As someone who has always had a keen interest in both America’s war-fighting abilities and science fiction, I keep a close eye on cutting edge weapons technologies like pulsed energy projectiles, deuterium fluoride lasers and other directed energy systems (“DE” for short). Although DE may seem like Star Trek tech to some, recent developments especially in close-to-room-temperature superconductors suggest that we may be just a few years away from actual battlefield implementation. With this in mind, the DE research community needs to engage more effectively with the Combat Development Command, the Air Force’s Directed Energy Directorate, senior commanders at the 2/3 star level and other stakeholders to decide the best path forward to operationalizing our emerging capacity in the near, medium and long term.
Congress needs to do its part and give the Secretary of Defense rapid acquisition authority for both lethal and non-lethal (such as sonic) DE systems. I know the lethal stuff is considered “sexier” but the non-lethal devices may actually have greater utility in the current geopolitical landscape. It’s no secret that the Chinese and probably the Russians are developing active and passive countermeasures for DE. America’s status as the dominant power in a unipolar world is contingent first and foremost on our military might. DE and related technologies are essential to maintaining our pre-eminence and hegemony.
I’ll hop off the soapbox now! Thanks for listening!