The Pitfalls and Possibilities of the Measurement Revolution for National Security by Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Liam Collins, Kristen G. DeCaires, and Jacob N. Shapiro
France's Counterterrorism Efforts in West Africa and the Sahel with Michael Shurkin
Pentagon AI Efforts Disorganized: RAND
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: "A congressionally mandated study warns the Defense Department's current efforts to harness artificial intelligence are “significantly challenged” by shortfalls in organization, planning, data, and talent, and testing, setting the stage for changes in the next defense policy and spending bills."
Breaking D’s 2019 Top Five: From Multi-Domain Ops To Killer Robots
Breaking D has been at the forefront in reporting the Pentagon’s shift toward a new way of war, Multi-Domain Operations, since Day 1.
Bringing Back the Punitive Expedition
By Kevin Benson, Modern War Institute: "A punitive expedition results in a measured, relatively swift, focused response. It can be of some duration but only long enough to achieve the policy ends of punishing the group that threatened U.S. interests or caused U.S. casualties. There is no regime change, no re-ordering of the existing power structure in a region."
The Future of War Technology Whispers to Us From the Past, and We Must Listen Better by Alexander Kott
EXCLUSIVE Killing Cruise Missiles: Pentagon To Test Rival Lasers
DoD is finalizing contracts for three competing demonstrators, aiming for a 300-kilowatt weapon by 2022 and 500 kW by 2024, laser R&D director Thomas Karr told us.
Artificial Intelligence and the Adversary
What will Beijing do with the data it stole about American military service members and others?
AI: In Defence of Uncertainty
By David Whetham & Kennneth Payne, Defence-In-Depth: "Military planners have been seeking the Holy Grail of being able to see through the fog of war that introduces so much uncertainty and doubt into military decision making. Whether this was the Revolution in Military Affairs or Network Centric Warfare, the tantalising promise of reducing friction has been extremely attractive. AI appears to offer the same thing today ..."
MDA Kickstarts New Way To Kill Hypersonic Missiles
It looks like the military is taking a regional approach to hypersonic missile defense, while it continues to pursue a space sensor layer for homeland defense.
Best of 2019: The Technology of Defense
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One: "Here’s a look back at some of the top defense-technology-related stories of the year."
Top Stories 2019: International Operations
By Ben Werner, USNI News: "The U.S. Navy pushed its interoperability with foreign allies and partner nations in 2019 to counter increased naval activity by Russia and China."
Nanotechnology Is Shaping the Hypersonics Race
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One: "A protective coating of carbon nanotubes may help the Pentagon field warplanes and missiles that can survive the intense heat generated at five times the speed of sound."
China’s Achilles’ Heel When It Comes to Cyberspace
By Mark Pomerleau, Fifth Domain: "If “mutually assured cyber destruction" were to occur, one Marine Corps leader said, authoritarian nations such as China might have more to lose than the United States."
Benefits and Pitfalls of Data-Based Military Decisionmaking
By Scott S. Haraburda, Small Wars Journal: "Recently, senior Army leaders demanded visualized access to massive amounts of data to enhance their decisionmaking, which quickly morphed into an ambition project called Army Leader Dashboard."
U.S. Electronic Warfare: You’re Doing It Wrong
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: "Despite rising budgets and high-level attention to electronic warfare, the Pentagon’s “efforts have been unfocused and are likely to fail,” warns a congressionally mandated study out today. What the US needs, the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments report says, is a radically new approach that can outfox Russia and China."
How Nanotech Will Help the U.S. Military Reach Mach 5
By Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics: "Materials engineered at the atomic level will enable hypersonic weapons to survive punishing heat and stress."
How to Respond to Russia’s INF Treaty Violation
By Gary Schmitt, RealClearDefense: “When The New York Times reported that Russia had likely deployed a nuclear-armed cruise missile in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.”
The Art of Command, The Science of AI
Future commanders will need to know how to use artificial intelligence to make decisions—including when not to trust it. But how do you decide?
Modernizing U.S. Army Reconnaissance and Security for Great Power Conflict
By Nathan Jennings, Military Review: "The U.S. Army is currently grappling with a critical gap in its capability to win expeditionary wars against near-peer adversaries"
As it grapples with the advent of Multi-Domain Operations (MDO), NATO is asking industry how companies can help ensure interoperability among allied fighters, tankers and airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms. – Breaking Defense
‘Bob, How Do We Bottle This?’ Making Infantry As Good As Special Ops
Our elite close combat forces are outnumbered. As a national priority we must increase the numbers of those capable of doing these hazardous jobs by transferring the skills of JSOC warriors to Army and Marine conventional infantrymen.
Incorporating Uncertainty Into the Navy's Force Structure Assessment
By Jack McKechnie, CIMSEC: "The U.S. Navy has perhaps the toughest problem among the U.S. armed services for planning long-term force structure. Navy ships and submarines are much more expensive and require far longer times to procure compared to the military equipment of the other services."
Hypersonic Weapons: Tactical Uses and Strategic Goals
By Alan Cummings, War on the Rocks: "Hypersonic flight is not new. The V-2 rocket and the vast majority of the ballistic missiles that it inspired achieved hypersonic speeds (i.e., speeds faster than the speed of sound or Mach 5+) as they fell from the sky, as did crewed aircraft like the rocket-powered X-15."
U.S. Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Weapons Dangerously Entangled
By James M. Acton & Nick Blanchette, Foreign Policy: "In October 1973, an unreliable radiation detector could have caused the end of the world."
OSD & Joint Staff Grapple With Joint All-Domain Command
The armed services agree they need to work together better — they just don’t agree on how. Now the Joint Staff is taking a hand.
By Gregory Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs.1 The sole object of power is the imposition of will. Now, finally, technologies are beginning to exist which take much of that task of “imposing will” away from physical force capabilities and into the realm of information dominance — ID — systems and doctrine.
