Shrinking Cities

One of the biggest challenges for the world this century is how to accommodate the hundreds of millions of people who will flock to cities, especially in emerging economies. Coping with this human torrent will be fearsomely difficult but at least the problem is widely acknowledged. That is not true of another pressing urban dilemma: what to do with cities that are losing people.They are hardly unusual. Almost one in ten American cities is shrinking. So are more than a third of German ones and the number is growing. Although Japan’s biggest cities are thriving, large numbers of its smaller ones are collapsing. Several South Korean cities have begun to decline a trend that will speed up unless couples can somehow be persuaded to have more babies. Next will come China, where the force of rapid urbanisation will eventually be overwhelmed by the greater power of demographic contraction. China’s total urban population is expected to peak by mid-century; older industrial boom towns are already on a downward slope.

An abandoned street containing a rotting nursery or primary school is a sad sight. And declining cities have more than visual problems. Disused buildings deter investors and attract criminals; superfluous infrastructure is costly to maintain; ambitious workers may refuse to move to places where the potential clientele is shrinking. Where cities are economically self-sufficient, a smaller working population means a fragile base on which to balance hefty pension obligations. That is why Detroit went bust. So it is unsurprising that governments often try to shore up their crumbling smaller cities. Japan recently announced tax cuts for firms that are willing to move their headquarters out of thriving Tokyo. Office parks, art museums and tram lines have been built in troubled American and European cities, on the assumption that if you build it, people will come. For the most part, they will not. Worse, the attempt to draw workers back to shrinking cities is misconceived. People move from smaller to larger cities in countries like Germany and Japan because the biggest conurbations have stronger economies, with a greater variety of better-paying jobs. The technological revolution, which was once expected to overturn the tyranny of distance, has in fact encouraged workers to cluster together and share clever ideas. Britain’s productivity is pitiful these days (see article) but it is almost one-third higher in London than elsewhere.  Policies meant to counteract the dominance of big cities are not just doomed to fail but can actually be counter-productive. The most successful metropolises should be encouraged to expand by stripping away planning restrictions. If housing were more plentiful in the bigger conurbations it would be cheaper, and the residents of declining cities, who often have little housing equity, would find it easier to move to them. Rent controls and rules that give local people priority in public housing should go, too: they harm the poor by locking them into unproductive places.

A new kind of garden city

Even so, many people will stay stuck in shrinking cities, which will grow steadily older. Better transport links to big cities will help some. But a great many cannot be revived. In such cases the best policy is to acquire empty offices and homes, knock them down and return the land to nature—something that has worked in the east German city of Dessau-Rosslau and in Pittsburgh in America. That will require money and new habits of mind. Planners are expert at making cities work better as they grow. Keeping them healthy as they shrink is just as noble.

In the US at least, cities house poor people, often racial minorities or from lower classes, who global capitalism no longer wants to employ. The excesses of finance with harmful if not predatory mortgages, ended up kicking people out their houses, which become vacant and vandalized, driving people away from cities. Who will pay to restore or repair them? Excessive wealth inequality may favor a few high lifestyle metros, but also prevent capital from investing in places where the those who control capital seek only to exploit. Growing populations may keep property values inflated, but low and stagnant wages will not make cities liveable. Our biggest crisis is how to employ everyone, or if that is becoming more obsolete, to ensure that the productivity of the society is widely shared. Whether that happens in large metros, smaller cities or even repopulated and renewed farmlands is less important than that it happens at all.

Cities rise and fall. Take the former City States of Rome and Venice as two significant examples. This pattern will continue and the global pattern of key cities will also shift. Cities with strong economic drivers will prevail. Cities with attractive natural qualities will prevail. Cities which are well marketed and offer a better quality of life will prevail. Cities in countries whose governments offer significant financial and taxation advantages will prevail. Competition will always prevail at the Local, Regional, State, National and International level. Larger cities with characteristics such as those above will continue to prosper provided they can compete. Smaller centres located within short travel times to such cities will also benefit and transport technology here can play a large role. In addition locations with good cyber connections to people in such centres also have potential. The urban settlements patterns of the past and today will be quite different to those of tomorrow. Government will always have a regulatory role in ensuring that citizens are safe and prosperous and make a fair contribution to society. People will migrate to seek a better life. Those people captive to their own predicament and their country’s policies will be unable to move and policies of countries may restrict immigration. Humanity adapts.



