Since becoming secretary of defense in 2015, Ash Carter has embarked on efforts to better foster innovation and attract the nation’s top talent to the Department of Defense. Specific initiatives have included overtures to Silicon Valley, a Pentagon branch of the U.S. Digital Service, and more opportunities to learn from private industry. While broad in their scope, these programs could eventually help the department better develop and deploy the most advanced technology possible: unmanned systems, directed energy, cyber, and a modern nuclear arsenal. Just as important, they could also address DOD’s persistent acquisitions challenges, such as reforming the requirements process and putting commercial technologies to military use.
On January 21, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence (21CSI) hosted General Paul J. Selva, the 10th vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for a discussion on the future of military technology and the efforts being made to keep the Armed Forces at the forefront of innovation. Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of 21CSI, moderated the session.