To Win the Next War, the Pentagon Needs Nerds

To Win the Next War, the Pentagon Needs Nerds

Data scientists, coders, and other techies could prove decisive in future conflicts—if Uncle Sam can recruit them.

WHEN RUSSIA INVADED Ukraine, the US Department of Defense turned to a team of machine learning and artificial intelligence experts to make sense of an avalanche of information about the conflict.

“We have surged data scientists forward,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks told WIRED in a recent interview. These tech experts crafted code and machine learning algorithms, creating systems that are “especially valuable for synthesizing the complex logistics picture,” she said.

Due to the sensitive nature of operations in Ukraine, Hicks says she cannot provide details of what the data team has done. But Hicks says this helps prove a point that she and others have been making within the Pentagon for some time—that technology is fundamentally changing the nature of war, and the US needs to adapt in order to maintain its edge.

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