This very fact must transform the way national security forces think about deterrence, power projection, nation-building, and defense. ID is at the core of the entire govern-mental and social structure, and therefore determines the stability of currencies and economies. It can be used to build national cohesion, and erode it in opposing nations.
ID warfare has its own set of technological capabilities, firmly rooted in all uses of the electronic spectrum. This has only been possible as a result of scientific advances over the past century.
So now, for the first time in a century or more, defense procurement and acquisition strategies must account for threats and operational responsibilities which extend be-yond the conventional, kinetic defense spectrum.
At the same time, because of sociological and population changes, alliance structures which have been in place for decades are now under extreme pressure, and in many areas may have lost their utility. When great sociological and historical upheavals occur, the threat of change creates uncertainty among populations, and this automatically trig-gers a turn away from globalist thinking toward nationalism. This has been the case throughout history. It is the case now, as we enter a period of great upheaval in the bal-ance of power.
This means, as we enter a period of greater emphasis on state sovereignty (national-ism), that self-reliance in national security will become of primary importance. It does not, however, afford us the luxury of abandoning entirely old alliances, nor even of abandoning entirely the doctrine, force structures, and technological patterns on which we have relied. But we will now need to look at new frameworks which accommodate hybrid and proxy conflict in both the military and social spectra.
Air Force ABMS: One Architecture To Rule Them All?
The Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System is growing from an alternative to JSTARS to a multi-domain mega-network to connect all four services in future wars. Is this a revolution or overreach?
Israel Tests New Air-Ground Tactics Vs. Islamic Jihad
The Israeli Air Force just wrapped up a “Blue Flag” wargame with the US & European allies and a real war with Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
Mobile Nuclear Power Will Enable a Logistics Revolution for the Army by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Dan Christman
How Lockheed Martin Is Trying to Link Everything on the Battlefield
By Patrick Tucker, Defense One: "Experiment by experiment, the company is weaving aircraft, ground vehicles, satellites, and the rest into a network that will someday give commanders unprecedented decision-support options."
Soldiers Conduct Call-for-Fire with Robots
By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven: "“We had four robot vehicles conduct a tactical mission while humans were safe in defilade. We built four robots that are refurbished M113 tracked vehicles and we’ve taken two Bradleys -- gutted them -- and turned them into two control vehicles with all kinds of sensors on them.”"
China Seeks AI Without Limits, Ethics: SecDef Esper
Beijing is using artificial intelligence, not only to repress domestic dissidents and minorities, the Defense Secretary said, but to develop and export autonomous weapons.
Innovation IS The New Battlefield: Roper
“It’s not enough to develop and procure systems anymore. We’ve got to get in the business of of buying ideas and generating ideas,” says Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper.
U.S. and China Racing to Weaponize AI
By Bill Gertz, Asia Times: "The Pentagon is racing to outpace China in building military artificial intelligence (AI) systems ranging from vehicle maintenance to advanced warfighting tools like cyber weapons and drones, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper."
Confessions of a Failed Strategist
By Jobie Turner, War Room: "In the Pentagon everyone fancies themselves a strategist. Every graduate of professional military education, every contractor with a new weapon system, every think-tank or consultancy pundit: all feel that if they were only given the chance, they could impose order with the right “big idea.”"
AI and Irregular Warfare: An Evolution, Not a Revolution
Edit by Daniel Egel, Eric Robinson, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Charles T. Cleveland, and Christopher (CJ) Oates
With AI, We’ll See Faster Fights, but Longer Wars by Dr. Margarita Konaev
'Augmented Intelligence Warrior':
An Artificial-Intelligence and Machine-Learning Roadmap for the Military
By Scott Humr, Modern War Institute: "Changes in military technological paradigms have a way of sneaking up on us. Complacency, rooted in confirmation bias, can always encourage the belief that new technologies will not change the character or war. Yet, the ascent of artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies have the potential to upend the current status quo character of war."
A host of ‘smarticles’ could give soldiers shape-shifting robots for future missions
(Army Times) Soldiers today can launch pocket-sized drones to check out terrain ahead of them. But if a promising Army project proves out, a future soldier might deploy a host of “shape-shifting” particles that form themselves into whatever they need to accomplish the mission.
Who will help track hypersonic threats from space?
(C4ISRNET) The Missile Defense Agency has selected four companies to develop prototype sensors capable of detecting and tracking hypersonic weapons from space, the agency announced Oct. 29.
This laser-equipped dune buggy will destroy drones
(C4ISRNET) Under a clear sky on a distant battlefield in a not-too-distant future, American soldiers may find themselves beset by a surprise swarm of drones. Signalling for help, their salvation may come in the form of a specially equipped dune buggy, its lasers blasting multiple drones out of the sky every minute.
Will the Pentagon adopt these five AI principles?
(C4ISRNET) A military advisory committee endorsed a list Oct. 31 of principles for the use of artificial intelligence by the Department of Defense, contributing to an ongoing discussion on the ethical use of AI and AI-enabled technology in both combat and non-combat purposes.
5 concerns the US must tackle to compete in AI
(C4ISRNET) A group of technology experts chartered by Congress to guide American efforts in artificial intelligence have released their initial report on how to ensure AI development stays on track inside the United States. And, overall, there’s a lot of work to do.
Charting the Future of Education for the Navy-Marine Corps Team by John Kroger
First, Manage Security Threats to Machine Learning by Rand Waltzman and Thomas Szayna
The Real Value of Artificial Intelligence in Nuclear Command and Control by Philip Reiner and Alexa Wehse
DISA efforts bolster electromagnetic spectrum superiority
(C4ISRNET) Unlike in the counterinsurgency fight of the last 18 years, the Department of Defense’s focus on Russia and China has forced leaders to confront the idea that the military may not be superior in all aspects of war. This may be especially true in the electromagnetic spectrum.
