When compared to some other nations out there, the US is not a big country. While we place third for overall population, the two biggest countries, China and India, have populations that are triple the size of ours. China sits at the top, with 1.38 billion, while India isn’t far behind at 1.34 billion. Both these populations are continuing to grow, while US population stays relatively flat. Often, a country is viewed as more powerful based on the size of its population. However, the US manages to be a major world power despite having a population that’s barely a third of the size of India’s or China’s. That’s because what we lack in personnel, we make up for in technology.

The Third Offset Strategy is a military strategy designed in part to make up for that lack of numbers and defend us against growing threats. While we might not have the largest population, we do have some of the most advanced technology, and leveraging this technological advantage is at the core of this latest offset strategy. This allows us to protect and defend the US, even when facing what seems like insurmountable odds.

How Offset Strategies Fix Population Deficits

The Warsaw Pact of 1955 was a major threat to the United States. This pact was organized by the Soviet Union and included the populations of seven other areas in Europe. The biggest fear the US faced was in the sheer size of the numbers involved in the pact. At its peak, the Warsaw pact had three members for every one NATO member.

Numbers like that were of concern. As this was a cold war, there were no direct acts of aggression against the US. However, had there been, our military leaders knew we would have been in serious trouble. Gaining allies was proving to be difficult in the face of such wide opposition. That’s why the US turned to the Second Offset Strategy. This strategy focused on several key areas:

  • ISR Platforms – Intelligence, Surveillance, and Resonance Platforms are technology platforms designed to improve surveillance. This involved using satellites, GPS tracking and a wide range of other technologies to gain early warning of potential attacks.
  • Low Observable Technology – This type of technology is designed for both offensive and defensive measures and improves the ability of vessels such as planes, tanks, and ships from being observable through radar.
  • Precision Guided Weapons – Smart bombs, which are designed to hit a specific target while minimizing risk to surrounding non-combatants, became a major part of this strategy as they limited collateral damage while taking out threats.
  • Military/Space Program Collaboration – In this, the US military leveraged the space program as a means of using space-based satellites to gain better surveillance of potentially hostile countries.

The Second Offset Strategy was designed around preparation as well as deterrence. With more precise weapons, we could hit targets without risking high amounts of collateral damage. With satellites, we were able to gain better advance warnings of possible attacks. These various strategies helped us to make up for NATO’s lack of numbers and prevent another major world war.

Now, we’re facing a similar challenge if the US population remains stagnant while countries around us grow. In addition, there are new threats on the horizon, like cyber threats, which we must prevent against. As this is the case, the Third Offset Strategy was developed.

Technology and The Third Offset Strategy

The Third Offset Strategy is another strategy for the US military to get ahead of the competition without having to increase personnel. Many of the tools planned for use in the Third Offset Strategy seek to automate tasks, thereby eliminating the need for manpower while improving defense efficiency. Some emerging technologies being leveraged include:

  • Artificial Intelligence – Artificial intelligence, in that a computer has the ability to not just review data but put it in context, can improve both defensive and offensive abilities. This is particularly important in protecting computer systems from cyber-attacks. If those systems can think logically, they can shut down potential breaches in our cyber security sectors quickly.
  • Human-machine collaboration – By teaming cognitive machine intelligence with standard offensive weapons like tanks, bombers, and more, the operators of the machines can make safe, faster, more logical decisions while minimizing casualties. In one study, it was found that 70% of the time, a human-machine team can win against a human or machine separately.
  • Autonomous Weapons – A big part of the third offset strategy is making autonomous weapons, which can be used without direct human intervention, and would ideally be better and more efficient. This keeps soldiers out of harm’s way while strengthening our offensive ability.

One thing you’ll notice about these three components of the new offset strategy is that they’re designed to team humans with technology. Whether we’re teaching computers to think like people, or using computers to help people think better, these strategies reduce our need for troops on the front line while maintaining our competitive advantage.

Much of this technology can be applied as preventative measures as well. Technology can allow us to assess risk faster and eliminate threats before they cause casualties. Clearspeed uses a unique kind of human assisted technology as a means of doing this, called Remote Risk Assessment (RRA). This is a type of triaging technology that can measure the risk level of an individual by means of an automated interview coupled with algorithmic analysis, supervised by a human—the very essence of what the Third Offset Strategy is about. For more information on RRA, contact us.

Image Source | Unsplash user Federico Beccari