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HomeStartupSteve Clean Expertise, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors  – Wrap Up

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


This text first appeared in West Level’s Fashionable Battle Institute.

We simply had our remaining session of our Expertise, Innovation, and Nice Energy Competitors class. Joe FelterRaj Shah and I designed the category to offer our college students insights on how industrial know-how (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 Courses 1234, 5 6, 7 and 8.)


This class has 4 elements that have been like most lecture lessons in worldwide coverage:

  • Weekly Readings – 5-10 articles/week
  • 20+ visitor audio system on know-how 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 know-how 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 remaining mission. College students 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. After which they obtained 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 Discovered” presentation with a follow-up a 3,000 to five,000-word team-written paper.

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

Crew Military Enterprise Capital

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

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

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

We knew that these college students may write an awesome analysis paper. As we identified to them, whilst you may be the neatest individual within the constructing, it’s unlikely that 1) all of the info are within the constructing, 2) you’re smarter than the collective intelligence sitting outdoors the constructing.

Crew Conflicted Capital

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

Ultimate drawback assertion: Chinese language adversarial enterprise capital investments in U.S. dual-use startups proceed to threaten US navy 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 recognized sources of adversarial capital.

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

By week 2 of the category college students shaped groups round a selected know-how 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 via new operational ideas, organizations, and/or methods.

Crew 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, in an effort to strain the PRC, unfold American liberal values, and uphold U.S. freedom of motion within the info area?

Ultimate Drawback Assertion: How does the USG leverage a soft-power info marketing campaign to assist Hong Kong residents’ proper to self-determination and democratic governance with out inserting people at undue danger (of prosecution as overseas brokers below the Nationwide Safety Legislation)?

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

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

Crew 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.

Ultimate Drawback Assertion: How ought to the U.S. Authorities increase the home semiconductor workforce via schooling and innovation initiatives to extend its semiconductor sector competitiveness?

When 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 info 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 strategy to check and validate their understanding of each the issue and what it will take to unravel it.

Crew 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.

Ultimate Drawback Assertion: Taiwan wants a strong and survivable command and management system to successfully and rapidly deliver the best asset to the best place on the proper time throughout an invasion.

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

One different objective of the category was testing a instructing crew speculation – that we may 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 discovered from the lectures and a couple of) then check their assumptions outdoors the classroom, the exterior enter they acquired can be a power multiplier. It could make the lecture materials actual, tangible and actionable. And we and they’d find yourself with one thing fairly invaluable.

Crew Apollo

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

Ultimate Drawback Assertion: The USA House Pressure lacks the provision chain and speedy launch capabilities wanted to answer contingencies in area. The non-public sector possesses these capabilities, however is just not being adequately leveraged or incentivized.

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

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

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


A number of pupil quotes:

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

“THIS IS A FANTASTIC COURSE! [caps theirs]. The fabric was wonderful, the instruction from legendary professions was high notch and the studying materials was well timed, fascinating, and related. Anybody who’s desirous about geopolitics and know-how innovation must take this course. Not solely that, however every week contains a completely 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 wonderful expertise attending to take heed to and have Q&A with such unbelievable folks.”


Crew Catena

Unique Drawback Assertion: China’s cryptocurrency ban presents the U.S. with a chance to affect blockchain growth, appeal to technical expertise, and leverage digital asset know-how.

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

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


A number of extra pupil quotes:

“That is hands-down probably the greatest programs I’ve taken at Stanford. From the second I walked into the door, I used to be surprised 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, every part was well-organized, and our crew was at all times supported with a wealth of sources and entry we wanted to get our coverage deliverables to, alongside a wholesome dose of near-constant suggestions and encouragement from the instructing crew. Readings have been partaking and insightful, and the visitor listing 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 needs you to develop as a pupil but additionally train them what you’re studying.

Beware Steve Clean- he may be harsh and aggressive however exemplifies the ‘impolite however life-saving physician’ trope. I’ve discovered extra from responding to a single Clean cold-question in lecture than from three whole 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 remaining presentation- the JCOS is perhaps watching.

“DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE! This class is a whole waste of time.“

“This was the worst class I took at Stanford “

Whereas the optimistic suggestions accolades for the category have been rewarding, a number of feedback recognized areas we are able to 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 elective
    • Make clear particulars, flows and targets for every class

    • Tie audio system to tasks / pupil displays

  • 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 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 below worldwide legislation? Or will 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 making the most of alternatives supplied by the Gordian Knot Heart for Nationwide Safety Innovation to additional pursue their contribution to nationwide safety.

Classes Discovered

  • We may 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 acquired was a power 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 output of the category satisfied us that the work of scholars like these may materially add to the protection and safety of the free world
  • It’s a nationwide safety crucial to create better alternatives for our greatest and brightest to interact and tackle challenges on the nexus of know-how, innovation and nationwide safety

Observe: 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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