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Hillary Clinton Proposes To Turn Warfare over to Artificial Intelligence

Oct. 17, 2020 (EIRNS)—Hillary Clinton, in an article published in the November-December issue of Foreign Affairs, the flagship publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, proposed the return of what amounts to a new iteration of the old, failed Revolution in Military Affairs that dominated national security policy making in the George W. Bush Administration. In the later years of the Obama era, the RMA was retooled and given a new name—the Third Offset Strategy—but the core of it remained the same: to combine new technologies with new ways of thinking to create forms of military operations that are supposed to overwhelm the designated enemy. Certain sections of Clinton’s article read as if they were ghost written by Robert Work, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and a key proponent of the Third Offset Strategy. The strategy itself was developed at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a spinoff of the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, run by the late Andrew Marshall from 1973 until his retirement in 2015. The thrust of the RMA, the Third Offset or whatever new name it will go under, remains the same: replace human beings with artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies and remove the human factor, including the passionate commitment to make a better peace, from warfare.

“Among the highest priorities must be to modernize the United States’ defense capabilities—in particular, moving away from costly legacy weapons systems built for a world that no longer exists,” Clinton wrote, in a clear echo of Work’s Third Offset. “Another is to renew the domestic foundations of its national power—supporting American innovation and bolstering strategically important industries and supply chains.” Modernizing the military, she argues, “would free up billions of dollars that could be invested at home in advanced manufacturing and R&D,” helping the U.S. compete with its “rivals” and blunt some of the economic pain that would come with budget cuts.

Clinton wants practically everything to be covered under the rubric of national security policy, to include cyberattacks, viruses, carbon emissions, online propaganda and shifting supply chains. She complains that the approach to the “threats” allegedly represented by Russia and China is too narrow. “Huffing and puffing about Communists may rile up the Fox News audience, but it obscures the fact that China—along with Russia—poses an altogether different threat from the one the Soviet Union did. Today’s competition is not a traditional global military contest of force and firepower,” she writes.

“Dusting off the Cold War playbook will do little to prepare the United States for adversaries that use new tools to fight in the gray zone between war and peace, exploit its open Internet and economy to undermine American democracy, and expose the vulnerability of many of its legacy weapons systems. Nor will such an anachronistic approach build the global cooperation needed to take on shared challenges such as climate change and pandemics.”

For the Pentagon, Clinton proposes a “smarter defense budget” with reforms to be adopted using a process modeled on that of the base closure rounds of 1988 through 2005. The point about that process was that it minimized the role of the U.S. Congress in making decisions about closing or re-aligning military bases, supposedly to eliminate politics from the process. “The Pentagon must adapt to a strategic landscape far different from the one it faced during the Cold War or the war on terrorism,” Clinton writes. “New technologies such as artificial intelligence are rendering old systems obsolete and creating opportunities that no country has yet mastered but many are seeking.” She says that while the U.S. was bogged down in counter-insurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, China was developing “relatively cheap” anti-access/area denial weapons, including anti-ship ballistic missiles, that pose credible threats to U.S. aircraft carriers.

Clinton proposes radical changes in the Pentagon’s force structure. The Navy, she says, should invest less in a larger surface fleet and instead put its resources into expanded maintenance of the fleet it has and in more submarines. The Air Force should buy more B-21 stealth bombers and fewer short-legged F-35s. The Army must get by with fewer armored forces in order to invest the money “saved” in “tools that will give troops an edge in the conflicts of the future, including upgraded communications and intelligence systems.”

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