Wear Pink Underwear Like Churchill, and Nine Other Principles of Defense Entrepreneurship

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

Yes, you read that right. The West’s roaring lion, the British Bulldog, he of “blood, toil, tears, and sweat”—Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill—“customarily wore underwear made of pale pink silk.” We’ll come back to that later.

I was recently asked to speak at a Defense Entrepreneurs Forum panel at the US Air Force Academy, which got me to thinking about what that actually means. Some hold the term, “defense entrepreneur,” in contempt: Why isn’t this just innovation? Why do we have to go and create a new word for the same thing?

Those folks would be wrong. Just as there’s an important distinction between a “driver” and “driving,” there is a useful difference between an entrepreneur and innovation. One is a dynamic process; the other, a human catalyst that propels, advances, and often guides this dynamic process. Related, but not the same. The military spends a lot of time and ink on innovation, but not nearly as much on the individual innovator—the defense entrepreneur. Continue reading “Wear Pink Underwear Like Churchill, and Nine Other Principles of Defense Entrepreneurship”

The Piracy of War Ideas

*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.

War requires ideas. This is how we make them better.

Each good idea is adrift on the sea of knowledge. To survive this inhospitable ocean, ideas must first be seaworthy – possessing substance (wood or steel), guidance (rudder or sail), and a bit of luck (fair winds and steady seas). With these components on hand, we’ve secured a foundation, and so the next step is to take our newly built, unique ship, with our own banner raised high atop the mast, and sail out into hostile seas filled with dangerous idea pirates. And that’s a good thing for everybody. Continue reading “The Piracy of War Ideas”