The United States and the entire world owe a great deal to technology and the pace of technological change. The standards of living that define advanced societies,
along with the advanced national security
elements that guarantee their freedom, are
the result of a constant march of technological innovation that characterizes the last
century and continues at breakneck
speed. The United States must continue to promote and enable technology
development to meet new challenges
and ensure continued freedom, prosperity and security. This tenet applies to all
facets of national security.
The ability to develop technologies
to improve our lives and international
security is embedded in our national
DNA. From inventors and innovators such as Samuel Morse, Alexander
Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and the
Wright brothers to the Apollo lunar
program and the innovation that
pours daily out of our high-technology
hubs, U.S. history is rich in the ability
to promote and advance its technological edge. Unfortunately, many of the
Cold War threats to our warfighting
technologies are re-emerging along
with new ones. We must thoroughly
identify and validate the required
command, control, communications
and computers ( C4) capabilities for the
future so that our technological prowess and resources can be appropriately
Many lessons from our Cold War days
need to be rediscovered for the United
States to be prepared for the next war.
In many ways, it is “back to the future”
as our military prepares for the future
fight. Luckily, this point is not lost on
our armed services, as one observes
the increased awareness and empha-
sis they have placed on operating in
denied or degraded environments. Still,
many capabilities need further emphasis
or development as we prepare for the
future, especially at the operational/tac-
tical level of warfare.
Today, several potential adversaries
have the ability to leapfrog technologically or to adapt technology and neutralize or negatively affect the edge we have
enjoyed for so long. The United States
and our partners increasingly must
focus our technological might on several
capabilities to ensure our place in shaping global affairs. The capabilities that
stand out as areas of contention cross
multiple areas of national security, from
the homeland to our ability to project
power and protect U.S. interests abroad.
First, we need improved low-proba-bility-of-intercept and low-probability-of-detection capabilities that support
the undetected and unhindered movement and communications of our forces.
Potential adversaries are improving their
capabilities to detect and counter our
Improved antijam capabilities also
must be added to our emitters to meet
the emerging threat and ensure that
radio transmissions are not denied.
Self-healing and self-organizing ad
hoc mobile networks—and all they
entail—should be connected with mul-tiband emitters that sense and exploit
available radio frequency (RF) spectrum
and automatically and rapidly recon-figure those networks in a contested or
denied RF environment.
Advanced antenna technology would
provide real-time loading and tuning
across a broad range of frequency bands
and take advantage of the available RF
BY LT. GEN. ROBERT M. SHEA, USMC (RET.)
Gear Up for a New Technology Thrust
A resilient and protected space communications capability is needed to provide rapid launch capability that supports theater operations.
Lastly, automated network management tools are vital to hide and make
transparent the complexity in the control
and management of the RF spectrum
and associated data networks.
These focus areas should not be
approached as a series of stovepiped
efforts but instead addressed as interoperable requirements that fall under
the guise of a future joint warfighting
Other associated key areas requiring
development include longer-lasting and
lighter battery and portable power technologies; a truly protected and resilient
global space communication capability
that can operate against known threats;
and command and control and intelligence visualization tools that are intuitive and adaptable in meeting the needs
of individual learning and understanding styles.
Now is the time to look back to the
future as well as move forward. Just as
Sputnik impelled a burst of U.S. innovation, so too must today’s emerging challenges launch a new round of dedicated
research in areas that are unique to the
military and homeland security mission.
None of the challenges I have highlighted are new. In the past, they were at
the forefront of government and defense
industry research and development.
However, over the years, they have lost
their advocacy for various reasons. As
we move back to the future, they need
fresh emphasis to equip our forces and
our allies with capabilities to meet both
new and emerging threats. This will
require a trusting relationship between
industry, government and academia,
one that leverages our proven national
strength in innovation and creativity.
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