Jun 012012

Peter Feaver noted in a recent Foreign Policy blog post, Competing perspectives on American grand strategy, that a recent report by the Center for New American Security (CNAS) on the future of American grand strategy displayed a remarkable amount of agreement between competing perspectives. In his words:

Dick Betts calls for the greatest amount of change from the status quo grand strategy, but I wonder if that isn’t because he pegs the status quo to somewhere around January 2003, at the high-water mark of what he would consider to be wrong-headed American military interventionist impulses. I call for the least amount of change to the status quo strategy, but that is because I consider the second-term Bush grand strategy, which Obama has largely tried to implement (whilst rhetorically repudiating), to be a reasonable exemplar of a post-Cold War approach that has been more successful than not. Bob Art has his own take, which I consider to be fairly compatible with what I call the “legacy grand strategy.” And Anne-Marie Slaughter emphasizes the prevalence of networks, which, she argues, requires a fundamental rethink of grand strategy. I think she is right about the importance of networks, and I am all for a rethink of grand strategy. After doing that rethink, I end up more comfortable with the strategy that has hitherto guided us than she is, but I think the differences are a matter of nuance.

May 272012

Robotics is the future of warfare. While it is difficult to predict the exact nature  or shape of the future in any field, especially one as new as robotics, it is a relatively safe bet that the robotically augmented soldiers will be appearing on the battlefield soon.

It seems, in fact that this is just around the corner, as reported by Danger Room’s David Axe. He reports that Lockheed Martin’s HULC, a robotic exoskeleton, will be field tested in Afghanistan in the next year. And while the US presence will be significantly diminished by the time the unit could make any significant appearance on the battle field, Axe points out that Special Operations personnel will be staying longer. With the more limited man-power and logistical support, such systems may be able to literally lessen the load on these front-line soldiers.

However, these exoskeletons may be extraordinarily useful in garrison, as well. As can be seen in this video about Sarkos’s similar, but more powerful and less mobile version, exoskeletons may be of great use in the various heavy-lifting jobs often encountered on military bases both at home and abroad.

So the future of warfare will not just bring ever more autonomous drones, in all of their new and innovative forms, but also the closer integration of man and machine.