On Wednesday, May 14, Joshua Marcuse spoke to the National Security Institute on innovation, development, and leadership within the Department of Defense. He provided a realistic explanation of some of the problems with bureaucracy, but then went on to provide insight into his job of improving the culture and fostering efficiency. He was incredibly interesting, and his call for transforming aspects of the government so that it can accomplish more was inspiring for us as students hoping to enter the field. Technological innovations in the Department of Defense will drive critical changes necessary to their mission for generations to come.
Oliver Fritz, Director for Policy for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, came to speak to us about operational energy strategy in the Department of Defense. The discussion was enlightening because most people don’t think about how much gas is needed by a tank as part of national security when, in fact, it may be the most important piece. He is very knowledgeable and was quite helpful in answering our many questions.
The National Security Institute was visited by Roger Yee right around lunchtime, who is the Senior Vice President for BRTRC business development. His presentation on business development gave an insightful look at the role of private contractors in the defense industry. The intersection between business and government was enthusiastically presented, offering insight and expert advice for his unique experience in the industry. He drew light on the impact that budget cuts have on the military as a whole, creating heightened levels of competition for resources between the departments. Yee also alluded to the new issue scarce resources have created, as the government wants to maintain an advantage in military technology innovation but is struggling to afford the contracts to do so.
The Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. graciously hosted the W&M National Security Institute for an informational session and discussion. Three panelists recounted the history of the U.S., South Korean relationship, the current economic goals of South Korea, and the nation’s quest for reunification with North Korea. Pointing to the shared values of our nations, the Embassy representatives gave the students valuable insight into many aspects of the U.S., South Korean relationship and allowed for very informative and engaging dialogue. This visit made a wonderful impact on the students of the National Security Institute, and we cannot thank the Embassy of the Republic of Korea enough!
After a long day of engaging speakers and thoughtful discussion, we topped it off with a dinner with Keith Masback who is the CEO of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. Keith was thoughtful enough to take care of all our expenses, a grateful gesture that we took full advantage of during the course of the evening. We learned about the role that his company has when providing information to the government and other groups. The information marketplace, as far as satellite imagery and mapping data was concerned was being increasingly influenced by the technology of private companies like Google and Apple. While this is good for sharing information with private citizens and less sophisticated militaries around the world, it also decreases the competitive advantage that the government previously enjoyed in earlier decades. This reflects the trend of shared information becoming the norm, as the government and military slowly become the consumers of new advanced technology, rather than the supplier.