It’s not all Trump’s fault: Syria shows the danger of war on the cheap
(Defense One) As ISIS spread its caliphate to large swaths of the Middle East in 2014, the Obama administration and its European allies faced a challenge: how to meet this new threat in a political environment that disfavored large military deployments à la Iraq and Afghanistan.
National Security Commission on AI Releases Interim Report
By Yasmin Tadjdeh, National Defense Magazine: "A much-anticipated interim report from the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence — which was tasked by Congress to research ways to advance the development of AI for national security and defense purposes — was released Nov. 4."
Navy’s Secretive Program to Project False Fleets From Drone Swarms
By Brett Tingley, The WarZone: "The U.S. Navy has been quietly developing what could be one of the most important, transformative, and fascinating advances in naval combat, and warfare in general, in years. This new electronic warfare "system of systems" has been clandestinely refined over the last five years ..."
Army Evaluating Advanced Fire Control Optics for Non-Infantry Soldiers
By Matthew Cox, Military.com: "Army infantry officials at Fort Benning, Georgia, are testing a handful of advanced fire control optics in an effort to one day help non-combat arms soldiers shoot more accurately against close-quarter and long-range enemy targets."
AFTER THE PATRIOT MISSILE SYSTEM; THE EXOSKELETON GROWS, ARMY MOVES OUT FROM PROCUREMENT IN MATERIALS COMMAND & MORE. . .
LTAMDS: Raytheon To Build Linchpin Of Army Air & Missile Defense
Unlike Patriot, LTAMDS can watch for drones, missiles, and planes coming from all directions at once. A single LTAMDS side panel is twice as powerful as the entire Patriot radar.
Raytheon's Next Patriot Radar Will Eliminate a Blind Spot
By Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One: "Unlike the current Patriot radar, which is also built by the Massachusetts firm, this one — which the Army calls the Lower Tier Air and Missile Defense Sensor — can see objects approaching it from all directions."
Knees Of Iron: Lockheed’s ONYX Exoskeleton
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: "The Army is intensely interested in issuing the system to its foot troops, especially for urban warfare."
DoD Leaders’ Modernization Plans
Will Require Rethinking How It Partners With Industry
By Dan Gouré, Lexington Institute: "The Pentagon and the Military Services want to modernize faster and cheaper. This means reforming all parts of the acquisition process, from requirements definition and engineering development to contracting, testing and life cycle management."
Projecting Power With the F-35
By Marcus Hellyer, The Strategist (ASPI): "While aerial refuelling can increase a fighter’s time on station, there are limits on how much it can increase range. Even with tanker support the maximum achievable range for the F-35A is between 1,000 and 1,500 kilometres."
Fragments Through a Straw, Darkly: Drone
By Olivia Garard, Strategy Bridge: "“Drone” is a fraught term. In ordinary language, the word refers to the gamut of flying robots. Acronym-less, unlike the unwieldy “unmanned aerial vehicle” (UAV) or the cumbersome “remotely piloted aircraft” (RPA), “drones” range from small commercial quadcopters to robust military aircraft. Outside military circles, the term evokes civilian casualties and unbounded American wrath, irrespective of sovereignty, as much as a seductive solution to wicked problems often kept hidden from the inevitable mess of public accountability."
Army Pushes 600 Programs From Acquisition to Sustainment
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: " The multi-million-dollar move will help Army Futures Command focus on new technology while Army Materiel Command focuses on sustaining the current force."
U.K. Successfully Tests SABRE Hypersonic Engine in Colorado
From The Engineer: "The UK’s Reaction Engines has tested the vital precooler of its SABRE engine in airflow conditions replicating speeds of Mach 5."
Russian Nuclear Force Expansion and the Failure of Arms Control
By Mark B. Schneider, RealClearDefense: "Today, there is a debate over whether we should extend the New START Treaty, amend it to eliminate the loopholes, or try to negotiate an expanded agreement."
Trump's dangerous war on the National Security Council
Hal Brands | Bloomberg Opinion
The Obstacles on the Road to Better Analytical Wargaming by Jon Compton
United Technologies nets $325.2M contract for F-35 depot maintenance
(UPI) The Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corp. was awarded a potential four-year, $325.2 million contract for aircraft maintenance equipment for the F-35 fighter aircraft.
The First Pilotless Black Hawk Will Soon Take Flight
By Oriana Pawlyk, Military.com: "Sikorsky has two goals in mind for its optionally manned S-70 helicopter: to make the autonomous technology easy to retrofit on existing aircraft for users like the U.S. Army, and to give pilots various modes of autonomy so they can commit more time toward their mission."
Dragonflies Studied for Hypersonic Maneuverability
By Connie Lee, National Defense Magazine: "Dragonflies — a common sight in spring and summer — may be key to developing more precise and maneuverable missiles."
Rethink Navy Ballistic Missile Defense
By L. Paul James, Proceedings: "“I want to get out of the long-term missile defense business and move to dynamic missile defense.” In this assessment, the CNO is on the mark. It is time the Navy gets out of the business of defending static land assets and reconsiders how ship-based BMD capabilities can best contribute to countering the missile threat."
A Guide To Military Unmanned Systems On Air, Land And Sea
By Sebastien Roblin, Forbes: "However, the blanket term ‘drones' applies to a bewildering variety of systems that differ radically in form, capability and cost. It also can be applied to unmanned ground vehicles and ships. Naturally, each type comes with its own opaque military acronyms."
Win the Race for Invisibility
By John D. Miller, Proceedings: "Infrared, radar, acoustic, and optical stealth are the new frontier in low-observability, and the winner of the metamaterial competition will have an enormous advantage in the next fight."
