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SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite and Starshield Chief Engineer, Armor Harris, Joins Shield AI

From another company’s Slack: “…a big meeting in 2018 with Starlink in absolute shambles. Elon asks if anyone at the table can do a better job. A 24-year-old Armor Harris raises his hand. Elon gives him the job. Immediately made a director of all Starlink bus engineering. Absolutely crushes it for the next 6 years.” 

I had not heard this story until last week, but it was fun to hear that Armor’s origin story is that of folklore at SpaceX and known in engineering circles. That note comes from a screenshot I received after Armor recently wrote about his decision to join Shield AI. If you read Armor’s post in its entirety, I think you will see the thoughtfulness, logic, and personal ethos that Ryan, and our engineering leadership, and I learned about during the recruiting process. One portion of his note stood out to me above the rest:  

The adversaries of the free world are investing as much as they can muster in the key weapon systems of the future, the drone and other autonomous systems. If the free world is to enjoy the way of life that it has had over the last several decades, it must regain unquestionable superiority in autonomous defense systems.” 

It stood out to me because as a parent and a former SEAL, I think and am concerned about the future of our country and the values she stands for that have served as a beacon of hope, stability, and virtue for the rest of the world – that all are created equal and endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s hard not to worry as we are bombarded constantly by negativity and hate, people plug themselves into their devices and social media for instant gratification almost like a pseudo-Matrix, and the world seems to take for granted all of the sacrifice, toil, and suffering that has taken us to the most advanced period in human history. 

But what assuages my worries, are extraordinary people like Armor – who not only represent the best of America, but the best of humanity – and their decision to pursue something greater than themselves, no matter the risk, the fear, or uncertainty. That courage, grit, and fighting spirit are no different than the courage exemplified by our founding father’s decision to declare independence, the grit that got us to the moon, or the fighting spirit of so many American leaders and teams that have ushered in incredible human achievement across disciplines.  

And I’m blessed to get to work with extraordinary people every day – our Shield AI team, our military’s men and women, and our allies and partners’ armed forces – defining the state-of-the-arton a mission that matters.             

Armor and his team achieved legendary things at SpaceX. But he joined Shield and we worked hard to recruit him, not for what he did, but for what he and the team he leads will achieve. It won’t be easy, but I couldn’t be more excited about what Armor and the Shield AI team will be building over the coming years. As Armor puts it in his note, “Shield AI is the best positioned company to develop the mass-produced, highly capable autonomous aircraft needed for effective deterrence in the Pacific, Middle East, and Europe. Shield AI has the right team and the right tech at the right time.”     

Welcome aboard Armor Harris, LFG! 

The Greatest Victory Requires No War.

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