Most Warriors when engaged in conflict may have either killed and broken things, but, as a soldier, that was never the end. There was a purpose, a reason, a goal. Always. My country, profession, and family demand this, as is the case for all in uniform.
The military’s purpose is not to kill people and break things. This idea is factually, historically, professionally, and philosophically wrong — and must itself be remorselessly killed and violently broken. This 11-word platitude has no place in modern society.
To suggest the military’s purpose is to break and kill confuses purpose and task, ends with means. Ironically, this miscalculation came from a minister. To apply the error in ecclesiastical terms would be to claim that Jesus’s purpose was merely to die a painful physical death, without any higher design. This might seem like silly semantics to some, but to professionals carrying either cross or carbine, words matter.
Beyond the logic, consider U.S. military doctrine’s first among equals — Joint Publication 1: Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States — which affirms that “military power is integrated with other instruments of national power to advance and defend US values, interests, and objectives.” This purpose applies even to the ground-pounding infantry, whose mission is “to close with and destroy the enemy.” Again, “destroy” is a task, which does not a purpose make. And recent reality reflects a much broader set of tasks for the grunts than myopic fixation on stabbing and smashing, all of which serve the same purpose Joint Publication 1 describes: training the Ukrainian army, assuring the Baltics, supporting African states, not to mention the development of security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan for the past decade. Doctrine and recent experience combine to confirm that killing and breaking are not the military’s sole purpose or occupation.

Huckabee’s oft-repeated assertion is also wrong historically. Consider the Berlin Airlift, or the responses to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the earthquake in Haiti, and the massive disasters in Indonesia and Japan. Or the military’s role in creation and discovery: the Panama Canal, the Space Race, Lewis and Clark, the Great White Fleet, the Internet. We stand watch over the heroes in Arlington, as well as the environment: the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone, our first National Park, for over 30 years (which is where Smokey the Bear got that great campaign hat). Dr. Seuss drew political cartoons as a lieutenant, while director Frank Capra of It’s a Wonderful Life fame made movies as a major in the U.S. Army during World War II. The military does many diverse tasks. The common denominator is serving and protecting America, Americans, and American interests.
To sharpen this edge with a personal point, I write from a forward-stationed position in the Republic of Korea. Tensions are up after North Korea planted mines on our side of the Demilitarized Zone, maiming two South Korean soldiers, which resulted in an escalatory exchange of psychological operations loudspeaker broadcasts and indirect fire. If I were to receive a real-world alert call tonight, the entire range is possible: humanitarian aid and disaster relief, airstrikes and artillery, tanks and tunnels, not to leave out the fully present danger of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare. Or all of the above.
Critics will counter with Clausewitz, dismissing my argument as the naïve, “kind-hearted” words of someone that misguidedly believes there is “some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed.” But Clausewitz was writing in an era of limited options, when a bloodsucking leech was often the medical profession’s first and only recourse. Today is different. New U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley just alluded to the same kind of red stuff. “As America, we have no luxury of a single opponent,” Milley said, warning that “we will pay the butcher’s bill in blood” if the military is not prepared to succeed at tasks across the full spectrum. Limiting the military to killing and breaking would inappropriately constrain us to black/white responses in a Technicolor world.
Not everything has changed. The Spartans had a saying, which roughly translates to “Come back with your shield or on it.” The shield was valued above all, because in the ranks, the shield protected not just its immediate bearer, but also the next soldier, and on, and so on. The shield mattered more than the sword. The message was clear: If you do not have your shield, if you lost that implement of integrated defense, then you had better not come back at all. And this rings true today: The military is both the country’s shield and sword, but, always the shield over the sword.

The final stake in this mistaken sentiment’s heart is that it misrepresents me as a military person. If my purpose is to kill people and break things, how do I explain this to my wife and two young daughters? Particularly as Gen. Milley considered this our primary audience, stating: “Most importantly, we serve for our children.” Should I get down on bended knee and tell my girls, “Daddy is a killer and a breaker?” Would this make them smile? Proud?
The idea that the military exists to kill and break rests on a Hollywood-informed view of the world, loaded with giant, muscular superheroes that never have to submit to the laws of physics or a weapon’s maximum ammunition capacity, perpetually ready to whack a terrorist at a moment’s notice. This Bruckheimerian theology might be captured at its uniformed best in Marvel’s Captain America (played by a CGI-enhanced Chris Evans). Ironically, friends at work have taken to calling me “Steve Rogers” — as in the scrawny, scrappy, hard charger who eventually transforms into Captain America after taking a mystery drug (steroids). As in all jokes, there’s some truth in the punchline: As a runner, I fill out every bit of my extra-small uniform.
But here’s why I’m proud, fiercely proud, to be nicknamed “Steve Rogers.” In the movies, you take some chemicals, get big and impervious to heavy-weapons fire, and start mauling bad guys. In reality, those of us in uniform are human, not Terminators. There’s a telling moment in Captain America when a senior officer tests a group of recruits by rolling a grenade into a large gathering of soldiers. Without hesitation, the smallest of them, Steve Rogers, hurls himself onto the explosive. The protective instinct on display represents the military far better than any written description ever could — sacrificing one’s all to safeguard the many.
The purpose of the military is not to kill people and break things. While sometimes it must break, it must always guard. While sometimes it must kill, it must always keep. In all things, in all tasks, beyond any debate, the military’s purpose is to serve and protect America.

