The Modernization Quandary
Since the Cold War ended, several factors have converged presenting the perfect storm of national security challenges for the Department of Defense (DoD) and United States as a whole. A series of decisions – or lack of decisions – resulted in delayed defense modernization programs. Near-peer competitors, such as China and Russia, are dramatically increasing their capability while the U.S. faces an erosion of domestic industrial capacity in critical sectors. And the DoD now is under significant budget pressure as it maintains legacy systems and capabilities, while responding to the needs and expectations of executive branch leadership, Congress, and the American people. This is the Modernization Quandary.
Earlier this summer, the Emerging Technologies Institute hosted the first workshop in an ongoing series focused on accelerating the delivery of emerging technologies into the hands of American warfighters. Given that these issues will take far more work than a single workshop, ETI published a report with the key findings to continue the conversation. The report centered on prioritizing the technologies to maximize capability for cost, examining process changes to improve delivery, and reducing legislative barriers to fielding the technologies. Given current budget constraints, it will take a concerted effort— with Congress, industry, and academia—to streamline processes and increase the tolerance for risk in technology development. Updating acquisition processes and leveraging existing authorities for flexibility and transparency will be necessary, as will strengthened communication between Congress and the DoD.
To learn more, download The Modernization Quandary here.