The Pentagon is working on creating superfast smart machines meant to help US maintain its military edge over technologically-savvy adversaries, like Russia or China, as part of a "third offset" strategy.
"This third offset … is really focused on the advanced capabilities that Russia and China can bring to bear," the Defense One website quoted Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work as saying. "The whole purpose is to convince them never to try to cross swords with us conventionally."
Essentially, this approach is meant to create a high degree of "human-machine collaboration and combat teaming" so that machines would help humans make fast decisions under changing circumstances, as Work described it at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum.
To a certain extent, robotics and smart unmanned military hardware is already a feature of modern warfare — think of drones or next-generation fighter jets. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, according to the official, is one such machine.
Work referred to the F-35 as a "flying sensor computer," not merely a fighter plane.
Rockwell Collins ESA Vision Systems LLC
The Generation 3 helmet-mounted display system for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter
In theory, the stealth multirole fighter is capable of conducting large scale data analysis, offering a wealth of information to help the pilot make informed decisions. In reality, the aircraft, some call the Pentagon's most expansive mistake, is far from being fully operational and needs a rework.
Nevertheless, Work believes that the F-35 and other smart machines will be a game changer and a war winner.
The US defense agency wants to take technology even further. "I'm telling you right now, 10 years from now, if the first person through a breach isn't a fricken robot, shame on us," Work noted.
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