Major Matt Cavanaugh, a U.S. Army Strategist, has served in assignments from Iraq to the Pentagon and New York to New Zealand. He writes regularly at and invites others to connect via Twitter @MLCavanaugh. This essay is an unofficial expression of opinion; the views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the US Military Academy, Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or any agency of the U.S. government.

The Strategy Of Nuclear Deterrence 

General Martin E. Dempsey, the outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently introduced the latest version of the “National Military Strategy of the United States of America.” The unremarkable title and relatively quiet roll-out of this document mask some of the significant conclusions the President’s top military advisers have come to, namely, “global disorder has significantly increased while some of our comparative military advantage has begun to erode.” While malicious state and nonstate actors and technology competitions are nothing new on the international stage, one conclusion the Joint Chiefs of Staff came to is somewhat surprising: that there is a “growing” risk of “war with a major power.” Additionally, the Joint Chiefs of Staff expect that “future conflicts between states may prove to be unpredictable, costly, and difficult to control.” Likewise, the National Intelligence Council believes that “the employment of new forms of warfare such as cyber and space warfare” will allow states to “escalate and expand future conflicts beyond the traditional battlefield.” So not only is there a growing risk of the United States being involved in a war with a major power, but the number and type of potential crises that could spark a war is rising. That answers the question of “why” the threat environment is unpredictable. The subsequent question then is, “what should we do about it?”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff ranked their priorities in this unpredictable world and one mission stood out above the rest. The number one priority as defined by the President’s top military advisers is sustaining and modernizing the U.S. nuclear triad of bombers, submarines, and missiles.  The current administration, as well as previous ones, has determined rightly that ensuring the United States possesses a flexible and resilient nuclear force now is the best hope for deterring existential threats both now and in the uncertain future. Nuclear weapons can help deter the only existential-level threats facing the United States in ways that conventional, economic, or political power alone cannot.

According to Matthew R. Costlow, a Policy Analyst at the National Institute of public policy explains how nuclear deterrence and assurance, arms control, nonproliferation, Russian and Chinese defense strategy, and nuclear terrorism are all interconnected.  This recognition is not, as some critics have claimed, anachronistic thought coming from long-slumbering Cold Warriors. It is a clear-eyed admission of reality that is, while unpleasant, supremely necessary. A recently-released report titled “Project Atom,” which surveyed four of the leading think-tanks on this issue, shows there is remarkable agreement across most of the ideological spectrum. All four think tanks concluded that all three legs of the nuclear triad should not only be retained, but modernized. Critics at this point may concede that nuclear weapons are necessary for America’s defense, but claim current modernization plans are “unaffordable” and just as much deterrent effect could be squeezed out of a smaller nuclear force. Advocates of this position point to President Obama’s pledge in Berlin in 2013 to seek up to a one-third cut in deployed U.S. nuclear weapons. What proponents of further nuclear cuts fail to realize, however, is that President Obama’s pledge was not a call for unilateral U.S. disarmament, but rather a proposal for negotiated nuclear reductions with Russia. Little more than seven months after the speech, Russian troops occupied Crimea, and Russia now rejects further negotiations. Alas, the unpredictability of international relations remains a cruel constant.

As for the affordability of U.S. nuclear modernization plans, new research shows that U.S. nuclear forces will indeed be affordable as the U.S. defense budget shifts to accommodate upcoming expenses. Again, it is a matter of ranking military priorities, and U.S. military leaders agree that the modernization of U.S. nuclear forces ranks right at the top. While the U.S. nuclear force is the top military priority, this does not mean it is silver bullet that can address every security threat facing America today, it was never meant to. Just as tanks are useless against cyber-attacks and artillery cannot defend satellites in space, U.S. nuclear weapons have defined roles for limited missions, namely: deterring massive attacks on the United States, defeating an enemy and limiting damage should deterrence fail, deterring attacks on our allies and assuring them of our capabilities, and limiting coercion by state and non-state actors. Deterrence, as a strategy, is not fool-proof and guarantees nothing. But every presidential administration, Republican and Democrat alike, since the dawn of the atomic age has recognized the immense value U.S. nuclear weapons have in deterring catastrophic attacks and affecting the behavior of international leaders. Choosing not to modernize U.S. nuclear forces or cutting their numbers drastically will result in a less adaptable force in an international system that enforces one rule ruthlessly: evolve or die. Like debates in Washington D.C. always seem to do, conversation will inevitably gravitate towards the question of affordability in a tight budget environment. Yet, this is at best a secondary issue. The real question is, what priority should we give U.S. nuclear modernization in an uncertain and unpredictable world? The answer: number one.


