The US is preparing for war in the robotic age, when unmanned aircraft and fleets of 3D-printed, remote-controlled drones stealthily would be flying over battlefields, suggest the CNAS study, "Process Over Platforms: A Paradigm Shift in Acquisition through Advanced Manufacturing."
The remotely-piloted Unmanned Aircraft Systems employed over the past decade in Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations will soon be replaced by "increasingly autonomous systems" on land, sea, undersea, air and space, the report states. According to the authors of the report, the US will be using these unmanned systems "out of operational necessity" along with the rising "costs of personnel" and the "unsustainable pace" of training soldiers.
"Technological superiority over potential state adversaries is now considered a foundational aspect of any US defense strategy," write the authors. "If we do not innovate boldly, others will. There is no reason to believe that other countries less friendly to the US will be unable to surprise the US by introducing militarily useful robotic system."
Recently, Congress passed the federal budget bill for 2014, approving $497 billion for the Defense Department, which is about the same as 2013. In addition, the Pentagon will also receive $85.2 billion for war expenses, or nearly $6 billion more than was requested.