In-Focus Podcast

Building the Base episode 8: Lieutenant General VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, USAF (Ret.): Championing Disruptive Technology and Its Value to the Department of Defense (DoD)

BTB Jamieson2

Lieutenant General VeraLinn “Dash” Jamieson, USAF (Ret.), former Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Cyber Effects Operations sits down to discuss her experience in the armed forces and pressing national security issues facing the country’s ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) efforts. Currently, she sits on multiple boards of directors for organizations like Digital Realty Trust, ArQit, Beacon Global Strategies, and Primer Technologies..

Lieutenant General Jamieson discussed how her service to the country originated with her grandmother, a Red Cross nurse during World War I who found herself leading a charge in the trenches. She elaborated on this by discussing the importance of those who serve and the need to take a wide-ranging view in filling public service roles.

Podcast Transcript

Lauren Bedula 04:13
Welcome back to building the base. I’m Lauren Bedula here with my co-host Hondo Geurts. And we are so excited to have with us this morning. retired US Air Force Lieutenant General VeraLinn Dash Jamieson. And we’ll go by Dash today if that’s okay,

Dash 04:27
please do.

Lauren Bedula 04:30
Dash last served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, a position she held from 2016 to 2020 but served for 38 years and rose the ranks to three stars when it was especially rare for women to do so. And Dash has been a real champion of disruptive tech companies in my opinion, both when she was in DOD and now from the outside. So excited to talk to her about both those experiences.

Hondo Geurts 04:56
Awesome Dash welcome.

Dash 04:58
Thank you. I’m so excited. To be here,

Hondo Geurts 05:00
so 38 years holy moly, plus, everybody’s kind of got their story of how we got to where we get to what’s your story?

Dash 05:10
Well, I would tell you my story really begins with my grandmother, my grandmother Jamison. She was a woman way ahead of her time. In 19, eight in 1917, she went over to France with the Red Cross and was a nurse in World War One. She was stationed with the Marine Corps General Smedley Butler. She was decorated by France for leading a charge in the trenches when they were being overrun. And after that experience, she really found the confidence to go to the Cleveland Clinic and become the head surgical nurse there. She worked her entire life. And when she was 65, she, she had retired from nursing at the Cleveland Clinic and decided to take a position with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare for the western section at age 65. She worked there for over 20 years, she retired in her mid 80s. And then she went back to our hometown because there was no medical facility or doctor left, it was an old western Pennsylvania town dying.

She then made house calls and nursed that town till she was 95 years old. 95, she broke her hip. And that’s when we moved her closer to us. And she went into a community Amish community rehabilitation center, where she established a reading program for the for the residents, where she established a literacy program for young children. And she just was an amazing woman. But what she told me from when I was extremely young, was I could do whatever I wanted to do. And don’t let anyone ever tell me no, she said, because people will put up barriers, go with your heart and do what ever you want to do. Because the sky is the limit. And that really, you know, to the my heart. So when I was in high school, I was like, I want to fly. I want to join the military, I really want to join the Navy because they have the see the world have an adventure. And so I went to a naval recruiter, and the naval recruiter told me we don’t take women sitting next to him was an Air Force recruiter, and he said, young lady, please come over here. We absolutely want women in our United States Air Force. And I said, Okay, that sounds like to me. And he said, I really think you know, when you graduate from high school, you can we can sign you up right now. And I said, well tell me, how do you go?

I didn’t know anybody in the military. How do you get promoted? What do you have to do? And he said, Well, there’s two tracks. One is if you enlist, you actually have to test for promotion for every single stripe you get it goes the other way is the easy way. You’re an officer, you go to college, and you only have to take a test in college, and then you just get promoted after after serving so many years. And I want that, sir. Sounds like the track I want. I don’t have to take tests and I just get promoted. He said yes. I said, Okay, that’s what I want to do. And he said, Okay, well, you can go to ROTC. Or you can go to OTs, because women were not allowed to go to the Air Force Academy, when, when I was talking to the recruiter. And so I was like, alright, I’ll go through ROTC program and join. I was very lucky, I did. And I still wanted to fly.

