Report: Rebuilding America’s military for future conflicts

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Dakota Wood, senior research fellow for Defense Programs at the Heritage Foundation, discusses his report on how the military should prepare for future wars, and the importance of rapid experimentation.


A new report released by the Heritage Foundation outlines ways the military can prepare for the war of the future. The paper has three main takeaways; war will be non-linear, huge leaps in capability can also mean huge gaps in relevance, and that iterative modernization is imperative. Dakota Wood, senior research fellow for Defense Programs at the Heritage Foundation, says that the military isn’t experimenting the way it should.

“What we do see in experimentation efforts are very small portions of the military. Sometimes the services do a very large exercise every two years, but they have too many variables. They are trying to do too many things in a fairly short period of time, even though they put a lot of intellectual effort into getting this one thing right,” Wood said. “Experimentation doesn’t work that way. In research and development in the commercial community, it doesn’t work that way. You have to do these things in little chunks, try to solve problems, see what the utility of a new technology or capability is in a real-world environment. That’s really where the military is coming up short.”