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Introduction

The U.S. Air Force currently invests significantly in science and technology (S&T) for directed-energy weapon (DEW) systems. Key elements of this S&T investment include high-energy lasers (HELs) and high-power microwaves (HPMs). Other DEW research and development (R&D) efforts include optical beam control for HELs, vulnerability and lethality assessments, and advanced non-conventional and innovative weapons. In 2009, the National Defense University recommended that “The DEW S&T community must work to overcome the perception of its unproductive legacy. To do so, the community needs to field systems that will help demystify the new technology. Lower-power systems to defeat soft targets, such as light vehicles and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), to counter sensors, and to produce non-lethal effects are suitable for early operational evaluation should be given high priority.”1 This wide range of on-going DEW R&D provides opportunities for the Air Force to consider in transitioning DEW S&T for key capabilities to support the Air Force mission, especially given emerging attention to the Air-Sea Battle concept. In addition, current and future budget limitations facing the Air Force and the Department of Defense (DoD) lend considerable merit to reviewing a range of DEW activities to reduce or eliminate redundant Air Force efforts and leverage ongoing and past government-wide efforts where possible.

In this context, the Air Force requested that the Air Force Studies Board (AFSB) of the National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) conduct a workshop to explore the above issues. Members of the AFSB drafted the workshop terms of reference (TOR) in April 2012, and the NRC approved the TOR in July 2012. The NRC then appointed an ad hoc committee to plan and convene a workshop titled “Assessment of Directed Energy Research and Development for U.S. Air Force Applications.” Appendix A provides biographical sketches of the workshop committee members. Three 2-day data-gathering sessions were held in 2013 on February 27-28, March 18-19, and April 24-25. Appendix C provides the agendas for the three sessions, and Appendix B lists the workshop TOR. Working with the Air Force workshop topic “champion”— the Office of the Chief Scientist, Air Combat Command—the workshop committee members identified key stakeholders and experts in DEWs to make presentations to the workshop and participate in its discussions.

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1National Defense University. 2009. Directed Energy Weapons—Are We There Yet? The Future of DEW Systems and the Barriers to Success. Elihu Zimet and Christopher Mann. May.



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1 Introduction The U.S. Air Force currently invests significantly in science and technology (S&T) for directed-energy weapon (DEW) systems. Key elements of this S&T investment include high- energy lasers (HELs) and high-power microwaves (HPMs). Other DEW research and development (R&D) efforts include optical beam control for HELs, vulnerability and lethality assessments, and advanced non-conventional and innovative weapons. In 2009, the National Defense University recommended that “The DEW S&T community must work to overcome the perception of its unproductive legacy. To do so, the community needs to field systems that will help demystify the new technology. Lower-power systems to defeat soft targets, such as light vehicles and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), to counter sensors, and to produce non-lethal effects are suitable for early operational evaluation should be given high priority.” 1 This wide range of on-going DEW R&D provides opportunities for the Air Force to consider in transitioning DEW S&T for key capabilities to support the Air Force mission, especially given emerging attention to the Air-Sea Battle concept. In addition, current and future budget limitations facing the Air Force and the Department of Defense (DoD) lend considerable merit to reviewing a range of DEW activities to reduce or eliminate redundant Air Force efforts and leverage on- going and past government-wide efforts where possible. In this context, the Air Force requested that the Air Force Studies Board (AFSB) of the National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) conduct a workshop to explore the above issues. Members of the AFSB drafted the workshop terms of reference (TOR) in April 2012, and the NRC approved the TOR in July 2012. The NRC then appointed an ad hoc committee to plan and convene a workshop titled “Assessment of Directed Energy Research and Development for U.S. Air Force Applications.” Appendix A provides biographical sketches of the workshop committee members. Three 2-day data-gathering sessions were held in 2013 on February 27- 28, March 18-19, and April 24-25. Appendix C provides the agendas for the three sessions, and Appendix B lists the workshop TOR. Working with the Air Force workshop topic “champion”— the Office of the Chief Scientist, Air Combat Command—the workshop committee members identified key stakeholders and experts in DEWs to make presentations to the workshop and participate in its discussions. 1 National Defense University. 2009. Directed Energy Weapons—Are We There Yet? The Future of DEW Systems and the Barriers to Success. Elihu Zimet and Christopher Mann. May. 1

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In addition to representatives from the Air Force S&T community and major commands (MAJCOMs), the workshop committee invited DEW experts from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to participate. To learn about the threats that Air Force DEW capabilities might defend against and to assess foreign progress in DEW, the committee invited the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL/RD) to provide a briefing on the current threat environment. In addition, a representative from U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) briefed the workshop participants on current challenges in PACOM’s area of responsibility and PACOM perspectives on DEWs. The workshop committee members participated as invited guests in the workshop, as did representatives from the Air Force sponsor. The chair of the workshop committee served as chair/moderator at all three workshop sessions. Most of the presentations and all of the discussions throughout the three sessions of the workshop were conducted at the DoD Secret level. Appendix D lists the participants for each session. The workshop was conducted under the rules of the NRC for a convening activity, with the purpose of gathering individual views relevant to the workshop topic. In particular, this means that no collective positions—neither views, findings, conclusions, nor recommendations—of the participants were developed or captured for reporting. All views from the workshop, including any suggestions for future actions by the Air Force or others, expressed in this workshop summary are solely the views of individual participants as understood and interpreted by the rapporteur who authored this summary. Although the chair and other members of the planning committee participated in the workshop, they did so as individuals, and nothing in this report should be construed as a “committee position.” As an aid to readers, the rapporteur has summarized themes and points that were expressed or supported by multiple participants, often across two or three workshop sessions. The content and formulation of these themes and points are the sole responsibility of the rapporteur acting as an observer of the individuals who participated in the workshop and reporting on what participants said. They should not be interpreted as convergence of participants’ views or as a consensus—explicit or implied—of the workshop as a whole. 2