December 23rd, 2020
Joe Biden is about to inherit a diverse portfolio of defense innovations funded by his predecessor. One of the most ambitious initiatives is the Navy’s effort to develop unmanned surface warships and submersibles capable of supporting the manned fleet in wartime. For instance, Boeing has a contract to deliver five robotic submarines capable of executive diverse missions with its modular payloads, from mine countermeasures to anti-submarine warfare to tactical reconnaissance. Sea Hunter, an unmanned surface vessel, is a testbed for experimenting with the use of robotic warships that can remain at sea untended for weeks, traversing many thousands of miles. Nobody in the Navy thinks such vessels can replace aircraft carriers or manned submarines, but they nonetheless could make the difference between victory and defeat in a future war for control of the Western Pacific. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
The views and opinions expressed in this issue brief are those of the author.
|Loren B. Thompson is a Senior Adviser at GPI, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.