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Pentagon plans to buy smarter to keep its tech edge

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The Pentagon thinks the US is losing its technological dominance over adversaries and is changing the way it develops and buys new weapons. It just rolled out a program called "Better Buying Power 3.0" designed to better tap into the latest technology and significantly bolster cybersecurity. Defense under secretary Frank Kendall said that the program is motivated by "a steady erosion of our technological superiority" caused in part by a shrinking modernization budget that's often raided to pay for day-to-day operations.

The new program will help US forces do more for less by using existing weapons "in more innovative ways," such as a recent DARPA program that envisions drones attacking in swarms. The Department of Defense (DoD) is also "looking for promising technologies that we can pull forward" in the areas of biotechnology, robotics, micro-miniaturization and autonomous guidance systems, to name a few. To help, it'll give private sector industries more financial incentives for innovation, while keeping closer tabs to ensure they're making proper research decisions.

The DoD strongly emphasized data security, saying "all our efforts to improve technological superiority will be in vain if we do not provide effective cybersecurity throughout the product lifecycle." Those plans may include a more offensive posture -- the Navy recently said it'd soon be capable of launching cyber attacks on rogue nations if ordered by the White House.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

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