Military Capabilities

US SecDef nominee calls for AI focus, re-examining weapon development priorities

16 July 2019

A slew of Pentagon programme cuts could be on the horizon across the services if US Army Secretary Mark Esper takes the department’s helm.

During his 16 July Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing to become the next Secretary of Defence, Esper said he is committed to the National Defence Strategy, and, if sworn in, would have the services examine their weapons’ portfolios to prioritise efforts and trim the fat.

“The growing threats posed by great power competitors such as China and Russia warrant a re-focus to high intensity conflict across all of the military services,” Esper told lawmakers. “This requires us to modernize our forces and capitalize on rapid technological advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, directed energy, and hypersonics.”

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