Why the future may not be a big deal in 2013 & how it will affect defense spending

Future of Defense SpendingThis is the third in a series of articles, which predict what will not happen in 2013. This article focuses on why the future may not occur this year, and how it will affect Defense spending.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Mayan

Just to be clear, when I say 2013 will not be the year that the future finally arrives, I am not predicting some kind of apocalypse.  In this context, I am talking about attributes we commonly associate with the future, such as innovation, progress, and improvements in technology as well as the standard of living.

 In some ways this assertion is strongly counter-intuitive. After all, you may be reading this article on a handheld electronic device that received it at the speed of light over a wireless data system.  Besides, didn’t you see that net-enabled fork at the Consumer Electronic Show?  How can we say the future isn’t happening?

Nevertheless, there are a surprisingly large number of experts who are questioning our traditional assumptions of progress.

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RSJPO Roadmap & ICAF Robotics Report

RSJPO Roadmap and ICAF Robotics Report

The last two blog postings were about what will not happen in 2012.  We thought we would take a break from this series and predict what you can expect.   Without a doubt, you can expect more reports, visions, and roadmaps from the Department of Defense.   Here are two recent DoD documents that are worth a look.

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Unmanned Systems Markets: What people are saying

Unmanned Systems MarketsLike many of you, I receive numerous ads for market research studies. In order to excite our interest, they often contain a few snippets of facts. I decided to combine all these“snippets” with the goal of forming a coherent vision of the future of unmanned systems markets.

You can’t get there from here

In addition to examining market research reports, I contacted a few thought leaders within the profession. I also posted questions about unmanned markets in the social networks of LinkedIn and Quora. Read more

Human side of the network

Discussions about combat networks usually concern issues of architecture, SWaP, capabilities, interoperability, and the Agile process.  It’s easy to lose sight of impact of technological decisions on human beings.  Recently I was reminded about the real-world effects of network solutions.  The Business Insider excerpts a description from Garrett Anderson’s blog about his duties as a platoon radio operator in Fallujah. Explaining why he hates to talk on the telephone, he cites one incident:

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GPS and UGVs: Part II

In Part One of our series on GPS, we discussed its uses, problems, and alternatives. In Part Two, we take a look at the role of GPS in Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV).

Inertial Navigation System

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and ground vehicles often use a combination of GPS and Inertial Navigation System (INS). INS depends on input from motion sensors (accelerometers) and rotation sensors (gyroscopes). Through a process known as “dead reckoning,” the vehicle’s current position is calculated utilizing time passed from previous locations and estimates of speed.
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AUVSI North America – What’s the Buzz?

What was the buzz at AUVSI North America conference, besides the UAVs being demonstrated?  I talked to many, many people at the show, trying to glean information for future blog postings as well as newsletters. It’s hard to generalize, but I did notice certain topics being frequently discussed on the exhibitor’s floor. For the purpose of this blog post I am excluding conversations at the seminars.

What happens in Las Vegas, stays permanently on your work record

A number of people commented that this year’s attendance and exhibits were smaller than last year’s (I don’t know if this is true; this is my first show).  I heard a rumor that the GSA scandal that occurred a few months back made Las Vegas a questionable destination for some participants. Read more


GPS is cheap, available, accurate, and wildly successful. That has freaked out some people. To learn about GPS vulnerabilities, proposed enhancements, and possible alternative navigational systems, read here.