The Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation at Stanford
penitus cogitare, cito agere – think deeply, act quickly
75 years ago, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) helped kickstart innovation in Silicon Valley with a series of grants to Fred Terman, Dean of Stanford’s Engineering school. Terman used the money to set up the Stanford Electronics Research Lab. He staffed it with his lab managers who built the first electronic warfare and electronic intelligence systems in WWII. This lab pushed the envelope of basic and applied research in microwave devices and electronics and within a few short years made Stanford a leader in these fields. The lab became ground zero for the wave of Stanford’s entrepreneurship and innovation in the 1950’s and 60’s and helped form what would later be called Silicon Valley.
75 years later, ONR just laid down a bet again, one we believe will be equally transformative. They’re the first sponsors of the new Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation at Stanford that Joe Felter, Raj Shah, and I have started.
A Gordian Knot is a metaphor for an intractable problem. Today, the United States is facing several seemingly intractable national security problems simultaneously.
We intend to help solve them in Stanford’s Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation. Our motto of penitus cogitare, cito agere, think deeply, act quickly, embraces our unique intersection of deep problem understanding, combined with rapid solutions. The Center combines six unique strengths of Stanford and its location in Silicon Valley.
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