Summary of Sessions
The symposium started with a keynote address by LTG Keith M. Huber. Each speaker then provided a very short summary of his or her presentation. These compressed summaries were designed to stimulate dialogue among those who had only limited subject-area knowledge and, it was hoped, allow them to recognize what might turn out to be red flags.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: LTG KEITH M. HUBER
LTG Huber highlighted a number of challenges in avoiding technology surprise. Despite the inevitability of some technology surprise, he felt that communication skills were key to quickly developing a plan to deal with such surprise once it had happened. One challenge to be overcome was effective communication within the joint forces at a human level—specifically, the ability to share ideas among people with different levels of education. As a leader, he expected that the forces under his command would be diligent and motivated by a desire to benefit the next generation rather than a desire for personal advancement.
During the question-and-answer period, LTG Huber said he felt that his job entailed facilitating communication in several ways. He mentioned forcing communication between joint forces and command staff and actively using the 1.1 million-person resource pool to do this. He was also tasked with ensuring that the Washington and Norfolk contingents were in sync. He stated that as part of his job duties, he takes a capabilities approach by assigning staff to individual tasks and projects, depending on how well suited they are to the effort. He sets conditions and prioritizes his limited resources so that everyone can make a contribu-
tion. He also regularly provides information to the Secretary of Defense on the communications approach and on the collaboration efforts that he is enabling.
LTG Huber was also asked how JFCOM works with NATO and what the goals are. He replied that building trust between JFCOM and NATO through interagency cooperation is one key goal, as are sharing data and communicating regularly by means of status reports and meetings. He felt that a lack of communication would breed distrust.
The presenter said that many different countries were actively researching camouflage technologies. Such technologies enable an object to blend in with its surroundings like a chameleon and to adapt to multiple, perhaps radically different environments.1 Current hurdles to this research thrust involve the management of multispectral observables. Some of the techniques and materials involved in active camouflage were discussed.
Low Observables and Counter Low Observables
Low observable technologies and countermeasures were briefly discussed.2
Three kinds of nonlethal weapons were discussed: pharmaceuticals, counter-personnel material, and ultra-short-pulse lasers. The presenter said that all three types of weapons could easily affect and disrupt large groups, including warfighters and mission planners, a danger posed by all of these weapons. Because advances are routinely published in academic research papers and in conference proceedings, much information on their status is openly available around the globe. The development of ultra-short-pulse laser technology is documented in the United States in papers that describe research and development in constructed systems. Additionally, the procurement of such high-power systems is also a matter of public record.
For more information, see NRC, 2001, Opportunities in Biotechnology for Future Army Applications, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10142. Accessed August 30, 2010.
For more information, see NRC, 2006, Future Air Force Needs for Survivability, Washington, D.C.: the National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11743. Accessed August 30, 2010.
The presenter described the utility of agile systems, which can vary their parameters during operation, perhaps in response to the operational environment (such as with polymorphous computing), or perhaps in response to an adversary (such as with frequency-hopping communications that prevent interception and variable radar or seeker modes that can counter electronic warfare). However, at this point the agile systems discussed were most compatible with nonkinetic weapons and devices, since they generally have control and/or telemetry systems that allow in situ or remote operation (kinetic weapons and devices generally have neither control systems nor telemetry systems).
DEATH OF PRIVACY
Sensor technologies are progressing by leaps and bounds owing to the proliferation of devices (many of them wireless) that monitor our surroundings in ways barely imaginable a few years ago. A sensor is any device that can respond to a stimulus—heat, light, magnetism, or exposure to a particular chemical—by converting it into a signal. Emerging sensor technologies and trends were highlighted, including biosensors and sensors related to protein engineering, GPS, radio and TV signals, femtosecond lasers, and self-organizing, wireless ad hoc networks. The global sensor grid includes smart buildings and roads, military sensor networks, cell phones, minicameras, and smart appliances.
The presenter highlighted the types of weapons that contribute to ultraprecision strikes and their effects. The composite warhead technology that enables the precision strike was discussed. Ultraprecision strike tools are being researched and developed by countries around the world.
