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Tags: pentagon | replicator | defense | technology | funding

Pentagon's Massive Drone Program 'Disorganized, Confusing'

By    |   Sunday, 17 December 2023 03:39 PM EST

The Pentagon's two-year Replicator program to develop a stockpile of drones has its skeptics in the private sector, mostly because of the lack of direct funding for it.

"It's just very disorganized and confusing," a tech company executive told Politico, because it is "not actually associated with any dollars to make things happen."

The program intends to help the U.S. catch up with China on autonomous weapons and technology.

"For the first time ever from a military hardware perspective, we are five to seven years behind our near-peer adversaries in a critical kinetic piece of technology," a former defense official told Politico. "It has just never really happened."

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks held a meeting this week in Mountain View, California, to lay out the plans.

"The reality is, Replicator is removing kinks in the hose of the system that is innovation in DOD [the Department of Defense]," Hicks told reporters earlier this year. "There are a multitude of programs that already exist in the department that need help to get from where they are to delivery at scale. That is where Replicator is focused.

"It's not a program. It's a process for improving our ability to scale."

Replicator was originally billed to be funded from other defense funding but now might need new funds for its own in 2025, according to the report.

"The department needs to define Replicator more precisely, and they have to understand there needs to be funding tied to that," Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., the chair of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said earlier this month. "What do they want to do with Replicator?

"We need to define that, pick it, and move on it as rapidly as possible."

The Pentagon is calling on private companies to pick up the pace in producing drones with the potential to buy them in the future, but the companies want upfront cash from the government, according to the report.

"We're not going to go and build $100 million factories if there aren't orders for these products," the tech executive told Politico.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., chair of the House China Committee and the House Armed Services cyber subcommittee, has concerns about the Pentagon picking "winners and losers in this space" and if it takes from other funding for weapons stockpiles depleted by aiding Ukraine over the past few years of the Biden administration.

"My biggest concern remains, if they're saying they don't need any new funding, OK, well are they going to cannibalize funding from, like, critical munitions, which are the things we should be replicating more than anything else?" Gallagher told Politico. "We don't need all these new widgets. We need, like, maximum production of long range anti-ship missiles and things like that."

The Biden administration failed in its Replicator program from the start because it "really needed to have funding, and a way to apply, attached to their announcement," according to what the tech executive said to Politico.

"It's just pure fluff" otherwise, the executive concluded.

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The Pentagon's two-year Replicator program to develop a stockpile of drones has its skeptics in the private sector, mostly because of the lack of direct funding for it.
pentagon, replicator, defense, technology, funding
502
2023-39-17
Sunday, 17 December 2023 03:39 PM
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