Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Exotic New Weapons the Pentagon Wants to Deter Russia and China

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Exotic New Weapons the Pentagon Wants to Deter Russia and China

Article excerpt

Little noticed amid the daily news bulletins about the Islamic State and Syria, the Pentagon has begun a push for exotic new weapons that can deter Russia and China.

Pentagon officials have started talking openly about using the latest tools of artificial intelligence and machine learning to create robot weapons, "human-machine teams" and enhanced, super- powered soldiers. It may sound like science fiction, but Pentagon officials say they have concluded that such high-tech systems are the best way to combat rapid improvements by the Russian and Chinese militaries.

These potentially revolutionary U.S. weapons systems were explained in an interview last week by Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense, and Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Their comments were the latest in a series of unusual recent disclosures about what, until a few months ago, was some of the military's most secret research.

"This is how we will make our battle networks more powerful, hopefully, and inject enough uncertainty in the minds of the Russians and the Chinese that, you know, if they ever did come to blows with us, would be able to prevail in a conventional (non- nuclear) way. That, for me, is the definition of conventional deterrence," Work explained.

Within the Pentagon, this high-tech approach is known by the dull phrase, the "third offset strategy," emulating two earlier "offsets" that checked Russian military advances during the Cold War. The first offset was tactical nuclear weapons; the second was precision- guided conventional weapons. The latest version assumes that smart, robot weapons can help restore deterrence that has been eroded by Russian and Chinese progress.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced an early warning during his confirmation hearing last July when he said that Russia posed the greatest "existential" threat to the United States. Work said in a recent speech that because the U.S. has focused on the Middle East since 2001, "our program has been slow to adapt as these high-end threats have started to re-emerge."

The Pentagon's 2017 budget includes some money to prime the high- tech pump: $3 billion for advanced weapons to counter, say, a Chinese long-range attack on U. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.