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What DoD’s New Strategy Means for Post-9/11 Tech

by John Reed on January 5, 2012

Here are some interesting technology-related quotes that Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Vice Chairman of the joint Chiefs, Adm. James Winnefeld just said about the Pentagon’s defense strategy that was unveiled unvieled this morning. The two were responding to a reporters question about whether the UAV fleets that were built up for the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan will be cut as the U.S. ends its fights in the Middle East and slashes defense spending.

While many capabilities, such as Cold War legacy systems will be cut, new tech that was developed in the wars in Iraq and Afgahanistan will be nurtured and integrated into the 21st Century military replied Carter and Winnefeld.

Here’s what Carter had to say:

There are lots of capabilities that were developed over the course of the last decade that reflected modern technology and modern warfare, not just COIN [counter-insurgency] warfare, that we want to make part of the future. So when I say we’re not going to keep the large force structure in being, but the critical skills, the critical enablers, the novel things that war over the last decade has taught us, we do want to keep and include in our force structure. You’ll see examples of that in a couple of weeks, very deliberate ones in which we’re building in some of the things you saw in Iraq, you see in Afghanistan and designing how they will fit into the force structure in the long run.

And here’s Winnefeld’s two cents:

We’ve learned an awful lot over the last ten years in these two fights in Iraq and Afghanistan and I think it’s sometimes important to tease out the difference between COIN and counter-terrorism, and we’re doing an awful lot of counter-terrorism work right now using those tools. One of the interesting things for me is that a lot of what we’ve learned in the COIN business transcends the COIN business and is applicable to a lot of the other things that we can find ourselves doing in the world. By the same token, a lot of the things that we’ve built, that we’ve added to the force technically, and it’s not just ISR platforms, it’s networked approaches to warfare and the like, are applicable to other forms of warfare. So we’re not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater, we’re gonna take the lessons, take the technologies that we’ve developed over the last ten years and apply them to the future.

While the Pentagon won’t discuss the details of what tech will be cut and what will be kept, this gives you a clue that we’ll be seeing investment in advancing the drone, communications and cyber tech that has been developed in the last decade.

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