) And every week we had visitor audio system on nice energy competitors, and expertise and its affect on nationwide energy and lectures/class dialogue.

Visitor Audio system
Along with the instructing crew, the course drew on the expertise and experience of visitor lecturers from business and from throughout U.S. Authorities businesses to offer context and perspective on industrial applied sciences and nationwide safety.

Our class opened with three visitor audio system; former U.S. Secretary of Protection James Mattis and the CIA’s CTO and COO Nand Mulchandani and Andy Makridis. The final class closed with a chat by Google ex-Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Within the weeks in-between we had instructing crew lectures adopted by audio system that led discussions on the crucial industrial applied sciences. For semiconductors, the White Home Coordinator for the CHIPS Act – Ronnie Chatterji, and the CTO of Utilized Supplies – Om Nalamasu. For industrial tech integration and house, former Protection Innovation Unit (DIU) Director Mike Brown and B. Normal Bucky Butow – Director of the House Portfolio. For Synthetic Intelligence, Lt. Gen. (Ret) Jack Shanahan, former director of the Joint Synthetic Intelligence Heart. And for artificial biology Stanford Professor Drew Endy – President, BioBricks Basis.

Workforce-based Experiential Undertaking
The third a part of the category was distinctive – a quarter-long, team-based venture. College students fashioned groups and developed hypotheses of how industrial applied sciences can be utilized in new and artistic methods to assist the U.S. wield its devices of nationwide energy. And per all our Gordian Knot Heart lessons, 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 remaining “Classes Realized” presentation and adopted up with a 3,000 to five,000-word team-written paper.

By the top of the category all of the groups realized that the issue that they had chosen had morphed into one thing greater, deeper, and rather more attention-grabbing.

Workforce 1: Local weather Change

Authentic Drawback Assertion: What mixtures of applied sciences and worldwide monetary relationships ought to the US prioritize to mitigate local weather change?

Remaining Drawback Assertion: How ought to the US handle China’s dominance in photo voltaic panels?

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

We knew that these college students may write a terrific analysis paper. As we identified to them, when you could 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 exterior the constructing.

Jonah Cader: “Expertise, Innovation and Nice Energy Competitors (TIGPC) is that uncommon mixture of the theoretical, tactical, and sensible. Over 10 weeks, Clean, Felter, and Shah define the complexities of contemporary geopolitical tensions and produce college students up the educational curves of crucial areas of technological competitors, from semiconductors to synthetic intelligence. Every week of the seminar is a crash course in a brand new area, delivered to life by wealthy dialogue and an unbelievable slate of practitioners who stay and breathe the content material of TIGPC day by day. Past the classroom, the course plunges college students into getting “out of the constructing” to iterate shortly whereas translating learnings to the actual world. Alongside the best way the course acts as a powerful name to public service.”

Workforce 2: Networks

Authentic Drawback Assertion: How may we implement a ubiquitous safe international entry to the web with a purpose to assist circumvent censorship in authoritarian regimes?

 Remaining Drawback Assertion: How can we create an open, free Web and preserve efficient strains of communication in Taiwan in preparation for a possible invasion?

In the event you can’t see the presentation click on right here

By week 2 of the category college students fashioned groups round a particular expertise problem dealing with 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 new operational ideas, organizations, and/or methods.


Jason KimThis course doesn’t simply focus on U.S. nationwide safety points. It teaches college students the best way to apply an influential and confirmed methodology to quickly develop options to our most difficult issues.”


Workforce 3: Acquisition

Authentic Drawback Assertion: How can the U.S. Division of Protection match or beat the pace of nice energy opponents in buying and integrating crucial applied sciences?

Remaining Drawback Assertion: How can the U.S. Division of Protection deploy various funding mechanisms in parallel to conventional procurement autos to allow and incentivize the supply of crucial next-generation expertise in beneath 5 years?

In the event you can’t see the presentation click on right here

We wished to offer our college students hands-on expertise on the best way to deeply perceive an issue on the intersection of our nation’s diplomacy, data, its navy capabilities, financial energy, finance, intelligence, and regulation 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 at last by taking what they realized to suggest and prototype options to those issues.


Matt Kaplan: “The TIGPC class was a spotlight of my educational expertise at Stanford. Over the ten week quarter, I realized an amazing quantity concerning the significance of expertise in international politics from the three professors and from the specialists in authorities, enterprise, and academia who got here to talk. The category epitomizes among the finest components of my time right here: the chance to be taught from unbelievable, caring college and to work with inspiring classmates. Joe, Steve, Raj instilled in my classmates and me a recent sense of pleasure to work in public service.”


 Workforce 4: Wargames

Authentic Drawback Assertion: The U.S. wants a manner, given a consultant simulation, to quickly discover a method for potential novel makes use of of current platforms and weapons.

Remaining Drawback Assertion: Strategic wargames stand to learn from a stronger integration of AI+ML however are struggling to seek out adoption and utilization. How can this be addressed?

