The World is Changing – and Quickly
There are over 7 billion people on the planet and 95% of the growth is occurring in developing countries. The 1.8 billion ‘global middle class’ will increase to 3.2 billion by 2020 and 4.9 billion by 2030. With the labor market quickly changing global consumption will shift to Asia and will require new political structures.
While food production is likely to remain adequate poverty and famine will persist – but the current supply chains will be more integrated. Science and technology through information technology and new applications for biotech is leading innovation.
Future conflicts will likely be trans-regional and transnational – with assymetric threats requiring different set of tools to respond. Creeping nationalism, regional military threats and strategic Weapons of Mass Destruction will all require novel approaches.
Innovation to date has had dramatic positive effects – 85% reduction in HIV–related deaths, for example. But how our private institutions create incentives for innovation will be key.
The Cold War superiority resulting in new products is now moving toward integrated cross cutting systems; complexity, however, has consequences and requires an understanding of the relationship between technology and strategy.
Nations need to rethink their acquisition strategy from one of ‘requirement of things’ to ‘requirements of capabilities’. This means a shift away from command and control approaches to ones that are flexible, with systems that empower talent throughout an institution.
The Third Offset Strategy that focuses on machine learning and other new technologies is here, but it is the ingenuity of the private sector backed by venture and private equity capital that will allow the US military to stay ahead of the assymetric warfare that we must now confront.