Rethinking Air Superiority Acquisition in the United States
By Robert Farley, The Diplomat: "The Century Series is in the news again. As reported at Defense News and AviationWeek, the Air Force is considering a new way of thinking about acquiring its next generation of air superiority aircraft. Instead of a single major project, the idea is now to produce a series of different aircraft, using an entirely new system of design and manufacture."
Drone Technology Proliferation in Small Wars
By Scott Crino & Andy Dreby, Small Wars Journal: "While the Houthis’ drone capability, when compared to other irregular military forces, is without peer in terms of its range and destructiveness; it has evolved to its advanced state, due in large part to the unique circumstances of the Yemen Civil War’s operational environment."
Measuring War: Cognitive Effects in the Age of AI
By Brad DeWees, War on the Rocks: "The only outcome of military action that ultimately matters occurs at a cognitive level — at the level where adversaries perceive and give meaning to actions taken against them. More specifically, the cognitive impact of a military action is the extent to which the action alters an adversary’s belief that he can maximize his own interests through military means."
Are Air Defense Systems Ready to Confront Drone Swarms? by Seth Frantzman
September 26, 2019
Diverse, Layered Missile Defense Is Key to Killing Drone Swarms
By Steven P. Bucci, Defense News: "Effective missile defense systems are not based on one weapon capable of stopping everything. Only diverse, layered and integrated air and missile defense systems in combination can combat all types of incoming attacks."
Beyond the Multi-Domain Model
By Chris Bulow, Grounded Curiosity: "Western militaries are struggling to comprehend how to effectively manage the rapidly changing character of contemporary warfare because the multi-domain model used to explain it is fundamentally flawed."
The Counterrevolution in Naval Affairs
By James Holmes, The National Interest: "The new U.S. Marine Corps commandant, or most senior uniformed official, wants to repeal the post–Cold War revolution that saw the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps turn away from open-ocean combat."
True Civil Affairs Integration: From Three Tribes to One
By Assad A. Raza, Small Wars Journal: "In August of 1998, former Chief of Staff GEN Dennis Reimer published his white paper, One Team, One Fight, One Future, describing the importance for achieving Total Army integration by merging the Army’s three components into one fully integrated service."
Brig. Gen. Gregory Gagnon and Lt. Col. Nishawn Smagh write: The traditional crew-to-aircraft model for exploitation must fast forward to today’s information environment. The Pentagon has shifted its guidance to this new reality. The Defense Department recently declared information a seventh core function, and the Air Force’s formal ISR flight plan maps a course for digital-age capabilities to turn information into intelligence. […]The Department’s focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning in this realm remains stable and necessary. The next step is to retool how we task, organize, and equip both intelligence collection and analytic crews. – C4ISRNET
THE IMPACT A.I. HAS ON NUCLEAR DETERRENCE; THE GROWTH OF THE CIVIL MILITARY DIVIDE & A LOOK AT 6TH GENERATION AIRCRAFT
What to Expect from Sixth-Gen Aircraft
By Jon Harper, National Defense Magazine: “The United States and several European nations are pursuing next-generation fighters. While many details are closely held or are still being fleshed out, a picture is starting to emerge of the capabilities they will possess."
Raytheon Unveils New Air-to-Air Missile Design
By Aaron Mehta, Defense News: “Raytheon has announced the development of a new air-to-air missile, one it claims will be half the size of current weapons but achieve greater speed and maneuverability.”
Electronic Warfare Is Becoming the Most Lethal Counter Drone Technology
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “There is a new urgency to the search for cost-effective counters to the growing threat posed by unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones. Large, high-flying UASs can be countered by anti-aircraft systems, although this is an expensive solution."
Will Artificial Intelligence Imperil Nuclear Deterrence? by Rafael Loss and Joseph Johnson
Rhinestone-Covered Icons at "Russia's Los Alamos" by Anya Loukianova Fink
TNSR: Book Review Roundtable: Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy by Anya Loukianova Fink, Brad Roberts, Irina du Quenoy, Olga Oliker, and Jon Askonas
AI Risks to Nuclear Deterrence Are Real
By Zachary Kallenborn, War on the Rocks: "Why does the United States have so many nukes?"
Multi Domain Operations: Insights From Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin’s Kim Ponders, who’s done much to help me understand the concepts and some of the technology behind Multi-Domain Command and Control (MDC2), explains what the company is doing and answers one crucial question: Is Multi Domain just another Pentagon buzzword.
What Are We Fighting For?
The Political Aim in War and the American Civil-Military Divide
By Donald Stoker, Modern War Institute: “In war there is nothing more important than understanding the political objective or objectives of the combatants involved. This is the why of the war; the reasons the warring states and insurrectionist groups such as Islamic State spill blood and spend treasure."
The U.S. Needs to Choose Its Battles Carefully
By Rod Lyon, The Strategist (ASPI): “Alongside a set of companion documents—the national security strategy, the nuclear posture review and the missile defence review—the NDS outlined the strategic core of the Trump administration’s thinking about defence policy."
Army Multi-Domain Wargame Reveals C2 Shortfalls
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: "In a massive simulated conflict, the human players adapted rapidly to futuristic technologies and tactics. But their command-and-control software couldn't keep up."
WHY THE NEW 'RMA' IS JUST LIKE THE OLD ONE & WHAT OF MISSILES IN THE INDO-PACIFIC AND COUNTER DRONE TECHNOLOGY EMERGES
5 questions for Adrienne Mayor about Ancient Greece’s technological visions of the future
James Pethokoukis | AEIdeas
Nothing New: Why the ‘Revolution’ in Military Affairs Is the Same As the Old One
By Adam Wunische, The National Interest: "The technology-driven revolution in military affairs (RMA), first begun during America’s dominating performance in the First Gulf War, is upon us."
Where Will the U.S. Base Intermediate-Range Missiles in the Pacific?
