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Report: Innovation, Emerging Tech Will Define Global Power Structure

A new report suggests a path to unleash innovation and partnerships to harness technology as a global superpower.

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Naval Research Lab
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s team analyzes data collected from contact dynamic testing on the robotic test bed in Washington, D.C. June 16, 2022. Photo Credit: Sarah Peterson / DVIDS

The new world of geopolitics resembles a race around technology for strategic power, according to national security experts.

“Who gets ahead in these technologies will ultimately set the rules of the road and ultimately build the power of this nation or the set of alliances and partners,” said Ylli Bajraktari, CEO at the Special Competitive Studies Project think tank, at a Defense Writers Group meeting last week.

Bajraktari said emerging technologies like artificial intelligence have put global powers at a crossroads, where the world order depends on who best uses their country’s innovation power, while also forging strong alliances with like-minded partners.

“We see two events happening at the same time: a geopolitical environment that is changing by the day and a set of technologies that are setting a new era with a transformative power,” he said. “This is no longer just nations competing on the military space or the economic space. The nations are now competing actively every day on this innovation power domain. We take the angle here that if you want to set the standards and rules of the road and dominate the future, then you have to get the innovation power right.”

Bajraktari offered a proposed solution in the organization’s newest report that outlines a vision for the next five years to confront threats from an axis of disruptors comprised of North Korea, Iran, Russia and China.

The report recommends mobilizing the tech community across the free world to innovate, with a proposed implementation plan for 2025 through 2030. This means doubling down on the “nation’s ability to invent, adopt, and adapt to new and emerging technologies,” particularly in the artificial general intelligence, biotech, compute, energy, advanced manufacturing and advanced networks fields.

Specifically, it cites Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) architecture, strong alliances and public/private partnerships, and a mobilized and highly educated workforce, as ways to expand competitive advantage.

The sentiment aligns with the Defense Department’s software modernization strategy aimed at procuring and fielding technology more quickly. This includes a call for using more open-source software and commercial off-the-shelf tools and empowering its software factories.

“Within the software factories, the programs that are successful, we see a hybrid approach where we’re bringing the government and our [Defense Industrial Base] partners together to work collaboratively on a sprint-by-sprint, day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute approach,” said DOD Chief Software Officer Rob Vietmeyer at the Defense IT Summit in Arlington, Virginia, in February.

“When you look across the Indo-Pacific, what has happened in the last three-plus years is this new web of alliances and partnerships. I think the common language in all of them is technology conversations,” Bajraktari told reporters. “There’s a recognition in all these dialogues that we need to get this technology sharing and technology building together interoperability right because it is fundamental to how we dominate future battlespace.”

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