SOFIC Tampa: The head of the Special Operations Command is concerned that even the most advanced tech his troops use in the field today is being aged out, given rapid advances in commercial technologies that have overtaken military-grade gear.
“The equipment that SOF have should already be considered ‘legacy gear,’” Gen. Tony Thomas told the conference here today. He called for a wholesale change in how equipment is developed and modernized: “Incremental improvements are no longer enough.”
The entire three-day event here — which once focused in large part on operations around the globe — has been reborn around the theme of rapid acquisition and finding small, non-traditional companies which which to do business. The push to rapidly identify and buy new technologies mirrors a similar effort across the Pentagon, which is rushing to modernize after years of flat budgets while spending tens of billions a year on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During those wars, Russia and China sought gaps in U.S. and NATO capabilities, and have emerged with a new generation of drones, hypersonic weapons, what they call fifth-generation fighter planes, sophisticated stand-off munitions, and electronic warfare capabilities.