The U.S. Defense Department announced in late 2014 an initiative to reinvigorate American military technology innovation known as the “Third Offset Strategy,” and after a year of classified investigation and secret deliberation some early components of this strategy are being revealed.

Initial reviews of the approach have highlighted the futuristic (almost sci-fi) vision for next-generation U.S. weapons programs — robots, swarming drones, “Iron Man” suits and the like — but equally noteworthy are new aspects of the concept for how these systems might be developed and deployed more efficiently. Key changes include proactively tapping non-defense high-tech companies for targeted contributions and deepening collaboration with trusted allies like Japan to help catalyze breakthrough applications, but these new concepts face many hurdles.

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