The CSS Blog Network

Create an Unmanned Experimental Squadron and Learning System

Image courtesy of Moraima Johnston/DVIDS

This article was originally published by the Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) on 6 May 2019.

Introduction

The U.S. Navy faces a future where large portions of its fleet will be composed of non-traditional assets. Specifically, unmanned systems comprise a significant portion of the Chief of Naval Operations’s (CNO) “key platforms and payloads” which the Navy seeks to acquire.1 That direction from the top is further born out in the Navy’s most recent shipbuilding plan which includes 10 large unmanned surface vessels and 191 unmanned undersea vehicles of various sizes. These numbers contrast with the total of 55 “battle force ships” planned to be built over the same period.2 Tonnage obviously also plays a role in this type of comparison, but by sheer numbers the Navy is moving toward unmanned vice manned platforms. The Navy must think past the engineering hurdles and determine how to effectively employ these new assets. To do so, we propose that the Navy revisit history and revitalize the complex learning system it used to exploit an earlier set of new capabilities prior to World War II. Specifically, we call for the Navy to accelerating standing up a dedicated experimental squadron with the purpose of exploring advanced tactics for employing unmanned systems in a series of tactically challenging, objective-based exercises.

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A Politically Neutral Hub for AI Research

Image courtesy of Geralt/Pixabay

This article was originally published by the ETH Zukunftsblog on 24 May 2019. 

The growing politicisation of AI harbours risks. Sophie-Charlotte Fischer and Andreas Wenger propose a hub for AI research in Switzerland committed to the responsible development of the new technologies.

The surge of progress in Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last few years has been driven primarily by economic market forces and the manifold commercial applications. Large global technology companies, particularly in the US and China, lead the field in AI. Yet this concentration of AI resources in a few private corporations is increasingly undercutting the competitiveness of public research institutions and smaller companies. Such oligopolistic market dynamics threaten to exacerbate existing economic and social inequalities.

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AI and Autonomous Systems Are Urgent Priorities for Today’s Defence Force

Image courtesy of Daniel Wetzel/DVIDS

This article was originally published in the Strategist by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) on 29 April 2019.

The 2016 defence white paper and the decades-long integrated investment program will deliver a future force that includes 72 joint strike fighters, several hundred infantry fighting vehicles, nine new frigates and 12 new submarines. F-35 deliveries have started but the ‘future’ frigate and submarine programs were well named: the Hunter-class frigates will turn up, all going well, between 2028 and the early 2040s, and the first Attack-class submarine is scheduled to enter service in 2035, with the 12th in the mid-2050s.

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The Chinese Military’s Exploitation of Western Tech Firms

Image courtesy of richamehta31/Pixabay

This article was originally published in The Strategist by the Australian Strategic Policy (ASPI) on 12 April 2019.

For more than a year, debate has raged over allegations that the Chinese military is taking advantage of Google’s research and expansion into China. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a senate committee in March that Google’s work in China indirectly benefits the Chinese military, an accusation echoed by President Donald Trump. Google’s response was unequivocal: ‘We are not working with the Chinese military.’

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Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development: USA and China

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This week’s featured graphic charts the convergence of Chinese and US GDP expenditure on research and development. Does it suggest that the West is about to lose its edge in military technology? Michael Haas thinks so. Read his Strategic Trends 2019 chapter in on the eclipse of Western military technology superiority here to find out why.  For more CSS charts, maps and graphics on economics, click here.

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