WASHINGTON D.C. — JAN. 22, 2024 Following the success of the Atlantic Council’s Commission on Defense Innovation Adoption, the Atlantic Council has convened more than 30 senior leaders to launch a brand-new Commission on Software-Defined Warfare.  

Co-chaired by former US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, former Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine Fox, and Purdue University President Mung Chiang, this Commission aims to develop a framework to enhance US and allied forces through emergent digital capabilities.  

The proliferation of advanced dual-use technology is transforming the battlefield and changing its dynamics in ways that could alter existing military balances of power. Data and software have an increasing impact on warfare, which means the United States and its partners must learn how to swiftly harness the latest advancements available. Failure to do so jeopardizes the United States’ ability to maintain effective deterrence against sophisticated rivals like China and Russia in the 21st century.  

The Commission, overseen by the Forward Defense program, convened for the first time on Wednesday, January 17 to discuss the scope of its mission, as well as major challenges the United States, its allies and partners face in adopting software to enhance defense capabilities.  

Managed by Commission Director Stephen Rodriguez, Forward Defense Program Director Clementine Starling, and Forward Defense Deputy Director for Defense Industrial Policy, Kathryn Levantovscaia, the team is also complemented by esteemed co-authors Peter Modigliani, Whitney McNamara, and Tate Nurkin. 

The Commission will leverage insights from a world-class group of subject matter experts, composed of former senior government officials from the US and allied partners, more than eighteen senior leaders of defense and technology companies, and major private equity and venture capital investors. Commissioners participating in this effort include: Rob Bassett Cross; Prashant Bhuyan; Steve Bowsher; Michael D. Brasseur; John Brennan, Gen James E Cartwright, USMC (ret.); Gen Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC (ret.); Steven Escaravage, Frank Finelli; Dan Gelston; James “Hondo” Geurts; Susan M. Gordon; Jon Gruen; Adam Hammer; Lt Gen S. Clinton Hinote, USAF (ret.); Jags Kandasamy; Paul Kwan; Rob Lehman; Ellen Lord; Joel Meyer; Sean Moriarty; Nathan Parker; John Ridge; Nadia Schadlow; Gundbert Scherf; Lt Gen John Shanahan; Stu Shea; Trae Stephens; Tyler Sweatt; ADM Scott H. Swift, USN (ret.); Jim Taiclet; Chris Taylor; and Mark Valentine. 

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