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The Path Forward: Safeguarding Global Innovation with Keith J. Krach & Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal

Keith J. Krach and Gen. Stanley McChrystal join Washington Post Live on Thursday, April 22 (Video: The Washington Post)
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With 5G technology and quantum computing to artificial intelligence and energy infrastructure, how can the United States embrace the latest global technologies while safeguarding our national security? Veteran Silicon Valley CEO and former undersecretary of state Keith J. Krach and retired four-star Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, former U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) commander, join Washington Post columnist David Ignatius to explore how the U.S. and its strategic partners can build a global cyber-trust network to protect the innovation of tomorrow.

Click here for transcript


In an attempt to avoid mistakes in future global engagements, the retired four-star general encouraged the United States government to look back on previous conflicts and their missteps for guidance. McChrystal said, “Like most people that have served in Afghanistan, there’s an emotional component to my thinking about Afghanistan, and I can’t deny that. I grew to love the Afghan people and the country[…] There’s a temptation to say there’s some strange reason that it didn’t come out like we wanted it to. ‘It’s not our fault.’ I don’t think that’s correct. When I say ‘our fault,’ I say I don’t buy into the idea that Afghanistan was an unachievable objective. But I think we made a number of mistakes in terms of lacking a clear strategy and a narrative that supports that. I think we made a number of mistakes in implementation, in terms of whether we could align the different parts of our effort. (Video: Washington Post Live)
The retired four-star general compared control of 5G information technology to natural resources such as oil and natural gas, and said control by any single country causes disruptive international dependencies. “If we think of any time when any nation or bloc of nations controlled part of international commerce, for example, controlled the seas or controlled certain natural resources like natural gas or oil for example, you make dependencies of people who otherwise would like to be capable of independent action. And so once you’re dependent, you don’t have the ability to push back very much. So the ability to first make people do what want, other nations do what you want them to do by turning the spigot on and off, or in the case of something like information technology, potentially leveraging the power of that information technology for misinformation and other activities.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
The former undersecretary believes clean energy and new technology are the answer to the world’s climate problems, but warns China currently has a monopoly on solar energy production. “The inconvenient truth of the inconvenient truth, though­– in terms of clean energy, and I really think clean energy is the answer, is technology– is that China pretty much has a monopoly on particularly solar energy. And industry experts say that by 2050, fifty- to seventy-percent of the world’s energy will be by solar.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Keith Krach, former undersecretary of state during the Trump administration, said it was necessary to lower the Huawei created pricing umbrella of 5G to allow innovators and new companies enter the 5G space. “One of the big reasons for doing this was to raise the pricing umbrella that was created by Huawei, because of all these subsidies and being able to lower their costs because of all their intellectual property theft, you didn’t see the big Microsoft’s, Dell’s, Cisco’s of the world jumping in this space. You didn’t see the innovators coming in, so the objective was neutralize them to lift the pricing umbrella so that new technologies could come in. And that’s happening now.” (Video: Washington Post Live)

Keith J. Krach

A two-time recipient of the Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Keith Krach draws upon his extensive business acumen and leadership experience in his role as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment. As America’s preeminent economic diplomat, Keith Krach is responsible for leading economic statecraft initiatives to expedite economic growth, improve energy security, and protect the environment. He was unanimously confirmed to the position by the U.S. Senate on June 20, 2019.

Krach was selected for the position after a 42-year private sector career in which he spearheaded transformations at companies in the engineering, technology, and business-to-business commerce fields, as well as at academic institutions. Krach most recently served as chairman, CEO, and president of DocuSign, which became the industry leader in electronic signature and digital transaction management solutions under his leadership. He earned one of his two EY Awards with this company.

As Former Chairman, CEO & President of DocuSign, Krach spearheaded its transformation from a startup to the category leader and global powerhouse it is today. Under his leadership, DocuSign became a verb, went public and was awarded Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work. Krach co-founded Ariba and as Chairman & CEO took Ariba public, ultimately achieving a market capitalization of $40 billion. In recognition of creating the category of B2B e-Commerce, Ernst & Young named Krach the 2000 National Entrepreneur of the Year and the World Economic Forum honored him with the Technology Pioneer Award.

Krach served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Purdue University, Chairman of Angie’s List, International President of Sigma Chi Fraternity and was the youngest Vice President in General Motors’ history. Krach’s alma mater, Purdue University, has honored him with an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering, and the Harvard Business School Alumni Association has named him Business Leader of the Year. Additionally, Krach and his wife, Metta, were recognized with the distinguished City Year 2018 Citizen Leadership Award for their service, dedication and impact to philanthropic causes. Krach is dedicated to paying it forward—by mentoring a new generation of transformational leaders in the public, private and social sectors.

Keith Krach and his wife, Metta Krach [] (B.A. UCLA; J.D. Georgetown), have 5 children [] between the ages of 32 and 6, and reside in San Francisco.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal

A retired four-star general, Stanley McChrystal is the former commander of US and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and the former commander of the nation’s premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is best known for developing and implementing a comprehensive counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a cohesive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.

Throughout his military career, Stan commanded a number of elite organizations, including the 75th Ranger Regiment. After 9/11 until his retirement in 2010, he spent more than 6 years deployed to combat in a variety of leadership positions. In June 2009, the President of the United States and the Secretary General of NATO appointed him to be the Commander of US Forces Afghanistan and NATO ISAF. His command included more than 150,000 troops from 45 allied countries. On August 1, 2010 he retired from the US Army.

Stan is a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he teaches a course on Leadership. He also sits on the boards of Navistar International Corporation, Siemens Government Technology, and JetBlue Airways. He is a sought-after speaker, giving speeches on leadership to organizations around the country. In 2013, Stan published his memoir, My Share of the Task, which was a New York Times bestseller; and is an author of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, which was a New York Times bestseller in 2015. Stan also co-authored Leaders: Myth and Reality, a Wall Street Journal Bestseller based on the epochal Parallel Lives by Plutarch.

A passionate advocate for national service and veterans’ issues, Stan is the Chair of the Board of Service Year Alliance. In this capacity, he advocates for a future in which a year of full-time service—a service year—is a common expectation and opportunity for all young Americans.

Stan is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Naval War College. He also completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Council on Foreign Relations.