And my debt commander was an f4 pilot from Vietnam. And so he fought for me to get a pilot slot. There were only 30 pilot slots given to women in 1980. Throughout the entire US, and I was fortunate enough to get one. I went to pilot training, however, my ears bleed in an unpressurized cabin. And I thought my entire dream my entire life was over, because I could not be a pilot in United States Air Force. But again, as luck would have it, I had a business degree and this is 1982. Similar to today, to get a car loan was 16%. And we were in a massive recession.

Dash 09:26
I was the only person at Columbus Air Force Base on casual status that had a business degree. Everyone else was a STEM graduate. Well, the Wing Commander had an issue, he was going to have an IGE inspection and his snack bar was in the red. So he said in six weeks, can you fix this? I said, Sure. I can put in inventory controls. I did marketing, taste testing, figured out pricing. And at five weeks, he said, Please stop. We have too much money.

We’re gonna get in trouble. And he wrote a letter on my behalf to retain me in the Air Force. That’s the only reason I was eligible to stay in the air force because I did not fulfill my contract. And he said, You need to go. And you need to go into Intel, because it’s close to ops. And I think you’ll really enjoy. And that’s how I how I started. And I would tell you never think that when you come to a crossroad where your dreams may be crushed, it’s just believe in yourself and keep going. Because in the end, it really will all work out.

Lauren Bedula 10:30
How cool I love hearing about your grandmother, especially what a story. As you know, Dash BENS is really focused on public private partnerships in that intersection between the private sector and really Department of Defense and national security community. So I didn’t know that story about your background on the business side.

And I think it makes a ton of sense, because you’re very good at figuring out how to translate between these communities are working at the intersection of them. And as you know, Hondo, and I started this because we’re so fascinated with what the future industrial base should look like, or this idea of helping disruptive tech companies do business with the national security and defense communities. So we think it’s a really important issue. I know you’ve been passionate about it as well, can you tell us why you think it’s so important?

Dash 11:18
I think it’s really important because when you work with, especially when you work with startups, they bring such a fresh perspective. And such a can do attitude, and they’re so willing to partner and work side by side, airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines, and they bring a kind of enthusiasm to regenerate and revitalize the energy. And they’re actually willing to sit down and do dev ops with you without a preconceived notion of what the end state is.

And, and, you know, I will tell you, my experience with the f1, seven teams in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, when when I had to be the lead, Intel, and brief all my pilots up, after doing all the route planning and all the threat avoidance, I had to really believe in the technology, and I will never forget, the first night of the war, when I briefed them up, sent them out and waited, and thought, I really hope this stealth technology works. And we were working side by side with the contractors, and they were worried as well. And when every single pilot came back and there was joy and jubilation, it’s when I went cash emerging technology really is the key to our national defense, it is the key to our success. And we have to keep breaking down barriers, we have to have relationships, and we have to have trust.

Hondo Geurts 12:54
So Dash a, you know, I had similar experiences, and I would say combat support, whether it’s Intel acquisition, you know, a decade-plus for me, it’s special ops really thought to me that teams of teams approach and how do you close down that distance and build trust? How did you approach that? How did you gain trust with your operational counterparts? How did you approach that, you know, individually and as a leader to try and break down all those barriers that build up and then create that mistrust? And then all the efficiencies that go with that?

Dash 13:31
Yeah, you know, I was extremely, I’d like to chalk up my career to I was extremely lucky. And at times, I had great timing. So if you go back to when I said, you know, I, my Wing Commander wrote a letter for me. And I went to intel school. And my first assignment was at Nellis Air Force Base. And at the time, the United States, Air Force fighter weapons school, was also there. And they were building its building. So they were all in trailers. No Intel person wanted to go over into the trailers there. You know, it’s, it’s the desert, there’s no air conditioning, it’s dusty. It’s awful. And so I said, Well, I’ll go over there. I want to be attached to them. They seem like a great bunch of people. I didn’t realize how scary that was going to be.

So I was attached to the a 10s, and the 15 division. And I walk in and they’re like, Lieutenant, you don’t know anything. But you’re at least willing to try. So we’re gonna teach you and relationships and trust start right there. And they taught me and, and had me running all over the place, but they taught me about threats. They taught me about us systems. They taught me about flying, they took me up flying. I flew in every aircraft, fighter aircraft, the Air Force hat, and I went on mission so that they really ingrained on me. What was their perspective? So When I was doing my work, I would understand its application. And embedded with that were contractors that were updating tapes and updating capabilities.

