While the US military is designed to protect us, what most people forget is that it’s also a pretty competitive industry. Just as companies like Apple, Intel, and Microsoft must stay ahead of the competition, so does our Department of Defense. Only, in this case, the stakes are much higher. Not only does the technology which the US uses help us to prepare for war, it also helps to deter it in the first place. That’s where the Third Offset Strategy comes into play.

Maintaining the superiority of the US military means looking at what our competitors are doing and seeing how we can do it better. These offset strategies are nothing new. In fact, the US has gone through several of these strategies throughout the years as technology advances and threats change.

The History of Offset Strategies

An offset strategy is a term penned by the US to discuss long-term competitive strategies to maintain the advantage or strength of the US military. This first occurred at the beginning of the Eisenhower administration. During that time, Eisenhower was worried about the ongoing impact of the Korean War as well as the extensive military reserves of the USSR. To fight this, the US focused on the deterrent power of nuclear forces. This allowed us to replace something we didn’t have—large amounts of troops and land artillery—with something we did have, nuclear technology.

The second offset strategy occurred in the 1970s, following the Vietnam War. At this time, the DoD saw significant budget cutbacks while supporters of the Warsaw Pact outnumbered us three-to-one. In this case, funds were spent on surveillance and intelligence gathering platforms, and stealth delivery systems, as well as the development of precision strike capabilities using conventional munitions.

Both offset strategies focused on strengthening one area in response to another where our adversaries had a distinct advantage, be that in weaponry or military size. Now, the US is facing new threats, ones that come from multiple adversaries, and again, we’re turning to technology to fight back.

Keeping Pace with the Competition

The Third Offset Strategy started in 2014, with a focus on next generation technology. This next generation technology isn’t necessarily for offensive means, but instead is as a means of predicting and deterring. By using tech to prepare for threats before they happen, we can reduce conflict along with the casualties those conflicts create.

The first focus is on the competition. While we might not necessarily have antagonistic relations with them, their sheer size and resources can make these countries extremely strong. These are countries like Russia and China, and they are the benchmark we must compare ourselves to in creating a robust defensive strategy.

This is something which is currently aided by our Strategic Capabilities Office. The SCO has three very basic goals:

  • Repurposing tech from prior actions to make it useful in new ones
  • Integrating tech into a larger overall plan
  • Working with private tech providers to find military uses for new technology

One of the areas that offers the most opportunity is the private technology market. Private companies have more freedom to innovate and, as such, may create technology that’s useful in defense. By leveraging the innovative abilities of our private companies, we can make the US military stronger.

Private Technologies In the US Military

One strong area for determining threats in defense work is the use of automated and artificial intelligence technology. Through analyzing big data and teaming it with intelligent algorithms, we’re able to outsource much of our risk assessment to machines and focus our human resources on areas of potential threats. Here are a few examples of how this technology is being incorporated into our military:

  • Machine controlled weaponry – One large area of opportunity in our military is the creation of weaponry which allows soldiers on the ground to make better, more accurate decisions while limiting casualties. Examples of this include drone technology, electronic exoskeletons for combat review and the use of electromagnetic rail guns and hypersonics.
  • Big data pattern assessment – Often, we’re able to determine when a country like North Korea is doing nuclear tests by using technology generally reserved for the testing of earthquakes. In this, seismographs measure and locate the origin of ground tremors. As our knowledge of this data increases, we’re able to make better determinations on what constitutes a natural threat and what constitutes a manmade one.
  • Triaging threats through remote risk assessment – Autonomous learning systems and the ability to assess risks on a deeper level are becoming a major necessity in managing incoming threats. One way to stay ahead of this is using Remote Risk Assessment screening. RRA combines voice frequency testing technology with proprietary signals analysis processes to assess for risk during brief, automated phone interviews. In this case, the individual being interviewed would have their responses analyzed by RRA technology, which measures human-based risk. This is something which can be used in the screening process for incoming individuals, to minimize domestic attacks.

The Third Offset strategy is more dependent on private technology than any other prior strategies. This is because the countries that have the potential to become threats have access to those same technologies. The only way to fight back is to make our own technologies better at assessing and minimizing risk.

Clearspeed has used its RRA technology for several government entities looking to weed out internal and external risks. This technology can be used in the field, or in an office, and is fully automated to minimize man-hours. For more information on what RRA can do for you, contact us today.

Image Source | Unsplash user Teddy Kelley