International Cooperation Is Good for What Ails US Defense Efforts

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File photo: X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.

"The United States (U.S.) faces an incredible array of challenges: North Korea, nuclear proliferation, Al-Qaeda, Syria, Iran, cybersecurity, Putin's Russia, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and Ebola, to name a few," James N. Miller, president, Adaptive Strategies LLC., and former under-secretary of defense for policy, told the audience at today's opening plenary session at the AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (SciTech 2015), in Kissimmee, Florida.

Miller laid out four areas where the U.S. must focus its foreign policy and defense policy efforts in the near-term: "First, preventing and deterring major power wars; second, preventing nuclear proliferation and regional aggression from Iran and North Korea, among other nations; third, defeating Al-Qaeda and ISIL; and fourth, defending against threats posed by the use of weapons of mass destruction by state and non-state actors." Miller went on to say that "stopping Iran from achieving nuclear weapons is the single most important near term thing we can do to protect our national security."

While the array of threats posed against U.S. interests is vast, Miller believes that international cooperation with our nation's allies and partners will help allay them, telling the audience that "International cooperation is a force multiplier for the US. It allows us to take advantage of the technical knowledge of our partners, and the subsequent research and development (R&D) efforts and joint training and cooperation, will mean stronger alliances, deeper partnerships, and an enhanced ability to face threats."

In order to facilitate that cooperation, Miller stated that we need to reform our nation's "complicated and burdensome export control system," noting that current controls "hamper our ability to share technology with allies and partners," explaining that while the "U.S. spends "$70 billion dollars" a year on defense R&D, that the global market in defense R&D exceeds "$1.6 trillion dollars annually," underscoring the need for export reform. Miller argued that export reforms would be especially valuable for "unmanned aerial vehicle exports and the exporting of command, control, communication and cybersecurity technology, relating that each was important to future military operations." Other areas impacted by cumbersome regulations include "robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, big data, and 3-D printing."

Miller summed up his talk stating that while the export regime in place was a "hangover from the cold-war," a renewed focus on cooperation is important because "in a global economy we need to take advantage of the full range of the talents of our international partners and allies." In an answer to a question from the audience, Miller admitted that there's "too much damn red tape," governing export policies and we need to do reduce it.

By Duane Hyland at the AIAA SciTEch for SpaceRef.

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