Think Tank Proposes USAF, Navy Tech Roadmap

DT's sister site DoDBuzz just reported on a very interesting call by the Heritage Foundation for the Pentagon to develop a technology acquisition road-map aimed at synching big ticket Air Force and Navy weapons buys with long term strategies. This idea goes beyond the current shipbuilding and aviation plans and would have the services planning out their R&D investements along distinct technological lines that are likely to be critical capabilities in the coming decades:

• A next-generation surface combatant,

• A new air superiority fighter jet, and

• Low-observable capabilities beyond stealth.

These plans should also identify and prioritize the need for additional investment in critical capabilities, including:

• More capable anti-ship, land attack, and air-to-air missiles;

• Next-generation rotary wing aircraft;

• Satellite recapitalization;

• Directed energy and electromagnetic weapons;

• Underwater weapons, including an unmanned underwater vehicle;

• Nanotechnology and solid-state and fiber lasers;

• Biotechnologies; and

• Advanced cyber technologies.

In light of the need for a comprehensive, long-range technology road map for the services, Congress should consider adding to its requirement for 30-year shipbuilding and aviation plans by directing the Navy and Air Force to submit long-range technology road maps.

However, as Buzz points out, it's not so clear how many of these tech areas would see significant advancement in an age of austere budgets. Furthermore, if they do get the money needed to proceed what other items will be cut to pay for the new tech?

C'mon DT readers, where do you want to see the DoD invest its cash in the coming decades?

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