5 episodes

Make sense of defense with insights, salt, and wit. Fence in for interviews and anecdotes about the ins, outs, and happenings at the intersection of military, technology, industry, policy, strategy, and history. Brought to you by The Merge newsletter.

The Merge The Merge

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Make sense of defense with insights, salt, and wit. Fence in for interviews and anecdotes about the ins, outs, and happenings at the intersection of military, technology, industry, policy, strategy, and history. Brought to you by The Merge newsletter.

    E5 - Military Tech Spending is Broken

    E5 - Military Tech Spending is Broken

    Merge Podcast Episode 5: Mike, Jake, and Tim pick apart some op-eds about military spending for research and development spending, innovation, and why the military sucks at getting tech to the warfighter. They also catch up on the news about grounded airplanes with NOTAM crash, ponder the legalisms of having secrets in a garage, and end with a discussion on some AI tools—and a surprise.
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    Links
    * Sign up for our amazing newsletter https://www.themerge.co
    * Support us on Patreon https://www.patreon.com/the_merge
    * Op-Ed 1: https://warontherocks.com/2023/01/leveraging-u-s-capital-markets-to-support-the-future-industrial-network/
    * Op-Ed 2: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/federal-contracting/why-dod-should-get-out-of-the-r-d-business-mislav-tolusic
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    * Twitter https://twitter.com/MergeNewsletter
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    * Website https://www.themerge.co
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    Show Notes
    (1:00) intro
    (2:03) op-ed 1 – $$
    (13:39) lab to field challenges
    (15:55) IP
    (17:10) cemented culture
    (18:56) misaligned incentives
    (20:11) op-ed 2 - defund R&D
    (22:37) innovation time horizons
    (23:36) proportion investing in R&D vs procurement
    (25:07) Mike’s spicy take on R&D spending
    (29:30) Tim on transitioning tech
    (32:50) Congress spending cuts
    (37:42) cut the Pentagon
    (40:20) – how a bill becomes a law
    (41:37) the deficit is a national security challenge
    (42:39) NOTAMs down!
    (47:34) Mike goes down a NOTAM rabbit hole
    (47:55) military NOTAM website
    (50:40) classified papers by a corvette
    (59:01) ChatGPT or other AI news
    (1:13:28) a rap song
    (1:15:48) outro

    • 1 hr 16 min
    E4 - How the Pentagon Buys Stuff

    E4 - How the Pentagon Buys Stuff

    Mike hosts defense acquisition experts Eric Lofgren and Matt MacGregor to better understand just how hard it is for the US military to buy stuff. We also discuss a shortcut called a Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA), along with some examples you’ve probably heard of: B-52 engines, F-15EX fighter jets, and hypersonic missiles.
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    Links
    * Sign up for our amazing newsletter https://www.themerge.co
    * Support us on Patreon https://www.patreon.com/the_merge
    * Eric contact https://www.linkedin.com/in/elofgren/
    * Eric’s Acquisition Talk https://acquisitiontalk.com 
    * Matt contact https://www.linkedin.com/in/matt-macgregor77/
    * Matt’s op-ed https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2022/09/get-know-middle-tier-awesomeer-acquisition/377017/
    * Pentagon Wars (full movie) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir0FAa8P2MU
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    * Instagram https://www.instagram.com/merge_newsletter
    * Facebook https://www.facebook.com/themergenews
    * Twitter https://twitter.com/MergeNewsletter
    * LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/themerge
    * Website https://www.themerge.co
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    Show Notes
    (1:00) intro
    (4:12) overview
    (5:06) monopsony
    (6:58) requirements
    (9:04) Pentagon Wars
    (20:45) acquisition strategy
    (23:44) “joint”
    (31:58) how much does it cost?
    (35:38) the budget
    (37:11) the PPBE
    (43:06) what is the NDAA?
    (45:38) what is an MTA?
    (53:15) MTA examples
    (53:27) B-52 engines
    (1:01:00) IVAS (Army AR headset)
    (1:05:06) F-15EX
    (1:11:05) F-22 Link-16 and IRST
    (1:11:50) ARRW (hypersonic)
    (1:17:44) story time

