While it is a generally accepted fact that the United States possesses the worlds most advanced and technologically superior military force, questions are being raised whether the U.S. can cling to that claim for long. For starters, questions regarding the ability of the United States to remain competitive has come not from a foreign observer – it’s the country’s own Defense Secretary stressing the need for innovation.
According to WHTC, during a defense industry conference sponsored by the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that the United States needs an industrial revolution again in order to maintain its superiority over fast developing countries like Russia and China.
“While the United States currently has a decisive military and technological edge over any potential adversary, our future superiority is not a given,” Hagel told delegates assembled for the conference.
According to Hagel, countries like Russia, China and even India are now busy in designing, building and testing an array of sophisticated and technologically advanced weapons. These include stealth aircraft, anti-ship missiles and other advanced weapon systems. Hagel was also open about the fact that the spending on research and development has fallen over 20 percent since president Obama took office. Nevertheless, the United States’ defense spending of $500 billion is still unmatchable for other countries, says Yahoo News. However, these countries have been increasing their budget spending consistently over the past few years.
“China and Russia have been trying to close the technology gap by pursuing and funding long-term, comprehensive military modernization programs. They are also developing anti-ship, anti-air, counter-space, cyber, electronic warfare and special operations capabilities that appear designed to counter traditional United States military advantages.”
While adding that the Pentagon was revamping the way it plans to work with the defense industry, Hagel opined that the only way the U.S.’ technological advantage could be maintained is to promote innovation – even with tighter budgets and restrictions in place.
“American dominance on the seas, in the skies, and in space — not to mention cyberspace — can no longer be taken for granted. To retain our superiority in the future, our thinking and our actions must be relevant to tomorrow’s challenges,” he added.
Chuck Hagel was also quite clear about the kind of innovation that he looks forward to. He was of the opinion that innovation in defense was not simply restricted to designing and building new weapons systems. Instead, innovation in to how these new systems are designed and researched would hold the key to the continuation of the United States’ dominance over other nations in terms of military technological capabilities.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]