As per Carole N. House and John M. House Nanotechnology, Drones, and 3D Printing are the cornerstone for the Future of Soldier Efficiencies. The Soldier has always been and will always remain the basic element of the U.S. Army. Soldiers define the Army and carry out every mission the Army conducts. Therefore, enhancing Soldier efficiency should be a cornerstone of capabilities development in the Army today and into the future. The importance of Soldier efficiency will only grow as a smaller segment of American society serves in uniform. Without capitalizing on technological advancements to improve efficiency, the Army runs the risk of having missions exceed capabilities because the number of Soldiers available will always be a finite number. Austere environments at a port of entry into a hostile environment will emphasize this need even more. The need for Soldier efficiencies to improve power, speed, and understanding is clear. Several developments in the near future should enhance the efficiency of the future Soldier over that of today’s men and women in uniform. Soldier cognition, logistics sustainability, performance enhancement, and nanotechnology provide opportunities for improved efficiency over today.

Soldier Cognition
Battlefield awareness or situational understanding has been improving since humanity developed a telescope. The ability of Soldiers to see farther and process information quickly will continue to improve thanks to unmanned aerial systems and information technology enhancements. Handheld or arm-mounted personal data systems will provide Soldiers greater access to information than ever before. While the original Land Warrior system never reached its potential, miniaturization of electronics and improvements in power will enhance the ability of a Soldier to remain connected to the mission command and intelligence networks that will overlay the battlefield. The Nett Warrior project, successor to Land Warrior, continues to integrate the promise of digital communications and tracking into increased operational effectiveness. Although Nett Warrior currently faces issues such as battery power and communications, increased battery performance and signal capabilities through the use of repeaters will only contribute to this system’s effectiveness and its future mass fielding by 2025. A recent media report indicated that DARPA plans to implant a computer hard drive in a person’s brain to enhance memory or to help injured Soldiers regain memory function. However, if successful, it does not take a great leap of mind to consider the possibility of improved network efficiency of Soldiers with the ability to connect with mission command or intelligence systems without the aid of an input device such as the eye. If instead of looking at a plan or map and having to derive its meaning a Soldier can simply have the information available on a hard drive, efficiency of operations order transmission and understanding should improve. Conceivably orders could instantly be in a Soldier’s memory without the risk of information loss or misunderstanding. The knowledge will simply be immediately available. A Soldier’s ability to assimilate directly into the Joint Battle Command-Platform (JBC-P) through Nett Warrior holds major implications for operational communications when augmented by the ability to integrate a human brain into mission command devices. Digital colloids, effectively shapeshifting nanoparticle clusters that could store up to 1 terabyte of data within a tablespoon of liquid, will gradually pave the way toward “wet computing.” The Defense Advanced Research Project’s (DARPA) neurosignaling technological advancements are already facilitating mind control of technology in 2015. Manipulation permitted by neurosignals compounded by the massive information capacity of digital colloids portends an incredible future interoperability between human brains and digital systems. In effect, by 2025, Nett Warrior-geared Soldiers will be experimenting with the ability to control such digital systems as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and communications through thought. Continued investigation into neurosignaling and bio-hard drive integration technology will most likely be in a developmental stage in 2025, preparing for future fielding into the general force structure. UAVs are present today. Battlefield surveillance and precision strike missions are well known. Improved power capabilities will allow smaller unmanned systems to carry more sensors or weapons over greater distances and for longer periods than in the past. Solar and thermal energy harvesting and battery power enhancements (e.g. the use of carbon nanotubes and sulfur in lithium-ion batteries to increase energy storage and transfer speed) will lead to increased sustainability and redundancy of power sources, mitigating current time and range limitations of UAV sorties. Improved network capability will enable the individual Soldier to interact with unmanned aerial systems to a greater degree than today. When the individual Soldier can look around or over an obstacle such as a building or natural obstacle, then detect, and finally attack an enemy, efficiency will improve, as such Soldiers will be able to defeat an enemy while remaining in relative safety during reconnaissance and even exploitation by indirect fire. However, unmanned aerial systems will also play a major role in enhancing logistics support.

