The U.S. Navy is looking towards the world of 2030, when its newest recruits will be just retiring. There'll be lasers, remote-controlled planes... and eye surgery to help you see in the dark.
The Navy Times article about the Navy of 2030 goes way beyond the usual "robot planes and teeny remote-controlled submarines will fight for us" stuff. It describes a world where naval officers get implants that allow them to control machines with their brains — or that vibrate when something is going wrong. And they mention that "special warfare troops may get surgery that improves their night vision." Bring on the Necromongers!
But the Navy isn't just envisioning a gee-whiz technological future — they're also looking towards strategic challenges we can barely imagine. Says the Navy Times:
"China is in an economic war with us in a very subtle way, and if it ever got less subtle, we would look to the Navy to help us keep our shipping lanes open. And I think they'd have a very difficult time doing that, quite frankly," said Sheila Ronis, a professor at Walsh College in Troy, Mich. Ronis works with the Project on National Security Reform in Washington, D.C.
Others worry less about China and more about a vastly expanded Navy role to protect the seas at a time when those seas are home to vast fish farms and wind-energy generators vital to a world with exploding populations and dwindling natural resources.
But the scariest part of the article isn't the part where they discuss possible war with China or an ocean crammed with factory farms, it's the part where they suggest our future naval leaders are Twi-hards. Says Brookings Institute fellow Peter Singer:
Somewhere out there, the future CNO is probably a Hannah Montana fan who is reading vampire books. They've never experienced the Cold War - it is almost meaningless to them.