BREAKING: Army Sec'y Prods Allies to Invest in AI, Directed Energy, Hypersonic Weapons

By Mandy Mayfield
A hypersonic craft undergoing tests.

Photo: NASA

The U.S. military needs its allies to invest more money into the research and development of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, directed energy and hypersonics, Army Secretary Mark Esper said May 13.

AI, directed energy weapons — to include lasers and high power microwaves — and hypersonic missiles that are highly maneuverable and can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or faster, are high priorities across the services as the Pentagon prepares for an era of great power competition with China and Russia.

“We in the Army ... have a major modernization effort underway right now,” Esper told foreign ambassadors during an event at the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C.

"The U.S. military is going to make a major leap in the future coming years, and of our allies and partners don’t invest we risk there being a divide between us in terms of capability," he said. “It is very important we all move together … if we are going to be able to deter future conflicts.”

The Defense Department is focused on making the investments necessary to deter potential adversaries, he noted.

“I hope that allies and partners are with us,” Esper said.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson touted the service's new science-and-technology strategy to pursue advanced capabilities. Artificial intelligence, directed energy and hypersonics are all areas of interest highlighted by the study.

“The focus is on time, speed and complexity. And we have identified some areas where we want to research," she said.

Wilson noted a memorandum of understanding that was signed by service leaders last year to ramp up development of hypersonic weapons. “We have accelerated the development of hypersonics by five or six years as a result,” she said.

Topics: Army News, Infotech, Emerging Technologies

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