DoD has recently made efforts to improve the speed of innovation in defense, creating new organizations intended to improve innovation. But continuing down this path of “innovation theater” does little to change how the defense enterprise operates and adopts innovative ideas and technologies.
The release of the next National Defense Strategy, expected in early 2022, will address the continued importance of China as a “pacing threat” even as it recognizes the “increasingly complicated and complex security landscape.” As the renewed potential for great power conflict drives strategy and plans, some have dubbed this a “new Cold War.” Letting this planning construct drive DoD’s investment program without paying attention to other kinds of potential contingencies is a bad idea.
Artificial intelligence may be used in ways that do not directly involve or are not immediately recognizable to senior decisionmakers. These areas of AI application are far left of an operational decision or decision to launch and include four priority sectors: (1) security and defense; (2) intelligence activities and indications and warning; (3) modeling and simulation, optimization, and data analytics; and (4) logistics and maintenance.