The U.S. Defense Department is projecting a future where the United States will no longer hold an insurmountable advantage over its adversaries. As such, the Pentagon is launching an initiative to spur technological innovation in an attempt to maintain America’s military edge.
“We must find new and creative ways to sustain, and in some areas expand, our advantages even as we deal with more limited resources,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote in a Nov. 15 memo.
In the memo, Hagel charged Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work to lead the effort—which has been dubbed the “third offset strategy.” To that end, the Pentagon will train new leaders in new ways, initiate new long-term research and development efforts and develop new operational concepts to take the maximum possible advantage of those technologies.
Work, who was speaking at the DefenseOne Summit earlier today, said that the Pentagon’s lead in various technological advances it fields will not last long. While in previous decades, American advances in technologies such as stealth afforded some long-lived advantages, modern competitors will narrow the gap quickly through their research and development—and espionage, Work said.
As such, the Pentagon might keep some of its advances secret like it did with the Lockheed Martin F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter when that aircraft became operational in the early 1980s.