Military scrambles to maintain tech edge |

Military scrambles to maintain tech edge

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — Short of funds and awash in global challenges, the military-industrial complex is betting on robotics and other new technologies to stay ahead of rapid advances in weapons development by China, Russia and other potential foes.

With budgets under pressure and deeper cuts expected in fiscal 2016, it remains uncertain whether the Pentagon can win support in Congress to speed the acquisition process and turn the new technologies into game-changing weapons.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel introduced a “Defense Innovation Initiative” at a conference at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, an effort to secure and expand the military’s competitive edge.

Hagel cited robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, big data and three-dimensional printing as key areas, but gave none of the funding details that industry executives say they need to guide their investments.

They are urging Pentagon officials to keep slashing back bureaucracy, ease barriers for arms exports, and streamline rules for commercial products.

Mike Petters, chief executive of Huntington Ingalls Industries, said government officials were stepping up their dialogue with industry, but many factors constrained their efforts, including the short-term focus of capital markets.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.