“DoD does not have an innovation problem; it has an innovation adoption problem,” reads one of the new recommendations from the Defense Innovation Board. It even has an “innovation theater” problem: the preference for small cosmetic steps over actual change.
President Trump is unveiling a new national security strategy that focuses on ensuring U.S. economic prosperity, defending the homeland and posturing the nation to compete against rising technological powers. In the strategy, the administration coins the phrase, “national security innovation base,” to describe a key asset that the United States must protect.
Department of Defense officials are working to shift focus onto research and development that fosters U.S. military dominance in emerging areas, such as hardened micro-electronics, hypersonics, and offensive and defensive cyber.
America’s military-technological advantage, an aspect of its strategic power since the end of the Cold War, is eroding. In response, the Pentagon launched the third offset strategy in 2014--a department-wide effort to find new ways, both technological and institutional, to leap ahead of its competitors.
A long-held military maxim is to take the high ground and hold it. That may be outdated in today’s electronic and high-tech battlefields, but that notion still holds true for scientific research and engineering. Research is the foundation for engineering invention, and that leadership in engineering underpins our national security and economy. Retaining the high ground in research and engineering is necessary to deter future conflicts, win future wars and maintain our standard of living.
“If we don’t embrace it, our adversaries will,” said outgoing DIA Director, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart. “The fight for remaining relevant in this digital age is what keeps me awake.” And Stewart was clear. It is, in many ways, an arms race. “Our adversaries have been modernizing,” he warned, speaking to a small group of reporters in August, as the agency welcomed private companies and academics to the iHub for a series of so-called Industry Days.
The U.S. military faces substantial difficulties in maintaining its current technological and operational advantages, and must invest in future capabilities for the military challenges of tomorrow. The FY 2018 defense budget request would substantially increase RDT&E spending, adding 11 percent over the FY 2017 appropriations. This brief outlines major RDT&E programs by service, stage of development, and segment, and tracks the shifts compared to prior years.
Artificial intelligence experts shook up the tech world this month when they called for the United Nations to regulate and even consider banning autonomous weapons. Attention quickly gravitated to the biggest celebrity in the group, Elon Musk, who set the Internet ablaze when he tweeted: “If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea.”
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and longtime supporter of directed energy research, announced the $17 million investment during a news conference Wednesday inside a Boeing lab where many of the innovations were developed. The U.S. already has the ability to shoot down enemy rockets and take out other threats with traditional weapons, but Heinrich said it's expensive.
Adm. John Richardson ordered an operational pause in all the fleets around the world while the Navy works to determine the factors behind the collision. Richardson tweeted that the Navy will conduct a wide investigation, including a review into the possibility of "cyber intrusion or sabotage," -- though a Navy official told Fox News on Tuesday any possible cyber sabotage played "no role" in the USS John S. McCain incident.