The presentation focused on the progress being made in quantum information science. Quantum methodology was discussed. Quantum information science, quantum computing, and quantum cryptography continue to be part of U.S. research and development efforts and contribute to many international efforts. The presenter emphasized that quantum solutions currently work on few problems and that much research is still needed.
This videotaped presentation focused first on the worldwide drivers of research on nanotechnology, including research on photonic crystals, plasmonics, metamaterials, negative index materials, and nanostructures. The discussion further explored this worldwide industry driven by commercial interests, emphasizing its strong coupling to nanoelectronics and biotechnology. Nanophotonics is an enabler for many systems improvements, not a fieldable system in its own right.
This presentation discussed virtual worlds, which can mimic reality and also transcend reality, even though the distinction is often unclear. Augmented reality includes the fusion of cyber datasets and real-world environments. Cyber data come from many sources, including sensors, models, multiple online sources, and/or a parallel virtual world. Virtual reality is increasingly part of the civilian consumer experience, as exemplified by the many applications now running on cell phones.
Pathways to enhanced cognition were the main topic. Research might involve gene manipulation, man-machine interfaces, and artificial intelligence. Gene manipulation can be used to enhance memory as well as degrade it, to minimize fear or to create more fear. The man-machine interface could enhance training and might also be used as a tool to hack into the mind. Artificial intelligence could provide a means for cognitive (neuromorphic) command and control and could also create intelligent agents.
Modeling, Simulation, Gaming
The presentation started with the premise that the average teenager spends more time playing computer wargames than baseball. Thus, high-performance computing is changing the world, and games and simulations are ubiquitous. Also, the United States no longer has dominance in any of these fields (high-performance computing, computer games, and simulations). Many of the advances that drive these developments not only are available commercially but also are found in open-source libraries that provide access to nonstate entities; at the same time, they are also responsible for massive speedups in algorithm performance and provide virtual reality training simulators with which an enemy can develop skills for asymmetric conflicts.
Lightweight Electronic Systems
The evolution of lightweight power technology was the main theme in this presentation, which discussed the status of portable electronic power technologies such as batteries, solar cells, and fuel cells. Increased energy power density will lead to increased functionality for portable military applications. A soldier’s portable battery weight will be reduced severalfold in the next few years. The presenter also made the point that mission durations for battery-powered robotic systems would increase over the next 10 years. Solar cell technology is also being advanced to satisfy commercial demand. This type of supplemental power backup will also facilitate the logistics support necessary for carrying out this class of missions. Fuel cells, too, are portable and can simplify logistics, and their technologies are also commercially driven.
The presentation started by reminding the audience that high-energy-density materials are fundamental components of many major weapons systems. Research and development for high-energy-density materials and their applications to major weapons systems is being pursued both internationally and within the United States. The presenter mentioned research areas and agendas, as well as areas where there was concern.
General considerations surrounding hypersonic systems development efforts were the main theme of this presentation. Hypersonic flight is generally defined as flight above Mach 5.3 Cruise altitudes typically range from 80,000 to 110,000 feet for air-breathing hypersonic systems. Practical hydrocarbon-fueled military systems will probably remain below Mach 8, which is where the thermal limit of the fuel heat sink is reached.4 One of the highlighted trends was that while transient hypersonic systems have been flying for years, sustained air-breathing hypersonic systems are just emerging. This presentation also included the tactical advantages of hypersonic systems and made the point that air-breathing hypersonic cruise missiles will significantly challenge air defense systems.
NRC. 1998. Review and Evaluation of the Air Force Hypersonic Technology Program. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Available at http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=6195. Accessed August 30, 2010.
NRC. 2006. A Review of United States Air Force and Department of Defense Aerospace Propulsion Needs. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11780. Accessed August 30, 2010.
Affordable Space Launch
There are many active space programs in the world, including both government-sponsored and commercial ventures. “Affordable space launch” is associated with technologies that provide access to space along with a fairly low barrier to entry in terms of both resources and control strategies. The feat of putting an object into space under control is a nontrivial accomplishment that might pose a threat or adversely impact U.S. interests.
Admiral James R. Hogg’s Comments
Box 2-1 gives a full transcript of Admiral Hogg’s address.