Military strategies, initiatives and programs have been compartmentalized for as long as many subject-matter experts can remember. While this served the military well in the past, it is likely to be increasingly problematic as we move ahead. Multiple technologies are emerging that individually will change multiple aspects of military operations. That is one of the areas where the issue of singularity becomes much more acute.

Singularity is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:

1. Something that is singular: such as

  • a separate unit.
  • unusual or distinctive manner or behavior: peculiarity.

2. The quality or state of being singular.

3. A point at which the derivative of a given function of a complex variable does not exist but every neighborhood of which contains points for which the derivative does exist.

4. A point or region of infinite mass density at which space and time are infinitely distorted by gravitational forces and which is held to be the final state of matter falling into a black hole.

While a few of these apply, the problem is directly related to "a separate unit." Currently, multiple technologies are poised to enter their accelerated adoption and advancement stages of their evolution. What is most interesting about this period is how one, single technology enables advancement in one or more other technological capabilities, products and services. A dozen emerging technologies have been evaluated in isolation. In order to see the real implications, cross-technology applications must be explored. This requires we break down the walls (go cross-department) that isolate these individual technologies.

And believe it or not, cyber is still not fully integrated in some functions/areas of the military.

It would be wise for every organization to conduct luncheon briefings; invite other departments working on emerging technologies to present a 10-minute overview (hold them to 10 minutes) of their efforts. Focus on the application areas and unique contributions their area of technology has. Everyone remains until the end of lunch to answer questions and schedule any followups that are necessary.

The unique characteristics of this period of technological advancement makes this a strategic imperative! Failure to do so will impede our abilities to advance our military capabilities at the pace necessary to stay ahead of the growing number of threats that we face today and in the near future!

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