By Evan Karlik, The Diplomat: "The demise of a landmark arms control accord earlier this month means that U.S. intermediate-range missiles could soon be fielded to the western Pacific, and Pentagon leaders will likely consider Japan's Ryukyu Islands and the Republic of Palau in Micronesia their most viable basing options."
DARPA’s Mosaic Warfare — Multi Domain Ops, But Faster
“Kill webs,” not kill chains. Instead of exquisite platforms like the F-35 fighter, exquisite functional technology nodes (such as an advanced infrared sensor) that can be mixed and matched via AI-enhanced networks.
Major War Game To Jolt 4 Services, Force Decisions
In conflicts of the future the Pentagon will need some radically new thinking.
6 new capabilities powering the unmanned revolution
(C4ISRNET) In July 2018, a remotely piloted aircraft – the MQ-9B SkyGuardian – flew from the United States to the United Kingdom, landing after a 24-hour trans-Atlantic flight using the same routes as manned aircraft.
Pentagon Aims to Sync Counter-Drone Efforts
By Connie Lee, National Defense Magazine: " “One thing that industry, academia, other government agencies inside the department [and] our combatant commanders are all screaming about is, ‘Who's in charge?’ Because nobody's in charge,” said Chris O'Donnell, deputy assistant secretary of defense for platform and weapon portfolio management."
Army Explores Robot Decoys & Cannon-Fired Jamming Pods
Sun Tzu said all warfare is based on deception. Today, that means electronic deception.
Army Tests Dispersed THAAD; Beginning Of Modular Missile Defense?
The potential threat from Chinese batteries will only grow as Beijing continues to militarize small islands outside of its territorial waters, claiming them as their own.
Can the US military combine its many war-fighting concepts? Defense of the Pacific may depend on it.
(Defense News) Defending the Pacific region requires seamless integration between the U.S. military services, but that requires a joint force concept aimed at deterring near-peer competitors across all domains, according to military leaders in charge of strategy and concept development, who spoke Sept. 4 at the Defense News Conference.
DoD Halts Work on Directed-Energy Missile Defense
By Oriana Pawlyk, Military.com: “The Pentagon is shelving a directed-energy program it was hoping to use in space to destroy enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles in their boost phase."
Bioengineering, lasers and more drones: Griffin outlines the Pentagon’s tech wish list
(Defense News) If the U.S. wants to maintain its military edge over competitors Russia and China, it has to be smart with how it invests its relatively limited research and development funds.
What If the U.S. Military Neglects AI? AI Futures and U.S. Incapacity by Zachary Kallenborn
The Great Duality and the Future of the Army: Does Technology Favor the Offensive or Defensive? by Robert Scales
The Rise of Cyber and the Changing Nature of War
By Christopher Wooding, Grounded Curiosity: "The rise of cyber warfare today challenges Clausewitz’s notion of the centrality of violence to the nature of war. It does so because the evolution of technology has enabled the potential for non-violent forms of conflict."
‘Soft Power’ Relies on U.S. Military
By Hal Brands, Bloomberg: "As the U.S. transitions into an era characterized by prolonged twilight struggles — competitions in the space between peace and war — against multiple rivals, entities such as State, the Agency for International Development, and the Commerce and Treasury Departments will increasingly be on the front lines of American policy, with U.S. military power playing its essential role in the background."
AI Will Change War, But Not in the Way You Think by Jonathan Clifford
HOW CHINA OUTPERFORMS INDOPAC COMMAND, NEW IDEAS FOR URBAN COMBAT & REPORT CARD ON ARMY'S FUTURES COMMAND
INDOPACOM Boss: China Close to Surpassing the Command’s Capacity
(Air Force Magazine) China’s military capacity will surpass that of US Indo-Pacific Command within the next few years unless American policy changes significantly, the top US official in the region said.
Army Futures Command’s Report Card After Its First Year
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: “There are even greater challenges on AFC’s horizon. The Army needs to restructure itself into a force capable of conducting large-scale, high-intensity combat in two very different theaters."
Intuition, the City, and War
By Ian Klaus, Modern War Institute: " ... according to UN data, there are around one thousand urban agglomerations with populations of half a million or greater—and they remain difficult to know."
Talisman Sabre: Land-based missiles vs. China
(Breaking Defense) The Army’s experimental Multi-Domain Task Force tested new tactics for Pacific conflict, hand-in-glove with the Marines, Air Force, and Australians.
U.S. test fires new Arrow-3 ballistic interceptor
(Defense News) The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, working with Israeli counterparts, test fired the newest generation of the Arrow-3 missile, meant to intercept incoming rockets at high altitude. Missiles fired from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska in Kodiak. Arrow-3 is part of Israel’s layered defense system that also includes Iron Dome and David’s Sling.
Lasers, microwaves, hypersonics & more: Army RCCTO
(Breaking Defense) The Army’s three-star rapid capabilities chief is rushing to sign a contract on hypersonic missiles in three weeks, announced a new high-energy laser last week and just revealed a plan to build drone-killing microwave weapons — and he’s about to host an industry day asking innovators for even more ideas.
Hypersonics by the dozens: US industry faces manufacturing challenge
(Defense News) The U.S. military is just a few years from launching offensive hypersonic weapons under development and building those initial missiles is one thing. Manufacturing the weapons in multitude is another issue entirely.
Whether it’s satellite communication, position, navigation or timing data or targeting data, Army leaders knows space capabilities can make their job easier. But while the Air Force, Navy and intelligence community operate satellites in space, what is the Army’s role in the fourth domain? – C4ISRNET
U.S. Navy’s Fire Scout Unmanned Helicopter Is Now Operational
By Rich Abott, Rotor&Wing International: "The Navy intends to deploy the MQ-8C with Littoral Combat Ships (LCSs) for reconnaissance, situational awareness, and precision targeting support. Fire Scout will complement the Sikorsky MH-60 manned helicopter by extending the range and endurance of ship-based operations."