And so I would talk to them to understand what was their perspective? And why were they doing things, to start to build my network, and relationships and trust with them. So I would understand what were the blue capabilities that were advancing, so I can understand how the red could defeat could think that they could defeat it so we could make some counter-tactics, that kind of relationship building from the start. I had no idea being one of the only really broke down some barriers early on, and then you get the word-of-mouth network going for you. I then deployed to Korea for a year with the a 10s. But already had known, you know, about 30 from weapons school. So they already had sent Hey, she’s a good egg, take care of her. I walk in first day. This is 1986. There is huge writing going on in Seoul. They’re trying to forge their democracy.

There’s protests, there’s tear gas, there’s rubber bullets flying, and I’m thinking, what the heck did I get myself into? And a major came over and, and grabbed me up and he said, Okay, it’s about an hour and a half to get to the base. We’re going a little bit further north. So strap in, and it was eye-opening. But we get there. And he’s got to go fly. So he drops me off at the ops desk. And the do looks at me and he says, Lieutenant, can you just sit there and wait a few? My thought sheriff’s or whatever, I’m scared to death. I’ve just gone through tear gas, rubber bullets and everything else. And he said, Why don’t you wait to the squadron commander comes in, he’s flying. About half an hour, the squadron commander comes in and the do goes over to him. Mind you, I’m sitting right there. And the Wing Commanders like is that our new Intel officer? And the deal goes, sir, we have an issue. He said, What’s the matter? She’s a woman. And he said, Well, Vijay, I can see that she has a woman. We don’t have any women here at Suwon airbase, she’ll be the only female officer on the base for the year. What do we do with her? Where do we even put her and he says, She’s a member of our squadron, She’s on our team, you’re going to put her in with all of us. And that set the stage for the entire year. And really the rest of my career, on how to approach teaming, how to approach relationships and trust, and how what you do and how you present yourself really matters.

Hondo Geurts 17:54
Yeah, I think, you know, two key pieces out of that which really resonate is one this, this idea, curiosity, right, getting out of your own skin, learning from whoever. And the second is, you can be operationally oriented without being the operator. So sometimes we break down is, what’s your job and your combat support or your camp. Now everybody’s got a role or get a place, the more Everybody focuses on the outcome, your power through all those inefficiencies, bias, all those other kinds of things that can really slow down either a team or an organization.

Dash 18:30
One of the things that my squadron commander Hank Hayden used to always say is, it’s amazing what can get done when nobody cares? Who gets the credit. And I think, to your point, you’re on the team. And it doesn’t matter what your specific identifier is, or what tribe you’re in, you’re all trying to do the same thing.

Hondo Geurts 18:50
Yeah, and great leaders really focus on creating that safety, right? Where you feel okay, now it’s safe for me to bring my unique talents to the table. You know, without checking a badge or checking ribbons you have or quite frankly, even rank. It’s about contribution and value.

Lauren Bedula 19:06
And you also talked about relationships, trust word of mouth. And those are not only themes we’ve heard on our show so far. But I think drivers when we do see adoption of non traditional tech companies doing business with the national security communities, and even your experience breaking into these strong cultural worlds, I think, lends lessons to this idea, too. And so we talked about, we recently had Congressman THORNBERRY on our show and looked at acquisition reform and policies, authorities, and there’s debate by some that maybe the authorities are there, but adoption is hindered by culture. From your experience when you were in Did you feel like you had the authorities to work with some non traditional defense contractors or was it more cultural barriers that you faced?

