The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is asking for ideas from the private sector on breakthrough technologies to guide military investment for the next decade and beyond, according to an article by futurist Patrick Tucker Wednesday in Defense One newsletter.
“On Wednesday, Defense Department officials issued a request for information calling on interested parties ‘to identify current and emerging technologies … that could provide significant military advantage to the United States and its partners and allies in the 2030 time frame,’” Tucker said.
It’s part of the Pentagon’s “ambitious plan to develop technology to put the United States decades ahead of rival nations like China and Russia in short period of time.”
The problem: predicting the tech future isn’t as simple as it used to be. “New breakthroughs are copied, innovated against and rendered obsolete as quickly as the Internet spreads to new portions of the globe. … And “inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil posits that, as a result of information technology, the rate of technological advancement will increase by a factor of 5.6 per linear decade.”
The DoD’s Long Range Research and Development Plan request for information admits that “many, if not most, of the technologies that we seek to take advantage of today are no longer only the domain of DoD development pipelines or traditional defense contractors. DoD no longer has exclusive access to the most cutting-edge technology. This RFI actively seeks proposals from the private sector, including those firms and academic institutions outside DoD’s traditional orbit.”
Specifically, DoD is looking for “(1) relatively mature technologies that may be applied in novel or unique ways to field a fundamentally different type of system capability, 2) emerging technologies that can be rapidly matured to offer new military capability or 3) technologies under development for, or being applied in, non-defense applications which can be repurposed to offer a new military capability.”