In the event you can’t see the presentation click on right here

We wish our college students to construct the reflexes and abilities to deeply perceive an issue by gathering first-hand data and validating that the issue they’re fixing is the actual drawback, 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 could take to resolve it.


Etienne Reche-Ley: “Expertise, Innovation and Nice Energy Competitors gave me a possibility to dive into an actual world nationwide safety menace to america and perceive the implications of it throughout the nice energy competitors. In contrast to every other class I’ve taken at Stanford, this class allowed me to take motion on our drawback about networks, censorship and the shortage of free move of data in authoritarian regimes, and gave me the possibility to satisfy and be taught from a mess of specialists on the subject. I completed this class with a deep understanding of our drawback, a proposed actionable resolution and a newfound curiosity within the intersection of expertise and innovation because it applies to nationwide protection. I’m very grateful to have been a part of this course, and it has impressed me to go a step additional and pursue a profession associated to nationwide safety.”


Workforce 6: Disinformation

Authentic Drawback Assertion: Disinformation is a nationwide safety menace.

Remaining Drawback Assertion: The U.S.’s means to shut the disinformation response kill chain is hampered by a scarcity of coordination between U.S. authorities  businesses,  no clear possession of the disinformation drawback, and a scarcity of  clear pointers on public-private partnerships.

In the event you can’t see the presentation click on right here

One different aim of the category was to proceed to validate and refine our pedagogy of mixing a conventional lecture class with an experiential venture. We did this by tasking the scholars to 1) use what they realized from the lectures and a couple of) then take a look at their assumptions exterior the classroom, the exterior enter they obtained can be a drive multiplier. It could make the lecture materials actual, tangible and actionable. And we and they’d find yourself with one thing fairly precious.


Shreyas Lakhtakia: “TIGPC is an interdisciplinary class like no different. It’s a fabulous introduction to among the most important tech and geopolitical challenges and questions of the twenty first century. The category, just like the matters it covers, is unbelievable and bold – it’s an effective way to degree up your understanding of not simply worldwide coverage, political idea and expertise coverage but in addition deep tech and the function of startups in projecting nationwide energy. In the event you’re interested in the way forward for the world and the function of the US in it, you gained’t discover a extra distinctive course, a extra devoted instructing crew or higher audio system to listen to from than this!”


Workforce 7: Quantum Expertise

Authentic Drawback Assertion: China’s deliberate authorities funding in quantum dwarfs that of the U.S. by an element of 10.

Remaining Drawback Assertion: The US quantum ecosystem doesn’t generate sufficient consciousness of alternatives to pursue careers in quantum that would catalyze business progress.

In the event you can’t see the presentation click on right here

We knew we have been asking so much from our college students. We have been integrating a lecture class with a heavy studying checklist with one of the best practices of speculation testing from Lean Launchpad/Hacking for Protection/I-Corps. However I’ve but to wager fallacious in pushing college students previous what they assume is cheap. Most rise manner above the event.


 Workforce 9: Lithium-Ion Batteries

Authentic Drawback Assertion: Provide and manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries is centered in China. How can the U.S. develop into aggressive?

Remaining Drawback Assertion: China controls the processing of crucial supplies used for lithium-ion batteries. To regain management the DOE must incentivize quick and long-term methods to extend processing of crucial supplies and reduce dependence on lithium-ion batteries.

In the event you can’t see the presentation click on right here


All of our college students put in extraordinary quantity of labor. Our college students got here from a various set of background and pursuits – from undergraduate sophomores to fifth yr PhD’s – in a combination together with worldwide coverage, economics, pc science, enterprise, regulation and engineering. Some will go on to senior roles in State, Protection, coverage or different businesses. Others will be part of or discovered the businesses constructing new disruptive applied sciences. They’ll be those to find out what the world-order will appear to be 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 international locations giant and small is protected beneath worldwide regulation? 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 might be profiting from alternatives supplied by the Gordian Knot Heart for Nationwide Safety Innovation to additional pursue their contribution to nationwide safety.

This course and our work at Stanford’s Gordian Knot Heart wouldn’t be potential with out the unrelenting assist and steerage from Ambassador Mike McFaul and Professor Riitta Katila, GKC founding college and Principal Investigators, and the tenacity of David Hoyt, Gordian Knot Heart Assistant Director.

Classes Realized

  • We mixed lecture and experiential studying so our college students can act on issues not simply admire them
    • The exterior enter the scholars obtained was a drive multiplier
    • It made the lecture materials actual, tangible and actionable
    • Pushing college students previous what they assume is cheap ends in extraordinary output. Most rise manner above the event
  • The category creates alternatives for our greatest and brightest to have interaction and tackle challenges on the nexus of expertise, innovation and nationwide safety
    • The ultimate shows and papers from the category are proof that may occur



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