Logistics Support
Unmanned systems in the air or the ground should be able to transport supplies in the not too distant future. and several other commercial industries worldwide are researching the possibility of using small, unmanned systems to deliver orders. If can do this, the U.S. Army should also be able to package supplies for delivery on the battlefield without having to risk a Soldier in a truck exposed to enemy fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Delivery to exact locations with Global Positioning System (GPS) guidance will reduce the problems of large stockpiles of supplies and reduce the possibility of delivery to the wrong location. A robotics system using a GPS for navigation will negate the need for a Soldier trying to read a map while driving down a road at night and trying to avoid an IED or other type of ambush. Larger unmanned aerial systems should be able to carry larger quantities of supplies and even potentially conduct aerial medical evacuation (medevac) without risking a manned helicopter. Issues remain with medical care while in transit, of course. Nonetheless, it may be more efficient to use a robotic system for a short-range medevac to remove a Soldier from a dangerous environment to a location near him or her where quick transfer to a manned system is possible with a reduced risk for the evacuation crew. Another major logistics effect of UAVs will be the projection of voice, data, video, and digital communications in remote locations. Facebook’s Initiative is currently working to provide Internet access to isolated areas through Wi-Fi-beaming drones. Over the next 10 years, drones will increasingly provide telecommunications access by providing internet capability in austere environments. The Army will be able to use this capability for mounted aerial repeaters to facilitate long-distance radio communications for initial entry, highly mobile patrols, forward elements, and even for isolated personnel. An even greater impact on logistical support will come from 3D printing. 3D printing offers the advantages of speedy, customized production on demand in remote locations and with minimal waste products. As 3D printing technologies continue to improve so that a printer can produce a multitude of repair parts from a few generic materials, this will reduce the need to carry thousands of lines of small repair parts and even basic tools. As long as the materials on hand used for the printing have the required strength and characteristics for the required equipment task, an operator could produce a needed part or tool on demand without having to wait for resupply. Inherent in this logistical transformation is a great amount of research and development by the Army over the next 10 years to assess and prepare every piece of equipment in the Army supply inventory for assimilation into a 3D printing-based supply system. This includes building a catalog of the digital design files for every reproducible item as well as testing the durability of each piece in its 3D-printed form. Such a capability would dramatically reduce time of delivery and greatly increase unit readiness and self-sufficiency. This sufficiency will also diminish the vulnerability of units to enemy attacks on their lines of communication. Combining such replication capability with small, unmanned aerial systems for delivery and repair parts will improve maintenance and operational efficiency dramatically.

Human Performance Enhancement
Besides increasing the efficiency of his mission command and logistical tasks, emerging mechanical and nanotechnology will continue to heighten the individual Soldier’s physical capabilities. Exoskeleton system development by 2025 will likely be in its early stages of enhancing human performance. Two current Department of Defense initiatives will drive the creation of this technology: DARPA’s Warrior Web program and the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) for Special Operations Command. The Warrior Web program focuses on creating a flexible, low-powered suit that responds to physical stress and the user’s movements to mitigate chronic injuries and reduce the physical burden of the load upon the operator. The TALOS suit is more comparable to a human tank than the more subtle Warrior Web suit. TALOS is specifically engineered for a solution to protect the lead member of a squad who enters a room and is most vulnerable to small arms fire and explosives in close quarters. The ability to carry more weight provided by these exosuits will greatly increase performance efficiency in traveling long distances over rugged terrains with minimized physical hardship. Increased power to physical tasks combined with less need for recovery due to less physical stress and fewer injuries will help make each individual Soldier a kind of “superman.” Additionally, the suits will enable cognitive improvement by helping Soldiers to carry the electronic and power systems for mission command and situational awareness needed over longer distances than today and in terrain that is more difficult. Though situational awareness and battery power are major obstacles currently standing in the way to a working prototype, enhancements over the next 10 years in heads-up display graphical depiction, like that in Google Glass, and battery power will fix much of these challenges. Nanotechnology also offers some promising advancements in human performance in healing and combating disease.

