Forcast: While More Research Is Directed to Irregular Combat, War Spending Could Deter Advances in Military Weapons

By Erwin, Sandra I. | National Defense, November 2006 | Go to article overview

Forcast: While More Research Is Directed to Irregular Combat, War Spending Could Deter Advances in Military Weapons


Erwin, Sandra I., National Defense


Not long ago, discussions about the future of defense technology were dominated by a conviction that innovations in science would continue to deliver uncontested military superiority for the U.S. military.

That boundless optimism has been tempered dramatically during the past three years by the realization that a mighty high-tech force--which was designed to ensure the United States would suffer minimal casualties in war--could be challenged by ragtag insurgents and suicide bombers.

These enemies--categorized as "irregular" or "asymmetric"--not only have forced military commanders to rethink their strategies and tactics, but they also have set off a transformation in how defense researchers and scientists think about developing new technology.

To defeat these irregular enemies, there is no time for traditional research and development. The militias fighting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan make bombs with old artillery rounds and store-bought electronics. They hide amidst the civilian population, and they coordinate attacks via cell phones.

At military laboratories today, speed is the name of the game. Defense researchers have adopted a new lexicon, dominated by terms such as "rapid response" and "urgent demands."

"We want to get the technology out of the laboratories and into the hands of soldiers in the shortest time," says Maj. Gen. Roger A. Nadeau, head of the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.

"We put more focus on war fighting needs," says Rear Adm. William E. Landay, director of the Office of Naval Research.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is sending scientists out to combat zones to get a first-hand look at the technology needs in the field, says the commander of the lab, Maj. Gen. Ted Bowlds.

But while the emphasis today is on putting out fires, much new technology currently is in the works that aims at reshaping the future of the military.

And the outlook is, in many ways, quite bright. Breakthroughs in unmanned aviation, for example, could lead to a force with fewer pilots. Hypersonic weapons research taking place at the Air Force laboratories could revolutionize aviation and space travel. The Air Force also is pioneering the use of synthetic fuels in military aircraft. Advanced sensors and software increasingly are giving troops on the ground access to unprecedented amounts of information. The Navy is pursuing new technologies to detect quiet diesel submarines and is designing an "electromagnetic" gun that could strike targets ashore from 200 miles away.

But no technology forecast is complete without predictions about dollars and cents. How much will the high-tech military cost? More importantly, can the nation afford it?

Analysts now project that military R&D is in for tough times. The thinking is that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan--which so far have exceeded $400 billion--will continue to drain funds from procurement, science and technology, among other things.

Kei Koizumi, director of R&D budget and policy programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, says the Pentagon plans to curtail spending on applied research.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Forcast: While More Research Is Directed to Irregular Combat, War Spending Could Deter Advances in Military Weapons
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.