Impacts of the robotics age on naval force design, effectiveness and acquisition
Kline, Jeffrey E.
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The twenty-first century will see the emergence of maritime powers that have the capacity and capability to challenge the U.S. Navy for control of the seas. Unfortunately, the Navy’s ability to react to emerging maritime powers’ rapid growth and technological advancement is constrained by its own planning, acquisition, and political processes. Introducing our own technology advances is hindered as well. The planning and acquisition system for our overly platform focused naval force structure is burdened with so many inhibitors to change that we are ill prepared to capitalize on the missile and robotics age of warfare. Yet by embracing the robotics age, recognizing the fundamental shift it represents in how naval power is conveyed, and refocusing our efforts to emphasize the “right side” of our offensive kill chain - the side that delivers the packages producing kinetic and nonkinetic effect - we may hurdle acquisition challenges and bring cutting-edge technology to contemporary naval warfare. Incorporating robotics technology into the fleet as rapidly, effectively, and efficiently as possible would magnify the fleet’s capacity, lethality, and opportunity - all critical to strategic and tactical considerations. Doing so also would recognize the fiscal constraints under which our present force planning cannot be sustained. As Admiral Walker advised above, it is now time to change.
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