The Army’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology (ISN) at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) provides the opportunity for the Army to be at the forefront of nanotechnology development. Current initiatives include enhanced fibers and materials, medical care, physical ballistic protection, chemical and biological detection and protection, and integration of nanotechnology systems. Capabilities in these areas will improve Soldier efficiency. Materials that provide enhanced physical comfort will help ensure Soldiers focus on their missions and not their personal needs. However, the most critical developments will be in survivability measures. Enhanced medical care will keep Soldiers on the battlefield when otherwise they could succumb to wounds or other injuries. Nanotechnology is providing scientists insight into functionality of human immune systems at an incredible level of detail to monitor the effects of chosen treatments. Additionally, the ISN is developing breakthrough Rapid Reconstitution Packages (RRPs) of lyophilized (i.e. freeze-drying) medicine and vaccinations that can then be stored for years in a compact, powder form. Nanotechnology has also led to incredible developments in wound treatment and healing. Carbon nanotube patches mimic organic tissue when placed on damaged human organs and encourage speedy and strong growth of new tissue.16 Nanofibers in gels used to fill wounds will help to maintain a good level of hemostasis and facilitate less traumatic healing processes, especially if the ISN is successful in using the nanofibers as sensors during healing to trigger release of helpful drugs directly into the body. Nanofibers will also be able to act as sensors as part of a Soldier’s uniform, providing basic vital signs and injury data into the established reporting infrastructure, perhaps the Nett Warrior system. RRPs and nanotechnology-facilitated treatment and monitoring of injuries will greatly increase first medical responder capabilities and greatly increase survivability against injury and disease during operations in remote locations. Improved protection from blast and ballistic projectiles will reduce injuries and enable a smaller force to remain in action longer. Nanotechnology will enable construction of personal protective equipment and vehicle armor that control ballistic energy dissipation to a much greater extent than seen today. Bio-inspired protective joints will also provide effective defense against daily wear on burdened joints and blunt trauma in harsh conditions. Chemical and biological protection through nano-enhanced hazard material detection will again reduce injuries and enable Soldiers to continue to operate when others would have to evacuate an area. The integration of nanotechnologies will support the capabilities noted here but also should enhance the capabilities associated with Soldier cognition and logistics support. These same enhancements affecting materials should reduce the weight of systems that support improved cognition. Improvements in materials and protection will enable logistics systems to operate in hostile environments over greater distances. Augmented by formations of healthy Soldiers, the Army of 2025 looks to be one of strong individuals able to work efficiently in all daily Warrior Tasks and largely self-sufficiently for extended periods of time.

Technological enhancements in the near future if combined with innovative operational concepts provide the opportunity to improve Soldier efficiency dramatically. Whether in Soldier cognition, logistics support, or nanotechnology, the opportunities are close at hand. Integrating digital systems functionality, unmanned aerial systems, 3D printing, exoskeletons, and nanotechnologies into the individual Soldier’s mission requirements and capabilities will provide the desired efficiencies.

End Notes
1. ADS Inc. (2014). Enhancing warfighter readiness with cutting edge, COTS C4ISR supply chain management. Retrieved from… Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E). (2015, January). FY14 army programs: Nett warrior. FY 2014 Annual Report, 131-132. Retrieved from

2. McGarry, B. (2015, March 19). After terminator arm, DARPA wants implantable hard drive for the brain. News. Retrieved from…

3. Solon, O. (2014, July 28). Liquid hard drive could store 1TB data in a tablespoon. Wired. Retrieved from

4. Phillips, C. L., Jankowski, E., Krishnatreya, B. J., Edmond, K. V., Sacanna, S., Grier, D. G., … Glotzer, S. C. (2014, October 14). Digital colloids: Reconfigurable clusters as high information density elements. Soft Matter, 10(38), p. 7468-7479. Retrieved from

5. Phillip, A. (2015, March 3). A paralyzed woman flew an F-35 fighter jet in a simulator – using only her mind. The Washington Post. Retrieved from…

6. Sandhana, L. (2013, November 25). New wave energy wants to put power plants in the sky. Gizmag. Retrieved from; Liu, C., Gillette, E.I., Xinyi, C., Pearse, A. J., Kozeri, A. C., Schroeder, M. A.,… Rubloff, G.W. (2014, November 10). An all-in-one nanopore battery array. Nature Nanotechnology, 9(2014), 1031-1038. Retrieved from; Zhang, S. (2013, January 20). Liquid electrolyte lithium/sulfur battery: Fundamental chemistry, problems, and solution. Journal of Power Sources, 231(2013), 153-162. Retrieved from

7. Barr, A. & Bensinger, G. (2014, August 29). Google is testing delivery drone system. The Washington Street Journal. Retrieved from…

8. Alexander, D. (2014, April 5). U.S. Navy testing more sophisticated pilotless helicopters. Reuters. Retrieved from…

9. Lavars, N. (2014, March 26). Facebook successfully tests its internet-beaming drones. Gizmag. Retrieved from

10. Pirjan, A. & Petrosanu, D. M. (2013). The impact of 3D printing technology on the society and economy. Journal of Information Systems & Operations Management, Winter 2013, 1-11. Retreived from

11. DARPA. (n.d.). Warrior web. DARPA Biological Technologies Office. Retrieved from; Magnuson, Stew. (2015, January 28). SOCOM’s “Iron Man” suit faces major technological hurdles. National Defense Magazine. Retrieved from

