Advocates have long argued that directed energy weapons — including high energy lasers, high power microwaves, and other radiofrequency technologies — may carry substantial operational advantages for U.S. forces. None other than Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work has called high energy lasers an example of the “fantastic, potentially game changing new technologies that we can more quickly get into the force,” and one candidate for the new “offset” strategypursued by the Department of Defense. In principle, directed energy weapons can provide offensive and defensive non-kinetic attack options, serve as cost-effective force multipliers, and provide operational flexibility to the warfighter.
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