These areas will likely experience extraordinary leaps in knowledge and applicability within the next few years.
The forthcoming technological advances could have a profound impact on many aspects of life in the Navy and Marine Corps, especially (1) education and training, (2) operational performance, (3) health and safety, and (4) quality of life. The Navy has placed high priority on reducing crew sizes both aboard ships and on shore. By adapting technology improvements, the Navy will achieve a higher level of manpower readiness than ever before and thereby accomplish its mission with fewer, better-prepared people. Because the most consequential future technology advances will be in computers and the accompanying ease of access and assimilation of information, it is notable that future recruits will be better prepared to employ these advances by being uniformly computer literate and accustomed to learning via computer-aided, self-paced instruction.
The aspects of the technologies described in this chapter are limited to those that appear to be relevant to enhancing human performance in the context of the naval force requirements. The intent of this discussion is merely to highlight certain anticipated technology developments and their potential applications. Included is a concise description of the technology, with status and trends; relevance to the Navy and Marine Corps, with likely impact on future naval operations; needed developmental activities in the military and/or commercial sector, with possible time scale for use. The material is grouped into two segments: technologies and applications.
Among the many technologies undergoing rapid and continuous change, the following are thought to be particularly important to enhancing human performance of naval personnel over the next three decades. The intent of this discussion is to illustrate some of the gains that these technologies can provide the Navy and Marine Corps if properly developed and integrated into naval operations. It is noteworthy that the Department of the Navy is adept at keeping pace with technology developments and has continuously applied technology, within the limits of its resources, in a rational and timely manner to improve its effectiveness. This is especially true in regard to systems; it is less so for personnel, although this area has not been neglected.
Changes in technology are usually nonlinear and nonperiodic, whether evolutionary, revolutionary, or serendipitous; efforts to predict future developments are generally suspect. Trends can be identified and predictions made based on the knowledge that similar outcomes have occurred in the past. It cannot be known, for example, if gene therapy for hereditary disorders will be perfected as a result of insight gained in human genome research, but it is a reasonable expectation. What cannot be anticipated, of course, are scientific and technological