12. DARPA, n.d.; Schechter, E. (2014, December 4). DARPA is getting closer to an Iron Man suit. Popular Mechanics. Retrieved from…

13. Magnuson, 2015

14. Strange, A. (2013, August 14). Google Glass video shows off turn-by-turn directions. PC Magazine. Retrieved from,2817,2423068,00.asp

15. Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN). (n.d.). Strategic Research Areas. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. Retrieved from

Expanding the Business of Defense To Emerging Markets

As the defense budgets face downward pressure in the US and Europe, emerging markets are poised to spend more than a trillion dollars on defense over the coming decade, creating business opportunities for Western defense firms. A recent Frost & Sullivan analysis of 10 emerging markets concluded that between 2015 and 2025, emerging markets in Southeast Asia, South America, the Middle East and elsewhere would spend more than $1.2 trillion on defense. Over that period, military expenditures in Colombia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco and Singapore are expected to see 3.6 percent compound annual growth rate, while Angola, Azerbaijan, Peru, Qatar and South Korea can anticipate a CAGR of 2.8 percent. Much of that spending will be on personnel, operations and maintenance, leaving relatively modest amounts for new equipment. While the first group will spend an average of $9.5 billion a year combined on new equipment, the second will spend an average of $18.95 billion a year combined, primarily driven by South Korea and Qatar’s acquisition spending. While some emerging markets are rapidly developing countries and some boast more established economies, the three main drivers for their increased defense spending are similar, said Alek Jovovic, an analyst with Avascent.

First, governments want to develop what Jovovic terms “sovereign technical capabilities,” with spillover domestic benefits. “They look at the defense sector and they see certain things came out of defense spending that were just good for countries from a technological perspective. It drives broader industrial development,” he said.

Second, they want the ability to defend themselves as needed without relying on equipment from foreign suppliers.

Third, boosting defense spending helps create high-quality jobs. “These are all trends that are remarkably similar, no matter what the threat context is, no matter where the country is,” Jovovic said.

Earlier this year, the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies noted that global defense spending rose by 1.7 percent in 2014, the first year of growth since 2010. But the geographical distribution of defense spending is changing, with less coming from the US (which accounted for 38 percent of the global total in 2014, down from 47 percent in 2010) and Europe. “By contrast, defense outlays are rising in many emerging economies, particularly Asia, the Middle East and Russia,” IISS noted in its report Military Balance 2015. “In the Middle East and North Africa, nominal defense spending is estimated to have risen by almost two-thirds since 2010. Factoring in exchange rate and inflationary effects, this equates to a 40 percent increase in real defense outlays over the period.” The shift in defense spending creates opportunities for Western defense contractors as demand for sophisticated weapons will likely outpace emerging countries’ abilities to produce them domestically. As a white paper published by Avascent in March noted, the US has a leading position in these markets, but political friction between the US and its allies leaves an opening for competition from European, Israeli, Russian and Chinese defense companies. While mature markets in Western Europe and Northeast Asia continue to offer major competitive opportunities over the next 10 years, “many opportunities will be found in fast-growing emerging markets which have less well-developed industrial capacity to fulfill the requirements of rapidly expanding militaries,” the Avascent white paper states. “A growing share of revenues for most Western defense suppliers will come from these emerging markets.” For example, 95 percent of defense contracts in Gulf Corporation Council countries between 2010 and 2014 went to foreign companies, with the lion’s share going to the US (73 percent) and Western Europe (24 percent). In the coming decade, 64 percent of GCC contracts are up for grabs, according to Avascent projections. Similarly, the US (41 percent) and Western Europe (31 percent) were the largest defense suppliers for Southeast Asia between 2010 and 2014, but 63 percent of contracts for the coming decade are uncommitted. “On one side it is good news, because a number of new markets that aspire to world-class defense products and services to some smaller degree,” Jovovic said. “On the challenging side, these are sometimes hard markets to do business in. They require a bit of a paradigm shift, you have more partnering, more collaboration with folks on the ground.”

In a survey conducted in October by McKinsey & Company, defense industry executives largely predicted declining defense spending in North America and Europe versus growth in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The Middle East (77 percent), India (50 percent), US (33 percent), South Korea (33 percent) and the UK (23 percent) were seen as the most attractive markets, with Japan (20 percent), Brazil (10 percent), Indonesia (10 percent), Canada (10 percent) and China (7 percent) rounding out the top 10. “Declining budgets in the Western world and growth in Asia and the Middle East give rise to an overwhelming trend in the defense industry: affordability,” the McKinsey report states. “About 85 percent of executives believe that their customers will shift their focus from procuring systems with the highest possible performance to ones that are more affordable.”