Dash 19:56
I always felt I had the the authority to work with whoever I need. to work with, but I think it’s a little bit of both. And I think that unfortunately, at times, depending on on the situation, certain tribes kind of fear, the unknown and fear external help, because they feel as though their job is internally to come up with disruptive technologies. So they can look at it as a competitive environment versus a collaborative environment. And I think one of the things if you are not in that tribe, you can, and I tried very hard to say, well, can’t we all just see what’s what, let’s, we all know, status quo is not working. So let’s see what it what do they have to offer? How can we team with them? How can we bring them in and make them a part of our team, so it’s not an external versus internal, it’s, it’s all of us working in rowing together. But in order to do that, as I went up in rank, what I really began to fully understand, were a couple things. One, it isn’t just the operator has to have a demand, you actually have to have operations. And in whatever flavor, we mean, when we say that, you have to have acquisition, you have to have contracting. And you have to have programming, all on the same sheet from DOD. And once you have that, you actually embed this emerging technology in a great way. Because then, industry can take you from not just demonstration, but they can cross the valley of death, and actually get you to a field of execution piece. And I’ve seen that happen, I’ve been a part of that. I’ve also been a part of when you just couldn’t get everyone on the same sheet, and it just dies. And that’s where I would say it’s cultural, because there’s too much fear and competition versus collaboration.

Hondo Geurts 22:05
So one of the big themes, I think, at least in my experience, and in Article jovoto, and I wrote on this transforming from an industrial base, which is I have a need hand me a product, very transactional, to more of an industrial network, right? We have a network of performers, all all contributing in various ways. What’s your sense of that? I mean, I think Intel systems are one of the unique because they’re really crossing between exquisite, unique hardware and sensing capability to big IT infrastructure, AI algorithms stuff. You sense that network philosophy is the right way to go. And have you seen that employed in your career effectively? And how might we get after that kind of expanding that network?

Dash 22:55
Now, I think that I think you actually have hit the key theme, it does take a network, and I have seen it, and I think really, that is is why DevOps is so successful. And why we embed airmen with coders and programmers and and tech industry is to get at partnering together, on how do you address these wicked hard problems that defense has, that have some aspect of a commercial capability, but to a much different, higher standard and degree. And I think one of the key things is, is exposing our younger enlisted and officers much earlier, to industry and working with the partnerships, not just in academic problems, but literally in their squadrons in units, where they’re not afraid to talk to the to industry and to contractors.

Because they’re not a decision maker, but they’re establishing their network and their relationship and their trust. So that as they grow experience in time, they can go back and relate and say, Hey, I need you to come help us. I need you to, to work with us on these issues or problems. But from an authority perspective, I think we need to be able to have the authority to do that without violating some kind of contract or anything. It isn’t that you’re going to award them something you want to then test out what capabilities are out there with different perspectives. How are you looking at the problem I’m dealing with, with your tech in a way that I don’t know because I don’t know the emerging technology that you’re bringing to bear? So how do we keep this going? And I think it starts with an earlier introduction from all the military services, whether it be enlisted or officer when they’re really junior partner and get this going.

Hondo Geurts 24:58
Yeah, you know, as A career acquisition guy, it’s amazing to me all the rules people say we have, which aren’t actually rules are just kind of back to that cultural. Somebody told me I couldn’t do that, because something happened 25 years ago. Right. And so I think there’s great opportunity to break that down. The other piece is many times, I think we, we wrongly assume we know what we need, in all cases. And, and I can tell you all the time, as virtual observers, things, I saw that I didn’t know I needed it till they saw it. Or it’s really hard to invent new requirements, when you’re in the job. You know, I think sometimes we place a little too much weight on the operator to well tell me exactly what you need 20 years from now? That’s a really, really hard question. And again, it’s part of a network to even understand what the possibilities are.

Dash 25:49
Yeah, I totally agree. And I think one of the things that I did see was a group that worked with industry and said, I don’t know what the requirement is. But I know this, in order for me to to address this threat, I have to have information in less than 15 minutes to kill the threat. So help me figure out how do I do this? It wasn’t, here’s a stated requirement. It wasn’t, this is what I need. It was here’s, here’s my, here’s what I have to affect. And here’s the time that I have to affect it. Figure out how do I do that? And help me, you know, partner with me on that. And we are still working in 15 minutes was, you know, five years ago, now it’s like, Okay, now, can we do it in two minutes? Can I do it in?

