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A few days prior to his resignation, Defense Secretary Hagel shed some light on the DoD’s technological vision for the near and distant future.
In the decades following the end of World War II, U.S. military efforts to contain the Soviet Union resulted in the creation of breakthrough technologies like GPS and modern computers, as well as capabilities such as global nuclear deterrence. What are the game-changing innovations that will yield similar decisive advantage in the decades to come? What’s the GPS of 2030?
Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Saturday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the Defense Innovation Initiative to find answers to those questions. It’s the next step in developing a long-term plan to “offset,” or effectively neutralize, the technological advancements of other foes or nations.
Hagel and DOD officials have been discussing the so-called third offset strategy for months without giving up any specifics as to how they intend to achieve offset innovation. In his speech, Hagel provided a small glimpse into the fields that will attract special Defense Department attention as part of the strategy: “robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, big data, and advanced manufacturing, including 3-D printing.”
Those fields indicate that when the strategy is finalized, the military’s research and development budget, especially in automation and robotics, could see a boost.
Hagel’s speech Saturday, while short, is significant in the way that it highlights robotics and autonomous systems as keys to achieving a third offset.
“This program will look toward the next decade and beyond. In the near-term, it will invite some of the brightest minds from inside and outside government to start with a clean sheet of paper and assess what technologies and systems DOD ought to develop over the next three to five years,” he said.
Secretary Hagel outlined four components of the new regime for DefenseOne:
- More use of modular and open systems architectures
- Providing industry with draft requirements earlier
- Removing obstacles to procuring commercial items
- Improving our technology search and outreach in global markets