On November 15 Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel laid out his department’s plan for a long-term innovation initiative. The idea sounds reasonable, but in fact it is too riven with contradictions to produce useful results. First, there is not enough time left in the Obama Administration’s tenure for the initiative to become firmly rooted. Second, little money is available to give the initiative legs. Third, the political process tends to punish the kind of risk-taking innovation requires. Fourth, Pentagon acquisition practices similarly dis-incentivize risk-taking. Fifth, the initiative is focused on the wrong technologies. Sixth, the technologies in question raise troubling ethical issues. And seventh, the main reason the military’s technology edge is eroding isn’t lack of innovation, but the Obama Administration’s under-funding of modernization. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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