September 07, 2023

For Replicator to Work, the Pentagon Needs to Directly Help with Production

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks last week announced a new initiative called Replicator, intended to deliver thousands of low-cost attritable autonomous systems across multiple domains over the next 18 to 24 months. This is a laudable concept that builds on emerging lessons from Ukraine to focus on conflict in the Indo-Pacific, and at least on paper, could catalyze the burgeoning defense innovation ecosystem.

Today’s innovation ecosystem alone cannot achieve the necessary production scale, especially for the less commercially viable classes of systems relevant in the Indo-Pacific.

However, the unique operational requirements of the Indo-Pacific and the inherent challenges of achieving the desired production scale are real challenges that Replicator will have to deal with — and there simply aren’t many options available that fit both those targets. Ultimately, for an effort like Replicator to succeed, the Defense Department should seek to invest in new government-owned production facilities, not simply the systems themselves.

Read the full article and more from Breaking Defense.

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