Faced with a gradual erosion of America’s edge in warfighting technology, the Obama Administration’s Pentagon team has begun a campaign to bolster military innovation. However, there are reasons to suspect this initiative won’t be any more successful than a similar effort launched by the Clinton Administration two decades ago. First, the stagnation of military innovation has been caused largely by Obama Administration priorities — priorities that aren’t likely to change. Second, some of the measures policymakers are proposing to stimulate innovation actually discourage private industry from investing in new ideas. Third, the only proven way to get more innovation is to spend more money, and the administration isn’t likely to do that. Fourth, political biases common to Democratic administrations such as aversion to homeland missile defense will undermine the selection of innovation goals. Fifth, after six years of decay the administration’s credibility on military innovation is low — making any buy-in to its initiative by industry, Congress or the services unlikely. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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