Wednesday, August 17, 2016

America is no longer guaranteed military victory. These weapons could change that.

By David Ignatius Opinion writer August 16 at 7:46 PM, WashPost

The fight against the Islamic State may get the headlines. But it’s the military threats from Russia and China that most worry top Pentagon officials — and are driving a new arms race to deter these great-power rivals.

This question of how to deal with Russian and Chinese military advances has gotten almost no attention in the 2016 presidential campaign. But it deserves a careful look. The programs begun in the waning days of the Obama administration could potentially change the face of warfare, in the United States’ favor, but they would require political support and new spending by the next president.

A drive to build exotic versions of conventional weapons may sound crazy in a world that already has too much military conflict. But advocates argue that strengthening U.S. conventional forces might be the only way to avoid escalation to nuclear weapons if war with Moscow or Beijing began.

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work argued for the new deterrence strategy in a presentation this month to the bipartisan Aspen Strategy Group, amplifying comments he made to me in an interview in February. The approach, awkwardly named the “third offset strategy,” would leverage the United States’ technological superiority by creating weapons that could complicate attack planning by an adversary.

(More here.)

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