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IWP Trustee Tidal McCoy speaks about investing in national security innovation in the 21st century

In a recent event with Columbia University’s Military in Business Associates, IWP Vice Chairman Hon. Tidal McCoy spoke about investing in national security innovation in the 21st century. The fireside chat took place on Monday, November 9, 2020 at 6 PM.

About Mr. McCoy

Mr. Tidal McCoy received his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and master’s degree in Business Financial Management from George Washington University. He went on to serve as an officer in the United States Army officer in the Vietnam War, before leading at the highest levels of the private sector and government. He recently co-founded IronGate Capital Advisors, a venture capital fund that invests in vital, advanced high technology for the United States national security community. He also serves as Chairman of the Space Transportation Association, Vice Chairman of the Cyber, Space, Intelligence Association, and President of the Kingsley Group. He helped reestablish U.S. military power during the Cold War as Acting Secretary/Under Secretary/Senior Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.

Opening Remarks

Mr. McCoy began with an overview of how we got to our present situation, touching on some of his experiences. As part of the Reagan administration, he helped rearm the U.S. to catch back up to the Soviet Union, which had surged forward in the 1970s, resulting in communist takeovers across the world. In the 1990s, following the end of the Cold War, the U.S. relaxed, allowing new leaders with nationalist, hegemonic, and militaristic ambitions to regroup and come back to the fight, citing terrorism as a prime example.

Contemporary Threats

Apart from nuclear weapons, Mr. McCoy believes that China, North Korea, and Iran are the main threats to the U.S. today for their exporting of terror and weapons and their expansion. Russia’s semi-allies of Turkey, Iran, and Syria are also cause for concern. China’s desire to wage war with all components of society poses a significant threat, especially as the U.S. develops advanced secret technology. To prevent Chinese infiltration, it will be necessary to collaborate between Pentagon leaders, Pentagon labs, and the private sector. Cyber weapons are the latest technological threat. Emphasizing the importance of deterrence in emerging threats, Mr. McCoy explained that cyber-deterrence is difficult because it is often unclear who possesses superior or equal capabilities.

Public and Private Sector Collaboration

Mr. McCoy spoke about the relationship between technology developers and the Pentagon, incorporating his own experience with IronGate. He explained how he likes to bring new companies into the Pentagon’s ecosystem and bring more government-focused companies into the civilian economy. He discussed the challenges of dual-use technology (products with civilian and military applications) between the private sector who does not want government restrictions. When asked about how those without a defense background should see the government as a player in the market, Mr. McCoy emphasized the government’s incentive to try out change. In order to gain government investment, he recommends finding those in government who are willing to take chances on new products.

Audience Questions

Mr. McCoy said that he foresees much-needed investment in the next 5-10 years to prepare for war in order to avoid fighting. He also explained the nexus of crypto-currency and national security in how crypto-currency is geared toward more off-the-books behavior. He noted that it may serve to undermine the common reserve status of the U.S. dollar.

Closing Remarks

Mr. McCoy wished the audience a Happy Veteran’s Day and encouraged everyone to make good things happen for the United States and the free people of the world.