by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Defense Department needs to conduct robust experiments and more frequent war-gaming tests to prepare the military for the future fight, according to a new report from the Heritage Foundation.
In the first of a series called “Rebuilding America’s Military Project,” Dakota Wood, a senior defense research fellow at Heritage, argued the Pentagon’s “big-leap” approach to preparing for the next battle leads to risky, costly, single-solution programs that often take years to complete and curb the opportunity for innovation across all five services.
Instead, Wood said the Defense Department should implement an incremental approach based on experimentation to ensure the U.S. military maintains an edge over adversaries like China and Russia.
“In a world in which all have access to advanced capabilities and situational awareness and sensors level the notional playing field, core competencies in combat skills and time invested in discovering artful combinations of capabilities that confer tactical advantage will make the difference,” Wood wrote.
“A more constant, regular, intentional approach, which takes time and resources, is much more successful than this sporadic, surging, periodic approach that the services typically do,” he added in an interview.
Wood said this incremental approach allows for regular testing, enabling military leaders to assess a program’s value and determine whether it’s worth incorporating into the force before committing to a multi-year, multi-billion dollar platform that may be obsolete on a future battlefield.