The following is the Department of Defense Unmanned Systems Integrated Roadmap 2017-2042 that was issued on Aug. 28, 2018.
From the report:
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Armed Services have made extensive efforts to incorporate unmanned systems into their existing organization structures, showing the integral importance that unmanned systems considerations represent. There is still room for improved collaboration throughout the Department of Defense (DoD). Standardizing the ongoing efforts, cooperating whenever possible, and consolidating the foundational policies and technologies will enable the seamless teamwork that highlights future defense operations— whether the teams are manned, unmanned, or combined.
The progress in unmanned systems technologies has highlighted the need to transition the focus from specific domains to become domain agnostic. Advances in any domain are beneficial across all domains. Future operations will rely heavily upon multi-domain capabilities that must interface and integrate seamlessly into a Joint Force structure. DoD, industry, and academia have advanced technologies, strategies, and standards that challenge the evolution of unmanned systems and their integration into the DoD mission. These major advancements, challenges, and trends can be consolidated into four critical themes, which address foundational areas of interest that will continue to accelerate unmanned systems into the future:
- Interoperability – Interoperability has historically been, and continues to be, a major thrust in the integration and operation of unmanned systems. Manned and unmanned systems have increasingly synergized their capabilities, focusing on the critical need to use open and common architectures. A robust interoperable foundation provides the very structure that will allow for future advances in warfighting.
- Autonomy – Advances in autonomy and robotics have the potential to revolutionize warfighting concepts as a significant force multiplier. Autonomy will greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of both manned and unmanned systems, providing a strategic advantage for DoD.
- Network Security– Unmanned systems operations ordinarily rely on networked connections and efficient spectrum access. Network vulnerabilities must be addressed to prevent disruption or manipulation.
- Human-Machine Collaboration – If interoperability lays the foundation, then humanmachine collaboration is the ultimate objective. Teaming between human forces and machines will enable revolutionary collaboration where machines will be valued as critical teammates.
The supporting policy, requirements, and acquisition environments must continue to evolve and advance to keep pace with the rapid technical and capability advancements of all systems. To ensure our military advantage, emphasis should be placed on the evolution, availability, and employment of unmanned technology. Alignment of DoD initiatives in unmanned systems will influence the future makeup of the U.S. military.