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Tech Innovations in National Security

The history of Silicon Valley is deeply intertwined with the US Department of Defense, dating back to the Navy’s purchase of Moffett Field in 1933 to dock and maintain the dirigible USS Macon. This interconnectedness continued throughout the Cold War and into the modern era, but signs have recently begun to appear indicating an unraveling of this relationship. Join this conversation with experts in the field to discuss how (and where!) the future of defense will emerge. Featuring:
  • Katherine Boyle (C’08), Partner, General Catalyst
  • Michael Brown, Director, Defense Innovation Unit
  • Jason Matheny, Director, Georgetown University Center for Security and Emerging Technology
  • John Tenet (C’10), Partner, 8VC
  • Trae Stephens (F’06) – moderator, Anduril Industries and Founders Fund
This program is hosted by the Georgetown Technology Alliance in partnership with the Georgetown University Alumni Association. The Georgetown Technology Alliance creates opportunities for shared learning and service around technology and biotech issues while deepening ties between this business community and Georgetown University.  
  Katherine Boyle (C’08), Partner, General Catalyst As a reporter for the Washington Post when Jeff Bezos bought the paper, Katherine Boyle investigated entrepreneurship in many forms. Every industry Boyle covered, including her own, was being turned on its head by founders with fresh ideas. She finally decided to leave reporting so she, too, could be part of this world and help uncommon people accomplish epic missions. While getting an MBA at Stanford, Boyle worked in venture capital and saw that the founders she was drawn to don’t have perfectly polished narratives. Like heroes in great literature, they’re quirky, daring and driven to have an impact that lasts. So when Boyle meets with founders, she still thinks like a reporter: She searches for the big story, one where its telling will make the future different for all of us. Like her colleagues at General Catalyst, she’s eager to champion startups that shake up highly regulated industries, from healthcare to transportation to labor, and even credit reporting such as Nova. Boyle actually welcomes that extra layer of challenge because it means we’re addressing complex problems. She is also drawn to really “unsexy” spaces and startups that tackle tired industries in need of an upgrade. Last but not least, Boyle comes from a small college town, so my door will always be open to innovations that touch everyone, not just people living in big cities. Before Stanford, Boyle received a BA at Georgetown and an MA from the National University of Ireland in Galway. She’s a lifelong fan of the arts, particularly classical music. She’s also an avid reader with a yen for history and foreign affairs. If there’s an obscure book that you couldn’t put down, she’d love to hear about it.  
Michael Brown, Director, Defense Innovation Unit Michael Brown is the Director of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) at the U.S. Department of Defense. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin and at the Pentagon, DIU’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of commercial technology into the military and access and stimulate the national security innovation base. Previously, Michael served two years (2016-2018) as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Defense Department. He is the co-author of a Pentagon study on China’s participation in the U.S. venture ecosystem, a catalyst for the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) providing expanded jurisdiction to CFIUS. Additionally, he led the initiative for a new Defense Department-sponsored investment vehicle, National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) to fund dual-use hardware technology companies. Both FIRRMA and NSIC were signed into law by the President in August 2018. Prior to civil service, Michael was the CEO of Symantec Corporation (2014-2016), the global leader in cybersecurity and the world’s 10th largest software company. He was also the former Chairman & CEO of Quantum Corporation (1995-2003), a leader in the computer storage industry.  
Jason Matheny, Director, Georgetown University Center for Security and Emerging Technology Jason Matheny is founding director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University. Previously he was Assistant Director of National Intelligence, and Director of IARPA, responsible for the development of breakthrough technologies for the U.S. intelligence community. Before IARPA, he worked at Oxford University, the World Bank, the Applied Physics Laboratory, the Center for Biosecurity, and Princeton University, and was the co-founder of two biotechnology companies. He is a member of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence and the National Academies’ Intelligence Community Studies Board; is a recipient of the Intelligence Community’s Award for Individual Achievement in Science and Technology, the National Intelligence Superior Service Medal, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers; and was named one of Foreign Policy’s “Top 50 Global Thinkers.” He has served on various White House committees related to artificial intelligence, biosecurity, high-performance computing, and quantum information science. He co-led the National AI R&D Strategic Plan released by the White House in 2016 and was a member of the White House Select Committee on AI, created in 2018. He holds a Ph.D. in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University, an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.B.A. from Duke University and a B.A. from the University of Chicago.  
John Tenet (C’10), Partner, 8VC John Tenet is a Partner at 8VC where he leads the firm’s focus on investments at the intersection of National Security and Defense as well as incubating companies in those sectors. He is a co-founder and Vice Chairman of Epirus Systems, a defense technology company focused on directed energy systems and other asymmetric threat deterrence. Prior to joining 8VC, John worked at Valar Ventures, where he was responsible for investments across a variety of sectors, helping to shape the firm’s U.S. strategy. John began his career at Allen & Company in New York City, where he worked in the firm’s Capital Markets and Investment Management groups. John holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University.  
Trae Stephens (F’06), Andruil Industrys and Founders Fund He was interested in working in national security and wanted to learn Arabic, so Georgetown was a “natural choice.” Recalling late nights in his dorm discussing foreign policy, Stephens valued going to a school with “like-minded people” who cared about issues impacting the world. Stephens started his career in the intelligence community, which he described as a “formative” experience that helped him learn what he liked and disliked in a career. He thinks that seniors are often too focused on landing the “perfect” job once they graduate. “I think that’s just the wrong way to think about it,” he said. “We should be preparing students to understand that this is an iterative process.” Trae Stephens is a Partner at Founders Fund, where he invests across sectors with a particular interest in startups operating in the government space. He is also Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Anduril Industries, a defense technology company focused on autonomous systems. Previously, Trae was an early employee at Palantir Technologies, where he led teams focused on growth in the intelligence/defense space as well as international expansion, helping large organizations solve their hardest data analysis problems. He was also an integral part of the product team, leading the design and strategy for new product offerings. While at Palantir, Trae also served as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University. Prior to Palantir, Trae worked as a computational linguist building enterprise solutions to Arabic/Persian name matching and data enrichment within the United States Intelligence community. He began his career working in the office of then Congressman Rob Portman and in the Political Affairs Office at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, D.C. immediately following the installation of Hamid Karzai’s transitional government. Trae graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.