Russia’s Swarms of Lethal ‘Jihadi-Style’ Drones
By Zack Doffman, Forbes: "Russia's military has decided to get in on the act, taking a lesson from the militants it has also faced in the Middle East, arming its own miniature (read domestic-sized) drones as a new battlefield tactic."
COIN PLATES AND SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: EXPEDITIONARY WAR MEETS COUNTERINSURGENCY & DRONE SURVEILLANCE ARRIVES
Nearly 40% Lighter Body Armor Coming to Marines in 2020
By Shawn Snow, Marine Corps Times: “The Corps is gearing up to field its new lightweight body armor plates, designed to be worn in the Corps' low intensity or counterinsurgency style conflicts."
Shapes, Part I: The Shape of Airpower by Mike Pietrucha
U.S. Army making synthetic biology a priority
(Breaking Defense) The U.S. Army’s new Futures Command is accelerating research into synthetic biotechnology to help the military develop next-generation living camouflage and other never-before-seen organisms and materials.
The World’s Top Combat Drones
From Army-Technology: "Four of the top ten drones are produced by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. From Predator C Avenger to TAI Anka, Army-technology.com lists the world’s top ten combat drones based on payload capacity and weapons onboard."
Pentagon Seeks Laser-Armed Space Drones to Attack Enemy ICBMs
By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven: "Space-based lasers, potentially operating from drones, bring a range of possibilities to include destroying enemy ICBMs, sensing ICBMs or even countering anti-satellite weapons, developers explain."
The next key to the Army network: air-ground integration
(C4ISRNET) The Army wants greater network integration with its air and ground units and has started working with industry to make that process more seamless.
Army Buys 9,000 Mini-Drones, Rethinks Ground Robots
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: "This summer, Army soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan with air support literally in the palm of their hands: the 1.16-ounce Black Hornet mini-drone. New ground robots are entering service too, next year — not to fight but to haul supplies, at least at first."
Have Strategists Drunk the “AI Race” Kool-Aid? by Zac Rogers
The Revenge of Geography in Cyberspace
By Katherine Mansted, Strategy Bridge: "The reality is, geography and borders never stopped mattering in the information age."
The Unfortunate Operational Level
By Jonathan L, Defence-In-Depth: "Is the operational level the hub where all operations are managed, or is it the level of command of a single operation, or is it a little of both?"
DARPA Challenge: Underground War Robots
By Greg Nichols, ZDNet: "The SubT Challenge is DARPA's latest foray into next gen robotics. Here's why the future of robotic warfare might be subterranean."
The Navy wants to develop and procure three new types of unmanned vehicles (UVs) in FY2020 and beyond—Large Unmanned Surface Vehicles (LUSVs), Medium Unmanned Surface Vehicles (MUSVs), and Extra-Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (XLUUVs). The Navy is requesting $628.8 million in FY2020 research and development funding for these three UV programs and their enabling technologies. – USNI News
What’s so sweet about sugar cube-sized robots?
(C4ISRNET) If there is anything the future is lacking, it’s robots the size of Chiclets. Draper Labs, working under a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is creating centimeter-sized robots, for future use in rescue work. The project is named “SHort-Range Independent Microrobotic Platforms,” or “SHRIMP” for short.
SOCOM’s Iron Man Must Die, So Iron Man Spinoffs Might Live
By Paul McLeary
Special Operations leaders are breaking their “Iron Man” project into its component parts, creating what they see as a “Hyper Enabled Operator.”
The Air Force's Next Quadcopter
By Kelsey Reichmann, C4ISRNET: "The MK-3 GEN4-D1 is part of the InstantEye digital fleet."
Skyborg details revealed
(Defense News) Find out the details on how the Air Force wants to use wingman drones.
V-280 competes agility tests
(Defense News) The Bell V-280 Valor has completed agility tests, completing its primary flight test program.
Horns of a Dilemma: Past and Present – How the Idea of National Security Has Shifted Over Time by Andrew Preston
Three new ship-based weapons being developed by the Navy—solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG), and the gun-launched guided projectile (GLGP), also known as the hypervelocity projectile (HVP)—could substantially improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against surface craft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and eventually anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs). – USNI News
Under Skyborg program, F-35 and F-15EX jets could control drone sidekicks
(Defense News) The F-35 and F-15EX fighter jets could get drone wingmen in the coming years, the U.S. Air Force’s top acquisition official revealed to Defense News.
Pentagon Jumpstarts Hypersonic Targeting, Electronic Warfare, C2
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Can a new kind of contract get key cutting-edge technologies across the bureaucratic “valley of death” before the Russians and Chinese lap the US?
A Century Of Ideas: Technology, Innovation, And The Future Of The US Economy
via The Hoover Centennial
This session will discuss the historical sources of prosperity in the United States and will look at the drivers of prosperity over the next century. Panelists will also address the ongoing debate about the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics on standards of living and the relevant facts and data to consider.
Decision Maneuver: Next Revolution in Military Affairs
By Bryan Clark, Dan Pratt & Harrison Schramm, Over the Horizon: "U.S. military leaders expressed alarm during Congressional hearings last month about the erosion of American military superiority against great power rivals China and Russia. To arrest the slide, they proposed an expensive “kitchen sink” of potential solutions, including growing the force, buying new weapons, improving training for operators, increasing maintenance, and fielding more autonomous systems."
Net Assessment: The Revolution in Military Affairs – Is Anything Different This Time? by Melanie Marlowe, Bryan McGrath, and Christopher Preble
The Pentagon Has a Defenseless Approach to 5G
By Harold Furchtgott-Roth, RealClearDefense: "America’s enemies will laugh with anticipated victory when they read of Pentagon recommendations for 5G: sharing and operating in a “post-Western” environment."
