The Pentagon has unveiled a radical new strategy focused on fielding thousands of cheap, smart and autonomous war drones across multiple domains within 18 to 24 months to counter China’s military advantage in personnel and manned equipment and deter a potential invasion of Taiwan.

Named “Replicator,” the initiative is meant to help the United States “overcome the PRC's (People's Republic of China’s) biggest advantage, which is mass: more ships, more missiles, more people," U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks told a conference in Washington late last month.

Hicks spoke of leveraging “'attritable,' autonomous systems” that are “less expensive, put fewer people in the line of fire, and can be changed, updated or improved with substantially shorter lead times.”