Warning of "a world where America lacks a decisive edge," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered Pentagon strategists to ramp up the country's search for technological breakthroughs to counterbalance advances made by Washington's foes abroad, Defense One
Russia and China have spent heavily in military modernization programs aimed at blunting America's technological edge, according to DOD Buzz
Hagel set out the broad outlines of the "offset" strategy in a speech Saturday at the second Reagan National Defense Forum, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
He said it would be a mistake to "allow our time and our energy to be consumed" wholly "by the crisis of the moment." He wanted the offset program to "look toward the next decade and beyond."
The brightest minds both in and out of government will be asked "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.
Hagel said he tasked Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and his team, including Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall, with spearheading the offset strategy to assure America's "technological edge through the next several decades."
The Pentagon's approach is intended to offset, or neutralize, foreign advances by coming up with breakthrough technology in "robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, big data, and advanced manufacturing, including 3-D printing," according to Defense One.
"We are entering an era where American dominance on the sea, skies, space and especially cyberspace, can no longer be taken for granted," Hagel said.
He cautioned, "Our military could arrive in a future combat theater facing an arsenal of advanced, disruptive technologies that thwart our technological advantages, limit our freedom of maneuver, and put American lives at risk."
Analysts infer from Hagel's remarks that the Pentagon would reverse the recent trend of spending less on drone technology — $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2015, down from $5.7 billion in 2013, according to Defense One.
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