An organizational road map for Pentagon to deter China, win in Ukraine

U.S. is on a collision course to experience catastrophic failure in a future conflict. Only Congress can alter this

Pete Newell

April 17, 2023

Today, the U.S. is supporting a proxy war with Russia while attempting to deter a China cross-strait invasion of Taiwan. Both are wake-up calls that victory and deterrence in modern war will be determined by a state’s ability to simultaneously use traditional weapons systems and rapidly acquire, deploy and integrate commercial technologies (drones, satellites, targeting software, etc.) into operations at every level.

Ukraine’s military is not burdened with the U.S. Defense Department’s decades-old acquisition process and 20th century operational concepts. It is learning and adapting on the fly.

China has made the leap to a whole-of-nation approach. This has allowed the People’s Liberation Army to integrate private capital and commercial technology and use them as a force multiplier to dominate the South China Sea and prepare for a cross-strait invasion of Taiwan.

The DoD has not done either of these. It is currently organized and oriented to acquire traditional weapons systems and execute operational concepts with its traditional vendors and research centers, and it is woefully unprepared to integrate commercial technologies and private capital at scale.

For the U.S. to deter and prevail against China, the DoD must create both a strategy and a redesigned organization to embrace those untapped external resources — private capital and commercial innovation.

Click here to read my article coauthored with Gordian Knot Center for National Security Innovation co-founders Steve Blank and Joe Felter in Defense News.

Other posts