In March 1983, President Ronald Reagan delivered an Oval Office speech to announce his Strategic Defense Initiative -- or as it was dubbed by critics, “Star Wars.” He proposed a space-based missile defense program that would have placed infrastructure featuring high-powered lasers, beams of atomic particles, and rocket interceptors in orbit to shoot down enemy missiles before they reached the United States.
If an enemy tries to launch ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) to destroy American cities and Smalltown, USA … then new drones with powerful laser weapons could blast them out of the sky. Rather than play defense, launching interceptors from home soil and warships while the ICBMs head towards impact, these incredible drones could pre-emptively patrol enemy skies for more than a day without ever having to land or refuel.
The Defense Department’s cutting-edge research arm has promised to make the military’s largest investment to date in artificial intelligence (AI) systems for U.S. weaponry, committing to spend up to $2 billion over the next five years in what it depicted as a new effort to make such systems more trusted and accepted by military commanders.
In the era of great power competition, the speed at which competing militaries are capable to innovate and evolve could determine who would win in a war. In light of the need for speed, military innovation experts at the Defense News Conference tackled the question of whether the Department of Defense can still move quickly to develop new technologies and capabilities.
The New York Times offered a breathless take on China’s Navy, noting that its two-carrier fleet is now larger than the United States’ and poised to project power globally. This naval prowess, plus a new generation of accurate land-based anti-ship missiles, create a robust anti-access/area denial capability, which, the Times suggests, means China may “prevail” in a fight with the United States off its coast.
While size and power constraints are hindering the realization of militaries’ most ambitious Iron Man dreams, more modest exoskeleton suits are moving closer to real-world use. The U.S. Army is experimenting with two exoskeleton designs at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts. These won’t protect soldiers from enemy fire but they will help soldiers carry more stuff for longer. And they’ll likely be on the battlefield far sooner.
Lockheed Martin is quietly pitching the U.S. Air Force a new variant of the F-22 Raptor, equipped with the F-35’s more modern mission avionics and some structural changes, Defense One has learned. It is one of several options being shopped to the U.S. military and allies as Lockheed explores how it might upgrade its combat jets to counter Russian and Chinese threats...
In late June, the Pentagon announced the creation of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, or JAIC. Defense officials have not said how many people will be dedicated to the new program or where it will be based when it starts next month. It could have several offices around the country.
The Pentagon’s research arm is looking for teams to build an artificial intelligence tool that can automatically generate, test and refine its own scientific hypotheses. By essentially automating steps of the scientific process, the tool would let top decision-makers take discoveries from the lab and rapidly apply them to the real world, according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Until this week, U.S. Defense Department leaders had publicly described their technology race against China and Russia mostly as a bullet list of research priorities. Now a top research-and-engineering official has added detail about efforts to surmount key technical and physical challenges.