Panting warnings that the United States is falling dangerously behind our opponents in the race for military innovation are commonplace. The United States is a strange country in which outside critics and defense insiders, both in government and in private industry, are quick to attack the very innovation system that has produced the many incredible weapons that give the United States its global reputation for military-technological leadership.
It is a non-nuclear weapon that theoretically can hit any target around the world in one hour -- while evading the most modern of missile defense systems. The Russians on Wednesday paraded one in Red Square, and China is aggressively pursuing a development program for its own variant. In the race to develop hypersonic weapons, the Pentagon finds itself in an unfamiliar place: trailing its two main military rivals in a cutting-edge military technology and scrambling to catch up.
The United States military is losing the innovation battle. This is not hyperbole. Ellen Lord, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, made this point last December. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, she said, “The current pace at which we develop advanced capability is being eclipsed by those nations that pose the greatest threat to our security, seriously eroding our measure of overmatch.”
Davidson also told the committee that he believed China was "stealing technology in just about every domain and trying to use it to their advantage." "One of the main concerns that we have is cyber and penetration of dot-com networks, exploiting technology from our defense contractors in some instances," Davidson said when asked what means China was using to steal technology.
The program, Microsoft Software & Systems Academy, now has 14 locations, boasts a 93 percent graduation rate, and has the capacity to graduate around 1,000 students each year. "Veterans are a talent pool we haven't sought in the past," says Microsoft's Vice President of Military Affairs Chris Cortez. "And the military vets very much represent our diverse country."
The next thing in space-based weapons could be decades old, according to Michael Griffin, the first defense undersecretary for research and engineering. “Directed energy is more than just big lasers,” Griffin said. “That’s important. High-powered microwave approaches can effect an electronics kill.
After teasing a potential veto of the colossal $1.3 trillion omnibus, President Donald Trump signed the spending bill into law Friday, touting it as a "matter of national security." "We had no choice but to fund our military because we have to have by far the strongest military in the world," Trump said during an impromptu White House press event. "You see the players out there, and you see what we are dealing with."
Google’s artificial intelligence technologies are being used by the US military for one of its drone projects, causing controversy both inside and outside the company. Google’s TensorFlow AI systems are being used by the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Project Maven, which was established in July last year to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyse the vast amount of footage shot by US drones.
Independent and Western observers have not yet verified the claim. But the Russian program does exist. Last April, Almaz-Antey general designer Pavel Sozinov told Russian news agency Ria Novosti that Russian leadership had ordered the company to develop weapons that could interfere electronically with or achieve “direct functional destruction of those elements deployed in orbit.”
Four years ago, planners at the Pentagon reviewed estimates of China’s growing military investments with what one called a “palpable sense of alarm.” China, the planners determined, was making advances that would erode America’s military might--its ability to project power far from its shores. [wsj subscription required]