The way the United States military prepares for, and wages, war has been changed forever due to the digital transformation of our armed forces.

Washington Post Live will convene leading policymakers and innovators about what the new frontiers of war will look like, how America can stay ahead of its rivals, the role of Silicon Valley in this innovation, the role of Congress in providing oversight, how we train troops of the future and the moral ramifications to consider.

Highlights

The former CEO of Google and co-author of ‘The Age of A.I. and Our Human Future’ said: “In the book we… say that we are playing with fire in the sense that we’re changing assumptions that humans have made for a very long time. In the case of military conflict, one of the core assumptions is human decision time… These A.I. systems are neither reliable enough nor predictable enough, they have emergent behavior and they’re still learning while they’re doing things. We have a real problem with understanding what they’re going to do and they can be destabilizing in a military grand strategy sense.“ (Washington Post Live)
“We concluded that the Russian teams are quite good but relatively sub-scale, there was just not enough of them… But we were quite alarmed by the build-up on the Chinese side of core technology, money and programs… We concluded that we were somewhat ahead.. a year kind of number, not a 10 year kind of number… But at the moment, China has prioritized this very high… I think a fair reading of this is that they’re very close to us… Once the gap is really opened, it will be very hard for us to catch up unless we solve it now. I view this as a national emergency.” (Washington Post Live)
“The thing to worry about is the destabilizing nature of launch on warning… Eventually you’re going to have two sides both of whom have unknown strengths and unknown weaknesses in their A.I. systems. One will get jumpy, alert the other that they’re about to attack, and the other will actually cause the attack. That’s the ‘Strangelove’ scenario. That is incredibly destabilizing and it’s gotta get addressed now in terms of military strategy.” (Washington Post Live)
Michèle Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration, said: “The biggest risk… is that the policy and the strategy and the approach to international discussions about this… won’t keep up with the technological evolution and adoption… The biggest risk is that we find ourselves with the technology ahead of our own thinking.” (Washington Post Live)
“We are the best military in the world and we’ve long thought of ourselves as that, but if we simply rest on our laurels that won’t remain the case. We are in a real competition with China in particular but also other powers like Russia who are making major technological investments that will change how we’re able to prevent conflict, deter conflict, and if necessary, fight in the future. And so we have to invest in new technologies.” (Washington Post Live)
Brandon Tseng, the chief operating officer of Shield AI, said: “Why A.I. is such a powerful technology is because it unlocks superhuman performance. And what’s really exciting is for the first time in history you can actually take that A.I. and you can put it on physical systems.” (Washington Post Live)

Michèle Flournoy

Michèle Flournoy is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WestExec Advisors, and a Co-Founder, former Chief Executive Officer, and now Chair of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Michèle served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the

development of the Department of Defense’s 2012 Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress. Prior to confirmation, Michèle co-led President Obama’s transition team at the Defense Department.

In January 2007, Michèle co-founded CNAS, a bipartisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009, and returned as CEO in 2014. In 2017, she co-founded WestExec Advisors, a strategic advisory firm.

Previously, she was senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU). In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy. Michèle is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including: the American Red Cross Exceptional Service Award in 2016; the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, 2011, and 2012; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000 and 2012; the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996; and CARE’s Global Peace, Development and Security Award in 2019. She has edited several books and authored dozens of reports and articles on a broad range of defense and national security issues. Michèle appears frequently in national and international media, including CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week, NBC’s Meet the Press, BBC News, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and PBS’ News Hour, and is frequentlyquoted in top tier newspapers.

Michèle serves on the boards of CNAS, Booz Allen Hamilton, Amida Technology Solutions, The Mission Continues, and CARE. She serves on the advisory boards of The Leadership Council for Women in National Security, Sesame Workshop, Intel, and PIMCO. She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affair, a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group, and a former member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the CIA Director’s External Advisory Board, and the Defense Policy Board.

Michèle earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master’s degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt is a technologist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He joined Google in 2001, helping the company grow from a Silicon Valley startup to a global technological leader. He served as chief executive officer and chairman from 2001 to 2011, and as executive chairman and technical advisor thereafter. Under his leadership, Google dramatically scaled its infrastructure and diversified its product offerings while maintaining a culture of innovation. In 2017, he co-founded Schmidt Futures [schmidtfutures.com], a philanthropic initiative that bets early on exceptional people making the world better. He serves as chair of The Broad Institute, and formerly served as chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. He is the host of Reimagine with Eric Schmidt, a podcast exploring how society can build a brighter future after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Brandon Tseng

At Shield AI, Brandon has focused on operationalizing AI for Maneuver capabilities for the warfighter and engaging the warfighter on product requirements to ensure that significant, game-changing value is delivered. Prior to Shield AI, Brandon served as a Navy SEAL with two deployments to Afghanistan and one to the Pacific Theater. His experiences in combat and his deep understanding of the spectrum of military operations help drive the CONOP-based design thinking and product development at Shield AI. Previously, he was the assistant chief engineer aboard the USS Pearl Harbor (LSD-52) and deployed to the Persian Gulf. He earned his Mechanical Engineering degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Content from Raytheon Missiles & Defense

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

(Washington Post Live)

Defense Industry Leadership in Digital Transformation

In a segment presented by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, President Wes Kremer joins Washington Post Live to explore the new frontiers of war, how the U.S. can stay ahead of its rivals and the role of advanced technology in this innovation. From artificial intelligence to drones to robotics to quantum computing to virtual reality, the digital transformation of our armed forces is revolutionizing militaries around the world. These technological advancements can control costs and improve battlefield safety but are provoking new challenges and opportunities for industry.

Wes Kremer, President, Raytheon Missiles & Defense

Wes Kremer is president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies. He leads 30,000 employees and is responsible for a broad portfolio of air and missile defense systems, precision weapons, radars, command and control systems and advanced defense technologies. Kremer, an electrical engineer and U.S. Air Force veteran, has decades of executive experience in aerospace and defense. He has held multiple leadership positions at Raytheon Company, including president of both the Raytheon Missile Systems and the Integrated Defense Systems businesses prior to the company’s merger with United Technologies Corporation in 2020. In the U.S. Air Force, he served as a weapon systems officer on F-111 and F-15E aircraft and flew more than 90 combat sorties in Iraq and Bosnia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Montana State University and an MBA in engineering technology management from City University of Seattle.

Moderated by Jeanne Meserve

Jeanne Meserve is a homeland security expert and analyst, moderator, and award-winning journalist. She is currently a Security Expert for Canada’s CTV News and co-host of the SpyTalk podcast. While a correspondent and anchor at CNN and ABC Jeanne earned her profession’s highest honors, including two Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She also contributed to two CNN Peabody Awards.

Jeanne is a member of the Homeland Security Experts Group and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, and serves on the board of the non-profit Space Foundation.

She moderates discussions on topics ranging from technology and security, to medicine and the environment. Her clients include AtlanticLIVE, Washington Post Live, the Munich Security Conference, the Halifax International Security Forum, and the global conferences of the International Women’s Forum.

At CNN Meserve created the homeland security beat, covering intelligence, law enforcement, cyber, aviation, border and port security. She anchored worldwide coverage of the Yitzhak Rabin assassination and the death of Princess Diana, and was the first to report on the devastating flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She was a key member of the CNN political team during the 1996 and 2000 elections. While at ABC News she covered the State Department and reported from the Middle East, Asia and Europe.