Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

Janine Davidson examines the art, politics, and business of American military power.

Weekend Reader: A U.S. Robotics Gap, a New COIN Debate, and a Global Spotlight on Nigeria’s Boko Haram

by Janine Davidson Friday, May 9, 2014
drone aircraft carrier An X-47B pilot-less drone combat aircraft is launched for the first time off an aircraft carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia, May 14, 2013. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

As militaries gear up for a robotics arms race, the United States may well get left behind. This is the argument made by Michael C. Horowitz, an expert on military technological adoption, in the lead story for Foreign Policy magazine. Horowitz, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has literally written the book on the dynamics behind diffusion of military innovation. This same week, Shawn Brimley issued a warning against the Pentagon relegating drones to a “niche capability” and refusing to invest in advanced, carrier-based systems. This follows a February 2014 CSIS report that concluded, “With the effective 2014 end of the Afghanistan War, commitment within [Department of Defense] to explore the broader possibilities of unmanned systems is retreating.”

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