And how does that affect my decision-making capability, and how to like, get rid of extraneous data, so I can actually put the human in the loop to make the decision, the right time at the right place, so that I can affect it when I need to. And that only happens when you actually have relationships, and, and the confidence to say, here’s what I need. And here’s the timeframe. And here’s what I’m trying to do help me figure out? What is the requirement. I also agree with you. There’s a whole bunch of it’s in the policy. And it’s really not, it’s somebody’s interpretation of the policy. So you have to be very savvy, and read through all of the policy directives to know exactly what what does it really say?

And what is it infer? And that’s really difficult for junior people to do. So I think that leaders have to be more bold, and take a little more proactive stance and say, if it isn’t unethical, immoral, and illegal, just do it and beg forgiveness, forgiveness, I will backstop you. And I don’t see that happening as much as it used to. And I don’t know why.

Lauren Bedula 28:00
I’m gonna weave in a question from our audience, because you talked about this evolution of making a very critical decision in 15 minutes, down to five minutes in a time when the information that’s available to us is just multiplying, to sorting through that noise and understanding what’s real and what’s not. And so with, with the private sector focused on leveraging publicly available information, some talk about it as open source, how has that changed the ISR mission and landscape? Or how do you sort through that noise or work with those private sector providers to take advantage of it in that process?

Dash 28:36
I would tell you, I think it’s my opinion, I think it’s flipped Intel upside down for a greater good. We used to only look at classified information, if it wasn’t classified, we discounted it. Now, we fully understand the sensing insights that publicly available information can give you whether it be social media, texts, discussions, tweets, and it really gives you great warning indicators of what potentially might be happening to where you can look at other sources to validate or put on a collection mean to see if is there some there there. And I think that for for the intel community and specifically for Air Force ISR it has helped us focus our limited assets in a much tighter way to ensure that you do focus on what does the decision maker need from a from a positively identification PID factor to make those decisions in those critical timeframes.

Lauren Bedula 29:43
And shifting gears a bit. We’ve talked about your 38 years in the military, which again, is just incredible, but you’ve been out about two years now in the private sector. Has anything surprised you about your experience in the private sector, whether it’s sitting on boards or coaching companies?

Dash 29:57
Yeah, I would say that’s a great Question I let me give you a couple of positives and a couple challenges. Positives is I was shocked at just how willing the tech community really is to sit down and, and roll up their sleeves and dive into wicked hard problems, and how much they are willing to give just to get their foot in the door gratis, you know, they’re just like, I’m all in. Because I want to do something greater than myself, I want to do something greater than the bottom line, it wasn’t all about the money, it was about the value that they sensed, and that really spoke to my heart. I also was pleasantly surprised that just the diversity of thought and perspectives that they bring, and how to look at problems that we’ve dissected 1000, you know, a million different ways.

And they bring, you know, a trillion different ways to look at it. And I found that very inspiring. On the on the challenge side, my heart goes out to them. Because I now see how frickin hard it is to actually get to a decision maker, you have to brief like 5000 people to actually get to somebody who maybe will give you a shot at showing and demonstrating your capability. And we got to get out of that. And then the second one is back to what I thought is the interpretation of policy that stifles them. And somebody has got to take a risk and say no, give them a chance, just give them a chance.

Hondo Geurts 31:45
So Dash es, it’s been a interesting journey, just in this conversation, we covered curiosity, we’ve covered kind of humility, just roll up your sleeves, find, you know, don’t look for the best looking trailer, find the trailer with folks doing something. We talked about boldness of action cutting through policy, you know, many of us really benefited from mentors early in life, as you say, to shape your trajectory in ways you don’t even think about.

You mentioned a few but I’d be interested one in, in what other times in your career, you just had that kind of shaping mentoring that that you look back on. And then what’s your thought on mentoring, particularly as a senior female officer? Sometimes I know, some of my female teammates, you know, I only need to have female mentors or we kind of get, I would say we get some of our biases, even in mentoring. Maybe don’t give us a full opportunity. What’s your sense on that? Having both been a mentee and a mentor growing up in a big institution?

