Closer Than You Think: The Implications of the Third Offset Strategy for the U.S. Army

  • October 26, 2017
  • Mr Samuel R White Jr

The Defense Innovation Initiative (DII), begun in November 2014 by former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, is intended to ensure U.S. military superiority throughout the 21st century. The DII seeks broad-based innovation across the spectrum of concepts, research and development, capabilities, leader development, wargaming, and business practices. An essential component of the DII is the Third Offset Strategy—a plan for overcoming (offsetting) adversary parity or advantage, reduced military force structure, and declining technological superiority in an era of great power competition.
This study explored the implications for the Army of Third Offset innovations and breakthrough capabilities for the operating environment of 2035-2050. It focused less on debating the merits or feasibility of individual technologies and more on understanding the implications—the second and third order effects on the Army that must be anticipated ahead of the breakthrough.