The Army’s “Multi-Domain Operations in 2028” Is an Important Doctrinal Development
By Dan Gouré, RealClearDefense: "The Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, framed the challenge that MDO 2028 is intended to address in the most straightforward and easy-to-understand way: “The military problem we face is defeating multiple layers of standoff in all domains in order to maintain the coherence of our operations.”"
Scaling the Levels of War:
The Strategic Major and the Future of Multi-Domain Operations
By Heather Venable & Jared R. Donnelly, War on the Rocks: "In many ways, multi-domain operations represent a more sophisticated conceptualization of joint operations, but it is also context agnostic in that it is not meant to be a response to a specific strategic challenge."
U.S. Army’s Missile Defense Radar Advances Into Prototype Competition
By Jen Judson, Defense News: "The request, posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website on May 14, comes as the Army for well over a decade has struggled to procure a new radar for its integrated air and missile defense system meant to replace the Patriot AMD system."
LTG Wesley: Future Fight Will Be Systems vs. Systems
By Todd South, Army Times: “The future fight, especially in the vast expanse of the Pacific region, will not focus on which units go where and which types of units attack enemy formations. Instead, the deputy commander of the Army’s newest command said, it will be about systems attacking systems."
DARPA's AI-Enabled ‘Breakthrough’ Cyberattack ‘Hunting’ Technology
By Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven: "DARPA and BAE Systems are prototyping a new AI-empowered cybersecurity technology to fight new waves of highly sophisticated cyberattacks specifically engineered to circumvent the best existing defenses."
The U.S. Navy’s Director of Surface Warfare is ready to bet the farm on using lasers to shoot down missiles. The outgoing head of the Chief of Naval Operations’ surface warfare directorate Rear Adm. Ron Boxall said the Navy is going to get its High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance system on the Hawaii-based destroyer Preble in 2021, a moment that he compared with Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez ordering his own ships scuttled to motivate his men. – Defense News
John Schaus writes: Since October, U.S. Army War College researchers have looked into Indo-Pacific theater design at and beyond 2028 on behalf of the Secretary of the Army. Though we have found that U.S. and partner forces have an impressive body of work under way, it is clear that the Army must change across five major elements of design: strategy and operational concepts; forces and capabilities; footprint and presence; authorities, permissions, and agreements; and mission command arrangements. – Defense One
If DARPA Has Its Way, AI Will Rule the Wireless Spectrum
By Paul Tilghman, IEEE Spectrum: “DARPA’s Spectrum Collaboration Challenge demonstrates that autonomous radios can manage spectrum better than humans can ."
Scaling the Levels of War: The Strategic Major and the Future of Multi-Domain Operations
by Heather Venable and Jared R. Donnelly
Horns of a Dilemma: Seeing Beyond the Horizon – Intelligence Challenges in a Rapidly Changing World by Susan Gordon and Stephen Slick
How AI Could Change The Art Of War
By Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: "“I’m not talking about killer robots,” said Prof. Andrew Hill, the War College’s first-ever chair of strategic leadership and one of the conference’s lead organizers, at the opening session. The Pentagon wants AI to assist human combatants, not replace them. The issue is what happens once humans start taking military advice — or even orders — from machines."
Five Eyes Must Lead on 5G
By Mike Gallagher & Tom Tugendhat, War on the Rocks: "If the United States and United Kingdom do not lead their partners in the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance and NATO in an effort to secure 5G networks, no one will."
Tactical Risk in Multi-Domain Operations
By Kevin Benson, Modern War Institute: "I believe history does not repeat itself, but as Mark Twain pointed out at times it does rhyme. Once again in my life our Army is reassessing how it will fight large-scale ground combat operations against peer and near-peer adversaries, possibly while outnumbered."
Russia’s Sudden Change of Heart on AI
By Dov S. Zakheim, The Hill: "The Russians once again have found they cannot seriously compete with the US or China in an AI arms race."
How To Wage Global Cyber War: Nakasone, Norton, & Deasy
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
The military needs a globe-spanning network to counter threats that no single theater command can cope with. That takes more than just technology.
All This ‘Innovation’ Won’t Save the Pentagon
By Zachery Tyson Brown, Defense One: “The Defense Department, a hierarchy fixated on technology, is unequipped to confront a world of disruptive challenges."
DARPA, Army Teaming to Pursue New Swarming Capabilities
By Connie Lee, National Defense Magazine: “The concept involves outfitting about 200 to 300 soldiers with a large number of autonomous platforms that have sensors and kinetic and non-kinetic weapons>"
AFRL Needs Specialized Autonomy Team to Drive Progress
By Rachel S. Cohen, Air Force Magazine: “A new Air Force report suggests elevating a cross-cutting Air Force Research Laboratory team to “prioritize and coordinate” the lab’s entire autonomy portfolio at a crucial moment for development in that area."
The Army wants a way to map underground tunnels using ground robots and drones
(Army Times) The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force is looking to industry for a portable way for soldiers to map remote tunnels using either ground robots or drones, and they want it fast.
The defense community suffered a grave loss on the morning of Tuesday, March 26, with the passing of Andrew W. Marshall at age 97.The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) and the Congressionally mandated 2018 NDS Commission refocused U.S. defense planning on the need to compete with, and potentially fight, China and Russia. Although the latter stressed the urgent need for additional resources for defense, it also acknowledged that bigger budgets would likely prove insufficient to support the national defense strategy. Needed are new ways of war that can bridge the gap between our ends and our means. To date, however, the Pentagon has been silent on the topic of innovative operational concepts: what they should be and who should develop them. The Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that Congress is currently considering offers an opportunity to spur needed action in this area.