Dash 32:47
Well, let me let me take the last one first. Since I had no female mentors, I don’t look at it, I will only meant I believe mentor mentee relationships are two ways. And you have to have a relationship of trust with the person. Because the mentor is going to learn just as much if not more as the mentee. And it has to be a give and take both ways. And and so I think it’s really about who are you wanting to have that kind of relationship with on both sides? So I will say, me personally, I don’t mentor people, I don’t know, because I don’t think that that’s helpful. I actually am mentoring about 10 folks right now less, most, most are male. But I have no issue. I have several females that I mentor, but it’s about a two way street. And it isn’t about, hey, that’s right or wrong. It’s really, who can you call when you’re down and out? Because everyone’s going to call you and you’re doing great. And, and they’ll listen to you. And they will be honest. And say okay, you screw that up.

So what are you going to do next? Because I believe in you. I believe that you’re going to be able to do this and get through this. And you’re in what you think right now is your darkest moment. Because you’re strong and you you continue to do you challenge them with, Hey, have you thought of, and they’ll challenge you back? Hey, you know, that didn’t that wasn’t helpful, or that was really helpful. Have you considered and you get this back and forth going? And I guess I learned that, you know, thinking about it from as I look back on who mentored me and what did they do? And it was how was I included? And I remember I remember one incident where I I screwed up screwed up pretty bad in my opinion. You know, I there I was and a different service. senior officer said to me, pulled me aside and said okay, I still believe in you. You’re, you got a good judgment head on your shoulders, figure out why that went wrong. Pick yourself up, your character isn’t measured on how well you do. It’s how well you do after you have failed. So figure it out.

But now if you need help, I’m here, give me a call. And that really, really stuck with me. It also really stuck with me, as you know, that first squadron commander who said, I don’t care that she doesn’t look like us. She’s She doesn’t, isn’t like us, she doesn’t have the same experiences as us. She actually doesn’t even have the same mission, technically task as us. But she’s one of us. And so it opened my eyes to mentor people who are not in my field or that look like me or have the same experience. And I, I took that to heart because many of my mentors, none, were in the intelligence community. And all of them were in different services, and not not just the Air Force. So So I look at it as it diversity of thought experience is really, really important. And it’s a buzzword now. But if we look back in time, it’s always been there.

Lauren Bedula 36:20
And you’ve paved the way for women like me, or folks who are interested in careers that are fairly, historically male-dominated, right? And we talked about how you didn’t have anyone to look up to. And so I know so many people look up to you, including our listeners. And so I’m curious if you have advice for them, even breaking into the fields of finance, defense, national security, tech, and then balancing this importance of diverse thought and, and groups that can solve hard problems. So any advice to our listeners about how to rise the ranks, when the odds are against you?

Dash 36:57
Well, I look at it like the odds are never really against you, you just have to make the odds in your favor. And you have to be really, you have to put in the time to know and be an expert in your craft. And you have to, you have to work at being a good team member, you have to be a good follower, because good followers become great leaders. And you have to seize the opportunity when it’s given. And it doesn’t matter if it’s in finance, or if it’s in marketing, or if it’s in acquisition or intelligence, you just have to, to be a good follower, a good listener, a good team member. And you have to remember, it’s amazing what you can get done when no one takes when nobody cares about who gets the credit. Because that shiny Penny, that you think nobody’s noticing all the efforts you’re doing, you really do get noticed. And you will rise and continue in your field.

Hondo Geurts 37:59
So I can’t pass up with such an accomplished Strategic Intelligence person here with us on asking your perspective on kind of world events, whether its economic or national security and, and not what exactly what’s going to happen. But your sense of the challenges we’re going to see? And what does that imply in terms of us breaking down these bureaucratic barriers and figuring out how to get everybody aligned, whether it’s tech startups or traditionals, or Air Force, or navy or whatever? Do you sense with that world kind of view changing? Is that going to drive us together? Or is it going to drive us apart? How do you want to see, you know, strategically where things are going, and then what the implications are to this whole national security infrastructure?

Dash 38:50
I’m not a history major. And I and I never quote anybody, because I can’t remember who said, What, but um, this summer, I decided to read some some books on I’m Intel, so on some intel spies, whether they be Russian, or American. And what I have found in the several books that I’ve read is, if we go back to the early 20th century, and we look at the teens and the 20s, and the roaring stock market and everything, and then you saw the rise of nationalism and the separation and the huge division inside different societies with people on the right and people on the left. And you look at today, and you saw in the 20s, the or in the arts, the huge rise of our stock market and where everything was and then you started to see the separation in the division between the right and the left.

