What are the changes most likely in coming military technology for the next twenty years? This is a burning question for those interested in the safety and welfare of the United States of America — and for those interested in breaching the safety of our country, as well. How are those changes going to be made in such critical areas as battle prep, priorities in the defense budget, allied weapons, and wholesale military operations? Analysis of options and threats, as well as realistic forecast of economic restraints and responsibilities has never been more important, according to military outfitter Gadsden and Culpeper. An axiom with economists is that in areas where change is fastest and most confusing the most money is usually employed in a vain attempt to maintain the status quo. But new opportunities and new vulnerabilities demand cool, hard thinking about how the U.S. military can take advantage of the latest technological breakthroughs for both defense and offense.
No crystal ball is required to extrapolate existing laboratory and research trends in military technology. A reasonable and probable prediction of what is in store for weapons development and strategic planning or the next twenty or so years is as follows:
The three biggest areas where time, effort, and money should be invested to keep American military technology and strategy on the cutting edge are robotics, AI, and drone technology. The three can actually be looked at as a single unit, since they already interact with one another on a sustained and deep level. But for the purposes of this article, a break down will be helpful in seeing the bigger military picture.
In future wars and police actions, the United States military, on land, on sea, and in the air, will be hampered by a lack of manpower. Recruiting levels for the Armed Services are at an all-time low, and with the current administration’s open hostility towards immigrants and their families, a large and steady source of military personnel has been choked off, for the time being, and may never recover. This means that the military must turn to other methods to keep its presence strong and solid. It means a completely mechanized and robotized military force. Just as in factories where one skilled technician controls dozens, even hundreds, of robotic machines to manufacture, assemble, and inspect key components for everything from cars to refrigerators, so too an intelligent staff sergeant, or the equivalent, can use mechanized technology to invade, police, and investigate in any war zone across the planet. Thus the need for so-called ‘cannon fodder’ is reduced drastically.
The military of all nations is currently heavily invested in drone technology. And the United States cannot afford to fall behind. Drones are rapidly becoming the eyes, ears, and weapons of ground forces in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. With the new technology being developed, drones are likely to become nearly invulnerable to ground attack in the next five years.
Currently each individual drone is controlled by a single human entity. The goal is to bring online algorithms and other aspects of artificial intelligence so that one person can control and coordinate the actions of a squadron of drones, for more effective intelligence gathering and aggressive action. AI experts predict that this possibility will become reality within the next two years.