The U.S. strategic community took a quarter-century respite from thinking seriously about great-power competition and conflict after the end of the Cold War. In the 1990s, it reveled in notions of the "unipolar moment" and the "end of history." Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, it was consumed with the need to defeat irregular adversaries who lacked the ability to contest U.S. supremacy in any domain of warfare. The need to win the wars we were already fighting took precedence over the responsibility to prepare for the very different wars we might have to fight in the future. In such an environment, the Defense Department embraced, explicitly or implicitly, a series of optimistic strategic assumptions, to include:
U.S. force planning relied upon similarly rosy operational assumptions, to include:
Developing innovative operational concepts and fielding new organizations and capabilities to overcome these challenges should become the urgent focus of Defense Department investment. In an era of constrained resources, those concepts and capabilities that offer the greatest strategic and operational leverage should receive preferential funding over those that do not.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff should lead the development of joint operational concepts, including efforts both to use existing capabilities in new and innovative ways as well as to craft roles for truly new capabilities. Congress can spark the development of innovative operational concepts by requiring and funding experiments and demonstrations and demanding realistic assessments of them.
Potential innovative programs where the Defense Department can begin these experiments include:
Neutralizing Anti-Access/Area-Denial Threats through Long-Range, Multi-Dimensional Strike. Several subordinate efforts appear particularly promising.
First, the U.S. government purchased two X-47B stealthy unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology demonstrator aircraft before terminating the program. The Defense Department could use the aircraft to develop innovative concepts of operations for stealthy land- and sea-based unmanned systems, to include the value of autonomy in such systems as well as the use of innovative logistical concepts to extend their range.
Second, the Navy is procuring three DDG-1000 Zumwalt class surface vessels. The attributes of these ships, to include their stealth, large displacement, and electric propulsion, make them both unique as surface combatants as well as potentially valuable assets for experimentation. The Defense Department could use the ships to develop concepts of operations for operating within range of an adversary's anti-access/area-denial capabilities. Specifically, they could be used to determine the value of stealthy surface combatants for conducting anti-air, anti-surface, and strike warfare in denied environments.
Third, the Defense Department is currently procuring a new Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), which should provide a highly capable weapon against enemy ships. However, current plans call for the missile to be carried by three aircraft, the B-1B, F/A-18E/F, and F-35, which will be increasingly challenged to operate in the Western Pacific due to growing threats to aircraft, tankers, and bases in that region. Accordingly, the Defense Department should develop concepts to integrate LRASM onto the B-2 stealth bomber, which has the range and survivability that may be needed to reach Chinese or Russian shipping in defended waters. Should the concept prove successful, LRASM could subsequently be integrated onto the forthcoming B-21 bomber, which should be available in greater numbers than the B-2 for missions such as maritime strike.
Creating Anti-Access/Area Denial Challenges for Competitors. Each of the Services is developing capabilities that could be used to create anti-access challenges for competitors. The Army and Marine Corps are both exploring deploying land-based anti-ship missiles such as LRASM, the Naval Strike Missile, and Maritime Strike Tomahawk; the Navy is modernizing its anti-ship and land-attack capabilities; and, as described above, the Air Force plans to equip some of its aircraft with anti-ship missiles. Deployed in the First and Second Island Chains and fed by ISR and targeting information from UASs such as the MQ-9, such capabilities could reassure allies and deter China from committing aggression. Further experiments and demonstrations could yield innovative operational concepts for linking U.S. and allied forward-based and expeditionary land-based precision strike systems with sea-based munitions and tactical aircraft. Such experiments could yield new concepts for projecting and sustaining forces in A2/AD environments as well as reinforcing and sustaining forward engaged forces.
Protecting Critical Bases of Operations Against Salvo Attacks. The United States should develop innovative operational concepts for defending those bases. Such defenses could include medium-range high-energy lasers (HEL), high-power microwave (HPM) systems, guided projectiles launched by rapid- ring guns, and low-cost surface-to-air missiles. Unmanned and manned aircraft carrying extended- range air-to-air missiles and equipped with wide-area surveillance sensors, HELs, and possibly HPM systems could further extend the range and increase the threat engagement capacity of a base salvo defense complex.[ii]
Establishing Survivable C4ISR Networks. The Defense Department should develop innovative operational concepts and business practices to allow it to develop rapidly new space capabilities and to launch them on relatively short notice. Such an approach could include not just the development of innovative practices, but also relationships with civilian space industry. It should also explore alternatives to space for services such as communications; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; and precision navigation. For example, the Defense Department should experiment with the use of UASs such as the MQ-9 to provide such services in a space-denied environment. Indeed, UASs can provide these capabilities at a much lower cost than launching new satellites. Such initiatives would yield insight into the capabilities needed to enhance the capability and survivability of space systems and the services they provide, as well as new ways to leverage interoperable joint C4ISR in the face of adversary threats.
The development of new concepts and conclusion of experiments are not ends in and of themselves. Too often, military experiments have been side projects that create a façade of innovation without actually having any substantial impact. As a result, the forces and capabilities we have today-and are currently procuring-are out of alignment with the world of 2019 and beyond. The objective of concept development and experimentation must be to inform major shifts in investment and force structure toward the forces and capabilities that can bring the U.S. military back into alignment with the operational challenges it faces.
Thomas G. Mahnken is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and a Senior Research Professor at the Merrill Center for Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS. From 2006 to 2009 he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy planning. He is editor of a forthcoming volume on the theory and practice of net assessment.
[i] Providing for the Common Defense: the Assessment and Recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission (Washington, D.C.: National Defense Strategy Commission, 2018), p. 15.
[ii] Mark Gunzinger and Carl Rehberg, Air and Missile Defense at a Crossroads: New Concepts and Technologies to Defend America's Overseas Bases (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2018).
Image: U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Preston Cherry
Related publication: PIERCING THE FOG OF PEACE: Developing Innovative Operational Concepts for a New Era, April 2019
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