Aviation Week Publishes Grundman Opinion , “Pentagon’s Offset Strategy Needs A Big Idea”
Writing in Up Front column of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Steve Grundman offers a critique of Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work’s call for a new “offset strategy” to ensure US military dominance into the 21st century. The time is surely right, says Grundman, for the Pentagon to focus its attention on retooling military capabilities. However, he writes that too little is being said about how the broad distribution of economic power and diffusion of advanced technologies ought to shape the particular leverage the U.S. and the West can employ to offset putative adversaries’ comparative advantages. Accordingly, Grundman believes the Pentagon’s reflex to gain that leverage from yet another technological revolution is misguided. Instead, realizing an effective new offset strategy will require a new understanding of the sources of America’s comparative advantage in the 21st century. “If the U.S.’s economic and technological resources are no longer truly discriminating,” Grundman asks, “where will we find the leverage needed to fuel the strategy? Will the third offset strategy mark a revolution in military adaptation that leverages our society’s nearly unique capacity to absorb and prosper from change? Will it harness our dominant media and entertainment industries to overmatch adversaries’ attempts to command the narrative of conflict? Or will the third offset strategy be remembered as a revolution in operating and organizational constructs that exploits the American propensity for business-model innovations that build “blue oceans” of uncontested market space?” These are the kinds of big ideas Grundman believes ought to be regarded at the heart of the problem facing the Pentagon’s offset strategists.