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When WWII started, America did not have an industrial base equipped for the fight, partially due to our nation’s lack of immediate involvement. As Arthur Herman writes in Freedom’s Forge, many were comforted by the illusion of Mobilization-Day, or M-day, where the government would, when necessary, “effortlessly mobilize an economy of war with the throw of a fiscal switch.” But M-day was a myth. Although America ultimately was successful in mobilizing its industrial base in an unprecedented way to reboot the arsenal of democracy and outproduce the enemy, it took 18 months: “One year to build new plants and retool the old ones, 6 months for conversion.” Fortunately, the U.S. had the luxury of time, as war production ramped under Lend-Lease and supplied the Allies while we were still at peace.

The defense tech ecosystem doesn’t have the same luxury of time afforded to WWII — it needed to get to scale yesterday. We must once again mobilize our industrial base in a novel way, but this time with the recognition that software is the accelerant.

M-Day was Yesterday

First Breakfast is written by Shyam Sankar, Chief Technology Officer of Palantir, Madeline Zimmerman, Greg Little, other Palantir employees and guest authors. This site and all content on this site are provided on an “as-is” basis without warranty of any kind, including as to the reliability, accuracy, timeliness, or completeness of such content, and any and all guarantees and warranties, express or implied, are specifically disclaimed by Palantir and the authors of this site. This site may provide links to third-party sites or resources. By accessing this site, you agree and acknowledge that Palantir and the authors of this site are not responsible or liable for, nor do they endorse, any such third-party sites or resources or content that may be accessed or made available via this site. All trademarks and other intellectual property are owned by their respective owners. The views and opinions expressed in any articles by non-Palantir authors are those of the author and not necessarily those of Palantir or its employees.

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From Last Supper to First Breakfast: The Defense Tech Ecosystem


CTO, Palantir Technologies
Defense Tech Solutionist
Senior Counselor at Palantir