Coupled with the lack of an updated defense research and development (R&D) strategy to help focus U.S. investments and rally the U.S. R&D community, inefficiencies in the U.S. defense technology pipeline (where decades can elapse before an innovation finds its way into the hands of the warfighter), are crippling the technology advantage of the U.S. military. The United States must act purposefully and with urgency to reclaim U.S. leadership in defense innovation and restore America’s technological advantage.
I believe that the biggest national security issue we face is that over 70 percent of young people in New York, and nationwide, are not qualified to serve in the military. One in five New York students does not graduate on time from high school, and among those who do graduate and try to join the military, another one in five cannot pass the military's exam for math, literacy and problem-solving.
Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, former Department of Defense officials said it is still unclear what Trump's specific strategy is for Pentagon spending. They did say innovation will be in the mix, but the question is how it will compete with other priorities and constituencies.
What the Third Offset and its predecessors have done well is identify the strategic imperative for securing a new competitive operational edge through technology. This signaling is critical. It can reassure our allies and deter our adversaries by demonstrating the reliability of future U.S. military dominance. For innovators - whether they are government insiders, denizens of traditional and nontraditional defense industry, or other potential partners - it can serve as a clarion call for bold ideas.
China is taking a page from the Pentagon's playbook under the Obama administration: it's partnering with tech companies to develop more cutting-edge weapons. But China's innovation-focused strategy could elevate the espionage risk to the U.S.
Russia and China are increasingly challenging the military superiority that the United States has held since the early 1990s. Since the end of the Cold War, America’s naval, air, land and space capabilities, paired with key bases in Europe and Asia, has created a strategic advantage over other major superpowers.
Although China could initially only observe the advent of the Information-Technology Revolution in Military Affairs, the People’s Liberation Army might presently have a unique opportunity to take advantage of the military applications of artificial intelligence to transform warfare. When the United States first demonstrated its superiority in network-centric warfare during the first Gulf War, the PLA was forced to confront the full extent of its relative backwardness in information technology.
Getting young people interested in STEM is not just “good business” for our Army Corps of Engineers; it is essential to the strength of our nation. For the Corps of Engineers, being able to recruit and retain high-quality technical professionals is essential if we are to successfully execute our mission: building and operating infrastructure and projects that increase resiliency, energize the national economy and support national defense.
The U.S. government urgently needs to transform its approach to space defense. Slow and onerous procurement processes are stunting the innovation necessary to sustaining the nation’s leadership in the national security space arena.
Last year, for example, Microsoft researchers proclaimed that the company had created software capable of matching human skills in understanding speech. Although they boasted that they had outperformed their United States competitors, a well-known A.I. researcher who leads a Silicon Valley laboratory for the Chinese web services company Baidu gently taunted Microsoft, noting that Baidu had achieved similar accuracy with the Chinese language two years earlier.