I see a lot of commonalities. Unfortunately, what happened you know, we had, we had World War Two and a And we had fascism try to take over from democracy, I really know that hope is not a strategy. But I, I look to, maybe we can learn some lessons from the past. And we don’t have to go down the same road. And I do think that we have to be courageous. We are the best, greatest country in the world that people aspire to, because we are free, and we have freedoms, and we have a democratic society. And we can’t lose that. And and it’s cyclical.

We are, you know, history, you go through these cycles. So when I look at strategically at the future, I think we will come out of this. And I do think that strong economies, a trained and employed workforce, and I believe high tech can actually give us a different way to manufacture, retraining our society, our, our young, our youth, are seeing companies say you don’t need to have a degree to do everything, and not fearing technology that’s going to replace you, but embracing How is it going to enable you, I think the future does lead us to a better economic output, which then if you have a better economic output, somehow, you feel a little more emboldened to embrace the differences in a much more collaborative and cohesive way than where right now we’re kind of at a standoff with each other. So I think we’re gonna go through it, I don’t think we’ve hit the bottom, I think we will.
And we’ll come out much stronger than we are today. If we look at, I’ll just say it, if we look at China right now, today, look at what’s happening. I mean, we’re seeing public demonstrations, because they are refusing to pay mortgage payments, because their housing, their apartments are not finished, and they haven’t been finished in years. And they are seeing the default of the financial industry backing some of these building projects, she has got a big issue on his hands. If you look at what happened with COVID, you can look at our country and see how at least we were free to express what we wanted. Look at China, the massive retaliation of the complete lockdown in the resistance to change that policy. they’ve doubled down with the policy. They’ve got massive problems ahead. So I go, we always look internally and go, Oh, my God, are we going through this horrible time, everyone’s going through a time right now. And if we look at history, everyone went through a time before I do, I do believe the glass is half full, and we’re gonna come out much stronger economically. And then therefore defense will be stronger.

Lauren Bedula 42:48
So while we’ve talked about teaming, the importance of trust and communication between different communities, I really liked your idea of empowering future leaders to whether it’s through the ranks in the military, or working with companies and across different sectors. And I think you’ve given us some great ideas as we think through strengthening what we need for future industrial networks. So thank you so much, dad for your time today and tell him your story.

Dash 43:15
I do have one last thing that I would like to offer. We have got to bring back, respect and appeal to be a civil servant. It isn’t just about people in uniform, it’s about those who serve our country, and are dedicated. And and so I think one of the things for the industrial network, we have to look at, is there a possibility to bring the Ivy League schools or the top 10 universities or HBCUs, or state schools, to actually have majors in industrial organization and design to get this to get so that people want to be civil servants, again, because they’re respected, they’re highly valued.

And it’s very prestigious, I will end with I’ve talked to many high school graduates and college graduates that say, Hey, I wanted to be a data scientist, or I want to be a data scientist, because I want to work for Google, Amazon, or Apple, I have never heard a single person say, I did it because I wanted to be a civil servant. We have to change that, in the industrial network that you described, has to have them as a backbone to make this successful.

Lauren Bedula 44:36
That’s such an important point. And we’ve talked about with with former guests to this almost shifting appreciation for national security and defense in the connectivity to prosperity. So I’m hoping we’ll see more of that. And that’s something we want to do with the show, too, is create the excitement for solving really hard problems. That’s what the technical community likes to do. And you get that in the national security community. So that’s a great point.

Hondo Geurts 44:58
Yeah, I mean, when done right? There are many ways to serve the nation, right? Someone uniform somehow, under better or worse, they’re just different. We need to bring everybody together. And it’s such an important point.

Dash 45:11
a critical partnership to link each together so that when we look at our society, it isn’t just a legislative executive or judicial government. It’s actually the People’s Government because you are respected by serving. And we’ve got to get back to that.

Lauren Bedula 45:30
That is so important. Well, thank you so much Dash for taking the time with us this morning. And I know our listeners will be excited to hear your story.

Hondo Geurts 45:38
Awesome. Thanks, Dan. Thank you so much.

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