    • 1 hr 25 min
    E3 - Nukes, Fusion, & ChatGPT

    E3 - Nukes, Fusion, & ChatGPT

    Mike Benitez is back with Jake Chapman and Tim Nolan to discuss Russian nukes in the news, a breakthrough in fusion, TikTok, and all things ChatGPT. Tim cheats on a pop quiz in real time, Mike discovers Jake’s secret past, and Jake opines on the value of a future PutinGPT.
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    Links
    * Want more intel and insights? Sign up our amazing newsletter https://www.themerge.co/
    * Support us on Patreon https://www.patreon.com/the_merge
    * Tim’s nuke article https://www.the-sun.com/news/6911324/putin-readies-nuke-launch-missile/
    * ChatGPT https://chat.openai.com/chat
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    Follow us on...
    * Instagram https://www.instagram.com/merge_newsletter/
    * Facebook https://www.facebook.com/themergenews
    * Twitter https://twitter.com/MergeNewsletter/
    * LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/themerge
    * Website https://www.themerge.co/
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    Show Notes
    (00:30) Intro
    (1:24) Russia nuke news
    (3:23) details don’t matter
    (9:00) we finally read the article
    (11:34) missile sponge
    (14:18) pop quiz
    (15:03) Tim explains fission
    (16:55) Tim share’s his secret
    (17:46) The best segway
    (18:26) fusion in the news
    (26:38) the next best segway
    (28:32) Mike share’s his secret
    (29:23) ChatGPT
    (37:15) PutinGPT
    (41:10) ChatGPT comments
    (42:06) TikTok
    (45:36) Jake’s TikTok spicy take
    (49:02) You were a lawyer?!
    (51:00) How to ban tiktok?
    (53:32) ChatGPT writes the outro

    • 55 min
    E2 - Red Air

    E2 - Red Air

    Host Mike Benitez brings the spirit of the Merge in a full court press to discuss Adversary Air—aka Red Air—in a way you’ve never heard. It’s an entertaining journey through the history, policy, technology, strategy, industry, and business of Red Air.
    Today’s guests:
    * Kevin “Shaggy” Wilson
    * Ryan “Stinger” Fishel
    * Andrew “Scar” Van Timmeren
    * Jeff “Vader” Brandon
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    Links
    * Want more intel and insights? Sign up for the Newsletter
    * Support us on Patreon
    * Shaggy - Top Aces
    * Scar - Blue Force Technology
    * Vader - Kodiak Shack Podcast
    * Stinger’s F-117 article: Train Like You Fight
    * Jared Isaacman’s MiG-29
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    Follow us on...
    * Instagram
    * Facebook
    * Twitter
    * LinkedIn
    * Website
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    Show Notes
    (1:28) – Guest Intros
    (4:23) – What is adversary air?
    (13:15) – the industry
    (15:25) – Congress gets involved
    (18:54) – how’s it going now (industry)
    (22:46) – how’s it going now (fighter pilot)
    (34:05) – Top Aces buys F-16s
    (39:30) – F-117 red air
    (47:08) – adversary drones
    (52:07) – the cost of self-supporting adversaries
    (55:21) – training is deterrence
    (56:18) – training modernization
    (1:04:27) – story time

    • 1 hr 16 min
    E1 - A Star is Born!

    E1 - A Star is Born!

    Episode 1: A Star is Born! After too many excuses, the Merge newsletter’s Mike Benitez launches the inaugural Merge podcast! Co-hosting duties are shared with Jake Chapman (@VC) and Tim Nolan (@NatSecTim). In this episode, we talk about 3 things the newsletter has never covered in its 2-year existence: venture capital, TikTok, and American Dynamism.
    Show Notes:
    (00:30) – the world’s most okayist defense podcast
    (1:02) – Co-host intros
    (3:58) – What is venture capital
    (20:49) – Jake and the Army Venture Capital Corporation
    (26:20 ) – TikTok and national security
    (39:16) – WTH is ‘American Dynamisn’

    Subscribe to the newsletter:
    https://www.themerge.co/
    Patreon:
    https://www.patreon.com/the_merge

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

Dave McCowen ,

Fascinating insight!

The lads on The Merge unpack complex tech and military issues with ease. It’s an engaging podcast that will make you smarter - and the email newsletter is not to be missed.

Bennape ,

5s

Great brief, 5s all round.

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