When we mention the term “Defense Tech” or “Defense Technology”, many times we seem to automatically think of high-speed armored transports and tanks, new powerful and intelligent artillery and aircraft whose performance now seems to surpass the human pilots ability to manually control it while in the skies. These technologies also seem out of reach to us at times as technology leaders and even more so, seem to have nothing to do with us or our organizations. It’s very easy for us in these discussions to say, “that’s for the military boots on the ground and the generals in the field, but that’s not for me!”. Let’s now look at how inaccurate that statement is.
First, let’s look at how Defense Technology makes its way into our everyday lives as organizational leaders and civilians. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few obvious examples. Have you searched for anything on the Internet recently? The Internet exists primarily because of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration or DARPA and although we are on the way to 20 billion connected devices next year, the Internet as we know it today started life as the ARPANET with only 4 connected devices in 1969. How about getting to Aunt Jean’s house in the Bronx the other day….did you use GPS? Well, after MIT scientists in 1957 realized that they could track Sputnik’s location based on the signals it was emitting utilizing the Doppler effect, the first functional GPS system for tracking submarines was in operation by the Department of Defense only 2 years later in 1959. So now that we all agree that emerging Defense Tech can, and usually does, affect all of us at some point during its life cycle, let’s explore some of the most intriguing trends in Defense Tech that will be affecting us all in the near future.
We could discuss the obvious and high-profile emerging trends in Defense Technology like autonomous military vehicles, intelligent drones, missile defense systems, and high-powered laser systems, but I think it’s more important to discuss several underlying technologies that are crossing boundaries and disciplines like we have never seen before. They are now components of all the above-mentioned systems as well as all other military defense systems now emerging, and the enhancement and advancement of these specific technologies are going to change everything about the way we live and work in the future. The technologies I am referring to are both Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning (ML) and Blockchain Technology known primarily from its emergence as the supporting infrastructure of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.