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To Win the Next War, the Pentagon Needs Nerds


Army technician works on tablet in a data center.

There are those—inside and outside of the Pentagon—who worry that the U.S. is ill-equipped to adapt to the challenges presented by war in the future.

Credit: Getty Images

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) turned to a team of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) experts to make sense of an avalanche of information about the conflict. These tech experts crafted code and ML algorithms, creating systems that are "especially valuable for synthesizing the complex logistics picture," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks in a recent interview.

Hicks says this helps prove a point that she and others have been making within the Pentagon for some time—that technology is fundamentally changing the nature of war, and the U.S. needs to adapt in order to maintain its edge.

However, a 2019 report commissioned by the Defense Innovation Board, warns that software and its development has become a crucial strategic issue for the U.S. military. The board also notes that the DoD cannot typically compete with the salaries tech companies offer software developers.

From Wired
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