Paul Scharre Profile picture
Senior Fellow & Director of the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS. Author of "Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War."
Bill Jackson III 🖥 🦅🌊🗽 🇺🇸 ✊🏽🌊 Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
17 Sep
This is a convenient lie the Pentagon has told itself to excuse two decades of investing in legacy, wasting assets. It's embarrassing to see the Secretary of Defense repeat it.
From 2001 to 2008, the base (non-war) budgets of the Navy and Air Force grew 22% and 27%, respectively, adjusted for inflation.

Meanwhile, the number of combat ships and aircraft in the U.S. inventory declined by 10% for ships and nearly 20% for aircraft over the same period.
# of combat a/c went down, while the Air Force's base (non-war) budget went up in real dollars
Read 15 tweets
21 May
It has been astonishing to watch seasoned US foreign policy hands continue to cling the same failing strategies, whether it’s the war in Afghanistan or engagement with China.
Bob Zoellick and Richard Haass both recently argued in the WSJ for continued engagement with China, pushing a case that made sense 15 years ago but doesn’t hold up today.

wsj.com/articles/the-u…

wsj.com/articles/dont-…
The Zoellick & Haass China articles pair nicely with this Dave Petraeus Washington Post op-ed a few months ago arguing to stay the course in Afghanistan. It’s like a time machine back to 2004.

washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/…
Read 8 tweets
10 Apr
I’ve seen a lot of these “the pandemic was not a black swan” takes lately. Here’s why I don’t think they’re very helpful.

[THREAD]



(which, judging by the amount of people “liking” @EvansRyan202’s tweet, a lot of you will not like but here we go … )
(BTW, I’m not picking on @EvansRyan202, who I adore and who has a beautiful beard and anyway he’s an adult and can take it. :-) But I have seen this take a lot and I think it’s worth examining.)

@WonkVJ @mchorowitz @DEricSayers @LorenRaeDeJ
Is it true? Without getting into pedantic arguments about how Taleb defines a “black swan,” it certainly is true that there were plenty of people warning about the risk of a pandemic.

Is it helpful? … What action does “they warned us” imply we should take in the future?
Read 28 tweets
15 Jul 19
A few thoughts on the recent Atlantic piece by Kissinger, Schmidt, and Huttenlocher [THREAD]

theatlantic.com/magazine/archi…
It’s better than the last piece on AI by Kissinger, “How the Enlightenment Ends.” So I think that says something about the value of interdisciplinary thinking on how AI and the need to ground analysis in the actual tech today, not science fiction. A good takeaway for us all.
I always have mixed feelings about articles like this. On the one hand, I guess it’s good that it’s highlighting these issues for a general audience. (🤷‍♂️) On the other hand, many of the points in this article are probably not how I would have framed them.
Read 35 tweets
13 Jul 19
Just got back from China.

The mass detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang is like some big awful secret that no one dares mention.
The censorship is so effective that many Chinese are genuinely unaware. One grad student insisted to me it couldn’t be true, that the government couldn’t hide such an enormous thing. But they are.
Others know. A professor whispers to me, “I don’t agree with what’s happening in Xinjiang,” but only in a crowded room where no one can hear. He can’t speak it out loud, and I don’t blame him.
Read 23 tweets
16 May 19
The past 48 hrs have seen some major policy moves in Washington on China tech issues. Let's recap what just happened [THREAD] 👇
Yesterday, the Trump Administration (finally) signed an Executive Order laying the foundations for a ban on Huawei and other Chinese companies in U.S. 5G networks. wsj.com/articles/trump…
The Executive Order had been in the works for months, although put on hold until after US-China trade talks. The immediate effect is largely symbolic, as Huawei and ZTE aren't used by major U.S. carriers anyway.
Read 18 tweets
8 Mar 19
The newly revealed XQ-58 Valkyrie drone is the future of American air power. Here’s why … [a THREAD] 👇thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2…
The Air Force used to have a lot of planes. A *lot*. As this great @MitchellStudies report shows, the numbers have declined markedly over time. docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/a2dd91_5dd…
The standard narrative is that this is because of budget pressures – from BCA, the wars, etc. There’s some truth to this but it misses the bigger picture, because even in times of budget growth the Air Force inventory has gone down.
Read 42 tweets
25 Oct 18
Are exoskeletons over-hyped? Grab a cup of coffee and let's chat about exo-tech [THREAD] 1/x
Dismounted ground troops disproportionately shoulder the burden for American wars. The infantry accounts for over 80% of U.S. casualties since World War II, yet makes up less than 4% of the force.
It wasn't always this way. In WWII, the infantry was the third-deadliest job behind bombadiers and submariners. But in the years since, technology has improved the survivability of bombers and submarines, giving American forces a huge advantage over adversaries.
Read 32 tweets
12 Sep 18
This is a thread about #swarms 👇 (1/a lot)
#Swarms are an important and under-explored area of military competition. This thread is inspired by @SamDavaham's recent very detailed @WarOnTheRocks article arguing why swarms are not effective. warontherocks.com/2018/09/the-co… 2/
Needless to say, I have a different perspective (as I've written before). But I appreciate @SamDavaham's critical analysis. Militaries are only going to better understand the value of #swarms by discussion and debate. cnas.org/publications/r… 3/
Read 33 tweets
8 Nov 17
Have you been ignoring #autonomousweapons for the past 18 months and are now suddenly scrambling to catch up before the #CCWUN #LAWS #GGE next week? (You know who you are...) Congrats, your procrastination has been rewarded! Here's your handy autonomous weapons reading list... 1/
First, homework. The official #CCWUN food-for-thought paper by the chair. Gotta read it. Super short, tho. undocs.org/ccw/gge.1/2017… 2/
Country paper by the Netherlands: undocs.org/ccw/gge.1/2017… 3/
Read 48 tweets