The era of U.S. technological dominance is over. Indeed, in many areas, including military technology, the gap has narrowed to parity or near-parity. Nations such as Russia and China, as well as countries to which these nations proliferate weapons, are deploying advanced weapons that demonstrate many of the same technological strengths that traditionally have provided a basis for U.S. advantage.
In response, the Department of Defense initiated a “Third Offset Strategy” that sought to asymmetrically compensate for a disadvantaged position. Rather than competing head-to-head in an area where an adversary may possess significant strength, an offset strategy seeks to shift the axis of competition, through the introduction of new operational concepts and technologies, toward one in which the United States has a significant and sustainable advantage.
1. See Loren Thompson and Daniel Goure, Directed-Energy Weapons: Technologies, Applications and Implications (Washington, DC: The Lexington Institute, February 2003), and Scott Truver, “Naval Warfare at the Speed of Light,” Jane’s Navy International, July/August 2003.
2. Helge Kragh, Quantum Generations: A History of Physics in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999).
3. George Galdorisi and Lynn Pullen, Leveraging Directed-Energy Weapons to Accelerate Naval Transformation: Prospects and Issues (Arlington, VA: Center for Security Strategies and Operations, December 2004).
4. See Yasmin Tadjdeh, “Directed Energy Weapons Gaining Acceptance Across U.S. Military,” National Defense, August 2016.
5. Science and Technology for the 21st Century Warfighter (Washington, DC: Office of Naval Research, 2004). See also Galdorisi and Pullen, Leveraging Directed-Energy Weapons to Accelerate Naval Transformation, and William McCarthy, Directed Energy and Fleet Defense: Implications for Naval Warfare (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air War College Press, May 2000).
6. Mark Gunzinger and Chris Dougherty, “Changing the Game: The Promise of Directed Energy Weapons,” Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2012.
7. Andrew Koch, “Sea Power 21 to Change Face of U.S. Navy,” Jane’s Defense Weekly, 19 June 2002.
8. New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21st Century, Directed Energy volume.
9. Ronald O’Rourke, “Navy Shipboard Lasers for Surface, Air, and Missile Defense: Background and Issues for Congress,” Congressional Research Service, 23 October 2018.
10. See, for example, Ben Werner, “Navy Requests $300M to Develop Shipboard Defensive Laser Weapons,” USNI News, 26 February 2018.
11. George Galdorisi and Scott Truver, “The Zumwalt-Class Destroyer: A Technology ‘Bridge’ Shaping the Navy After Next,” Naval War College Review (Summer 2010).
12. “Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on High Energy Laser Weapon System Applications,” Defense Science Board, Department of Defense, June 2001.
13. McCarthy, Directed Energy and Fleet Defense. See also Claude Berube, “The Post Oceanic Navy, the New Shadow Zones, and the U.S. Navy’s Force Structure Challenge,” Small Wars Journal (April 2009).
14. Hemani Kaushal et al., “Applications of Lasers for Tactical Military Operations,” IEEE Access, 25 October 2017.
15. See, for example, CAPT Kevin Eyer, USN (Ret.), “Where Is Navy BMD?” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 144, no. 6 (June 2018), and John Grady, “Panel: U.S. Must Invest More in Joint and Integrated Air and Missile Defense,” USNI News, 27 November 2018.
16. H. G. Ulrich and Mark Edwards, “The Next Revolution at Sea,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 129, no. 10 (October 2003). See also, Truver, “Naval Warfare at the Speed of Light.”
17. See Sam LaGrone, “Navy Studying Hyper Velocity Projectile, Other Ammo, for Zumwalt Guns,” USNI News, 21 January 2019.
18.“Interview with Arthur K. Cebrowski,” Defense AT&L, March−April 2004.
19. “Pentagon’s Increased Concern Over Russia, China Pushing Investments in Directed Energy Weapons,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, 21 March 2018.
20. “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, [PDF]” National Intelligence Council, November 2008.
21. Otto Kreisher, “Navy ‘Committed’ to Directed Energy Weapons; Supporting Air Force System Development,” USNI News, 23 June 2016.
22. William McBride, Technological Change and the United States Navy, 1865−1945 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).