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Launched in the summer of 2020, The Burn Bag Podcast is a weekly national security and foreign policy oriented podcast that aims to break down some of the most pressing security challenges of today’s world with the people who have worked and lived them. Every Monday, you can listen to a new conversation with a leading policy practitioner, thinker, or leader, that will make these important issues accessible to everyone who wants to know more — no expertise required.

Defense Hacks: National Security Innovation and Creating a Civil-Military Alliance with Steve Blank The Burn Bag Podcast

In this episode, A'ndre and Ryan speak with Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur (often referred to as the 'Father of Modern Entrepreneurship') and Silicon Valley guru, about his thinking on defense innovation and how a civil-military alliance can help the U.S. maintain its technological edge. Steve, who spearheaded the creation of the 'Hacking 4 Defense' class at Stanford which soon became sponsored by the Department of Defense, provides us with examples for how business and government have worked together in the past to drive defense innovation, and how organizational structures in start-ups can and cannot work with the public sector. Steve also provides his thoughts on the security of Research & Development and corporate espionage, and how the U.S. Government needs to adapt to address new and emerging threats from the rise of technologies.
  1. Defense Hacks: National Security Innovation and Creating a Civil-Military Alliance with Steve Blank
  2. Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The History of the Palestinian People with Professor Rashid Khalidi
  3. What in the World?: Biden Meets Putin, Unveiling the Domestic Terrorism Strategy, and New Escalations in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  4. The Alliance of Democracies: Reimagining International Institutions with Ash Jain and Ambassador (ret.) Daniel Fried
  5. What in the World? (06/11/21)

How Many Burn Bags Have Our Guests Used?

Former CENTCOM Commander and CIA Director David Petraeus: “We used one a day, at least, so that gives you some sense of that. I mean you literally had a burn bag by your desk, and many of the different military and civilian positions I had over the years, probably starting at a fairly early, when I was maybe the aide to the Chief of Staff of the Army, or a speechwriter for the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe or certainly the Executive Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and then on up from there.”

Former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell: “Oh gosh, tens of thousands, I’m sure, tens of thousands. There’s one thing about the burn bags I never understood — they required you to staple them shut, before you threw them down this chute. But as soon as you threw the bag into the chute, the bag broke open, and you could hear all the papers fluttering down this chute, so I never understood that requirement”

Former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Robert Cardillo: “I’m going to estimate it to be, it’s got to be over a thousand, I’m going to go with around 1500 burn bags, that had my name on them before they were destroyed.”

Former US Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle: “Having thrown more than a few memos and other reports into the burn bag, I’m surprised that no one else has called a podcast the Burn Bag before”