The Pentagon has been battered by criticism that it is falling behind in the technology arms race. Skeptics point to rising powers and terrorists finding new ways to exploit military weak spots. Hundreds of pages of legislation have been written to prod the Defense Department to innovate. Amid downbeat talk now comes new data that shows glimmers of a potential technological revolution that could reshape the Pentagon’s weapons arsenal in both subtle and significant ways. An explicit innovation roadmap was unveiled in the latest Pentagon budget request, which seeks $18 billion over five years for so-called “third offset” technologies. The phrase officially entered the defense lexicon in November 2014 and it has since been used as an umbrella term for technologies the Pentagon believes it needs to stay ahead of enemies.
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