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What I’m Reading: May 2018 – Analysis, Innovation, International Cooperation, Information Operations, Intelligence, and Childish Gambino


Articles I found most interesting in May 2018:

How Do I Get My First Full-Time Business, Competitive, or Market Intelligence Job? – 5/10/2018, Craig Fleisher, LinkedIn

Dr. Fleisher was a professor of mine at the University of South Florida MBA program. He has been in the Analysis field for many years and provides some great advice here. On a side note, because of Dr. Fleisher’s insight, I frequently tell military intelligence analysts to never pigeonhole themselves. There is a world of facts needing analysis.

Quantum Underwriting: A Core Capability for Bionic Companies – 5/8/2018, Strategy &

This article was a bit out my typical lanes, but I enjoyed it. This article discusses how Artificial Intelligence is helping identify and clarify risks, helping underwriting. Every process will be measurable and insurable. I’m not sure I want to see businesses go this route, but it is interesting.

To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect – 5/15/2018, Quanta Magazine

Fascinating interview with one of the pioneers for tech innovation. He thinks Artificial Intelligence is not smart enough. He advocates teaching machines causes instead of correlation, to have machines understand environments, and programming robots with free will.

How Innovation Happens – 5/23/2018, Strategy &

Good article by a leader of new ventures for PriceWaterhouseCoopers. For those curious how innovation happens, the answer for PwC is Pride, Ability to Fail, Rethink Culture, Put Long-Term Customer Experience Center, and Flex to Grow. If your company encourages innovation, this is a good start how to get it done.

Implement First, Ask Questions Later (or Not at All) – 4/18/2018, MITSloan Management Review

Interesting look at how innovation drives requirements in modern business, especially in tech development. Businesses no longer have the time to write requirements and plan out development. They develop, implement, and if needed fail fast. Competition moves too quickly for slow movement.

Why Talented People Don’t Use Their Strengths – 5/8/2018, Harvard Business Review

Too often people feel underused in their positions. It is up to managers to identify strengths and challenge people to grow through their strengths. Especially if focusing that strength can help the company. Sometimes these strengths are not what appears on their resumes either. But once their strengths are unleashed, they can better maximize their potential.

Tech Companies Are Ruining America’s Image – 5/14/2018, Foreign

This editorial posits a very interesting point. America’s social media platforms are by far their biggest cultural exports – far bigger than McDonalds or MTV ever was. But these companies are not geared towards democracy and openness – despite what their leaders may say. They are geared towards profit and social manipulation. This is a good thinking piece, but I am curious what the authors believe the solution is.

What 45 Years of Data Tells Us About Globalization’s Influence on the Shadow Economy – 5/8/2018, Harvard Business Review

Interesting look at how countries can reduce the presence of black market and shadow economies. According to the author’s summary of the research, there are two types of Globalization – from above and from below. From below, meaning the deduction of tariffs reduces Shadow Economies. From above, meaning directed from the International Monetary Fund, actually increases Shadow Economies. What to do about this is the next undescribed step.

U.S. international relations scholars, global citizens differ sharply on views of threats to their country – 5/9/2018, Pew Research Center

What concerns scholars is not what concerns the general public. This is not unexpected, as scholars are more focused on big picture and less swayed by the 24 hour news propaganda machine. Scholars have years of focused understanding on issues and history to their credit, but to the general public’s credit, they see the on the ground impact of policy decisions. While difference of opinions on Climate Change is not surprising, the fact that scholars minimize Cyberattacks is very alarming.

US Government Cybersecurity at a Crossroads – 5/15/2018, Dark

The US Government is falling behind on cybersecurity and everyone knows it. According to the quotes in this article, the government is not fast, not agile, not innovative, and requires permissions to do everything. That opens up doors to enemies who do move faster and who do innovate. How to fix the problem on an organizational level is the bigger dilemma.

Report Card on International Cooperation 2017-2018 – May 2018, Council on Foreign Relations

Many international scholars, think tank leaders, and administrators grade international cooperation on issues such as nuclear proliferation, international counterterrorism, interstate conflict, and economic development. The rise in global nationalism worries some of our most experienced international thinkers. However, the overall grade from 2017 to 2018 did not change, although it dropped considerably from 2016 to 2017.

When Are States Kicked Out of International Organizations? – 4/23/2018, College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University

Interesting examination of nation-states facing repercussions from international organizations. Seldom are they expelled, and those with more power are allowed to get away with more. I would assume in some cases the organization needs the member more than the member needs the organization, which puts the organization in a bad position to negotiate punishment.

We Need a NATO for Infowar – 5/3/2018, Defense

Russian disinformation is growing in capability. The EU is struggling to assemble any form of defense and the US has its head in the sand. Elisabeth Braw of the Atlantic Council recommends forming an international organization that could call out disinformation actions and regulate mass media actions. This would attempt to reduce anarchy on the Information Platform and create shared interests. I am not sure how effective it would be.

Defending the Indefensible: A New Strategy for Stopping Information Operations – 5/25/2018, War On The

This article compares Information Operations with cyber viruses and disease control. Daniel Gordon’s suggestion is to increase America’s education, inoculation, and use of science to debunk propaganda. He also calls for public/private cooperation in training, pattern identification, and responder empowerment. The problem however, is that no one thinks viruses are good. Protecting them is in the public interest. Many people agree with anti-American propaganda, including many with a wide audience. That is like millions of virus-infected people seeking to infect others.

A guide to anti-misinformation actions around the world – 5/22/2018,

A nation-by-nation look at laws and efforts passed to curtail or counter misinformation. These attempts to regulate the Information Platform will definitely affect media freedom. Right now, media is anarchy. I’m not sure these laws will have much effect, honestly.

Why Be a Pawn to a State? Proxy Wars From a Proxy’s Perspective – 5/22/2018,

Daniel Bryman at Lawfare looks at the advantages and disadvantages of organizations or social movements being used as a proxy by a nation-state. While being a proxy provides materials, legitimacy, and independence from rivals, it also causes movements to lose nationalist credibility. Also, foreign support is fickle and could be a major weakness if removed. Lastly, while proxies have national goals, supporting nations often have international goals that could change, leaving the proxy stranded.

Lead, Think, and Communicate: Embracing Air Force Intelligence Officer Agility and Versatility – 5/28/2018, Over The Horizon Journal

Are specialists better than generalists? In the US Air Force Intelligence Branch, perhaps so. This article advocates for maintaining Air Force Intelligence Officers as generalists across intelligence areas such as Signals Intelligence, Sensor Intelligence, etc.

I agree with this. Officers are leaders of their office. They can rely on their office for expertise. Officers need to understand the bigger picture of where their office and its knowledge fits in the mission. They are looking up. Specialists are looking down into issues. There is a big difference.

Channelling Fanon: What Childish Gambino tells us about Violence and Urban Space – 5/28/2018, Defence In Depth, Kings College of London

This article looks at Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) latest video “This is America” from a sociological perspective. Writer Matt Lewis looks into violence and colonization as root causes for Glover’s imagery in the video. Then he compares Glover’s work to those on the other side of the spectrum such as Sheriff David Clarke, who try to belittle those using violence to claim space.