published : 2023-09-09

Pentagon's Bold Plan to Counter China: AI Drones and Autonomous Systems

The Pentagon believes AI can help it handle its 'pacing challenge' with China

A photo of Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks addressing the plan, taken with a Nikon D850.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks addressed the plan and how the U.S. will continue to counter the rising aggression from China.

The Pentagon is assessing the possibility of developing an AI-powered fleet of drones and autonomous systems to compete with and counter threats from China.

Kathleen Hicks emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that while the U.S. is not seeking war, it must act swiftly as China isn't waiting.

The department plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the project, aiming to deploy thousands of AI systems within two years across land, air, and sea.

China has been rapidly developing its own AI platforms and models for military use, making it a top concern for U.S. military officials.

Congressman Michael McCaul stressed the importance of winning the competition for AI dominance, as losing could result in ceding military and economic domination to China.

An image showcasing the development of AI-powered drones in the Pentagon, captured by a Canon 5D Mark IV.

The U.S. has banned investment in Chinese semiconductors and chips, reflecting the broader struggle for AI dominance.

An AI fleet could tip the balance in the race for technological supremacy, offering significant advantages in navigation, targeting, and combat support.

The U.S. envisions developing self-piloting ships, no-crew aircraft, and AI drones flying alongside human pilots for enhanced capabilities.

Deputy Secretary Hicks acknowledged the need for continuous innovation given the dynamic nature of adversaries such as China.

While drone swarms were not directly mentioned, China has been actively developing this technology, which could have operational applications.

Funding remains a crucial question for the project, with concerns raised by contractors that the allocated funds may be insufficient.

A photograph revealing the advancements in autonomous systems, taken with a Sony Alpha A7R III.

Like the U.K., which faced similar criticisms, the U.S. budget for AI research and development lacks specific details about how the funds will be allocated.

The Pentagon is actively pursuing this plan, driven by the belief that AI can help maintain technological superiority over China.

The world watches as the race for AI dominance escalates, with profound implications for global power dynamics.

The outcome of this technological arms race may determine the direction of future military and economic leadership in the world.