The US may be facing a severe military disadvantage in 10-15 years because of budgetary decisions being made now, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall said Tuesday at a Defense One conference in Washington, D.C. Kendall said the US leadership can’t seem to shake the notion of US “technological superiority,” established after the first Gulf War. “In the last 10-15 years, we concentrated on counterinsurgency” and didn’t spend enough on advanced technologies, Kendall said. Now, due to the demands of operations and modernization, “I don’t think we’re doing enough to stay ahead” in research and development, which typically doesn’t result in a fielded capability for 10-15 years, he said. Kendall said he’s “very concerned” that China, Russia, and other countries have used the time while the US was “distracted” by COIN operations to make up the ground and will sell their new technology to countries in direct conflict with the US. The new “third offset” strategy is about recapturing a sizable lead, but “at the end of the day, it’s about resources,” Kendall said, and there aren’t enough available to ensure the kind of lead the US enjoyed 25 years ago, he said.
Unlike nearly every other innovative technology throughout history, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt believes the space enterprise emerged backward. “Every other domain started with an entrepreneur who built something,” Burt, the special assistant to the Chief of Space Operations, told an audience at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.