Curated by N. Jafry & C. Pacheco

Advent Of A Sustainable Economy

There is a symbolic movement of our times that is promising a new lifestyle. A lifestyle that is not only transforming the vision of the future but changing the way we do business and invest. It is a possibility where the energy is produced and consumed sustainably, the environment is clean, and all of nature is in its healthy state. I know this could sound very idealistic when we are constantly bombarded by bad news. But if we look deeper the sustainable revolution has inspired and compelled governments and corporations to make goods and services such as clean power, extend green tax credits and encourage local recycling mandates that affect our day to day lives. This trend has also resulted in a new race to create better and more efficient cars and buildings which consume less energy and resources. New and advanced methods of growing food, and developing medications with organic ingredients are influencing nutrition and health care sectors as well. More humane procedures, like using fewer chemicals and minimizing animal testing’s has been advocated by consumers and activists alike. Even Local counties and schools are encouraging their constituents to recycle and conserve, this has resulted in many of us reusing shopping bags, using public transportation paying a premium for locally grown organic food and driving a fuel-efficient car.

But then we must also pay attention as to who are joining the movement to “LOOK” good and who are actually participating to” DO” good. Green washing is another technique where many may use to fit and conform into the new trend. Following the investments and the money chasing green projects is one way to keep abreast with what’s happening in the world of sustainability. As an entrepreneur or consumer pputting your money where your heart is another way to ensure the brightest idea will not get anywhere with the wrong funders. Don’t get intimidated by traditional start-ups and their glamorous image. You are not in the business of looking good, you’re in the business of doing good! And this is particularly what makes you stand out from the crowd. Invest in your purpose, put your heart and mind to nurture that big idea. Slowly, but surely, you can get the ball rolling further than you would have ever imagined.

Many VC monies may come with lots of strings attached and loss of creative liberty to steer businesses in the right direction hence not getting get stuck on the idea of VCs and cash in the bank but with key partnerships and  resources instead could be essential. People, skills, relationships that bring the right mix together to co-create things which at the end of the day may increase capacity to help move businesses further that otherwise would have been paid for. The right partners will embark on a journey with you because they believe in what you do and will give time, skills, networks and passion. That may be worth a whole lot than just cash!. If we must need to go the traditional route and go for the big money – VCs, grants etc – being picky about who we are pitching to may be critical. Research the VC’s or foundation’s history of giving, their pre-existing conditions and their relationship with their beneficiaries. Before pitching, try to meet with them informally and see if you click on the same things. Do you trust that person after you have left the meeting? Would they be an enjoyable teammate? Do you want to share more with them and value their advice, beyond just the business side of things? If your answer is yes, then go for it. Investments will come pouring.

In short align your values and stay true to yourself, your mission and your vision.  Never compromise and never lose sight of the purpose of your business, organizations or projects. Be authentic in everything you do!  Authenticity reinforces your purpose. Funding will only make it flourish. But if the Mission of sustainability is not there then there is nothing that can flourish.

Curated By Naved Jafry

Making Co-Housing Trendy 

In cities with rapidly rising rents, foreclosed hotels and office/ industrial buildings have steered the creation of hotel-like spaces that may also house the young or the penniless masses.  You can have a few hundred housemates in an abandoned office building that is turning into one of the world’s largest experiments in co-living, designed in response to London’s insane rents. Inside, residents will have private space to sleep, storage, and a bathroom. A kitchenette may or may not be shared. But they’ll also have access to 12,000 square feet of shared living space, including full kitchens, a library, a spa, a “secret garden,” and a theater. “The idea is that we provide a compact but well-designed living space where you can have all of your basics. … It’s really your crash pad,” says Reza Merchant, CEO of The Collective, the London startup that is developing the building along with several other co-living spaces around the city. “The wealth of amenity space is the modern form of the living room.”
If you want to have a dinner party, for example, you can book a room for that. “It’s the whole sharing economy phenomenon when you share things with other people you get a lot more bang for your buck,” he says. “How often are you going to have a 15-person dinner party? You don’t have that every night, so if you share that with other people, you can have access to all these amazing living spaces that you wouldn’t otherwise have.”It’s designed to be something that someone in their twenties or thirties can afford as London rents which have doubled in the past decade keep soaring. Depending on the neighborhood, the co-living spaces The Collective is building can be 15%-40% cheaper than renting a typical apartment.”At the moment, people earning less than £40,000-£50,000 a year don’t have the option of renting a flat in a decent location,” Merchant says. “So they’re forced at the moment to rent rooms in often illegally converted houses.” Merchant, who is 26, is also convinced that millennials prefer living in communities. “I think if you look at our generation, there’s a shift toward wanting to be part of a community and share experience with their peers,” he says. “The whole concept of sharing is much more acceptable today than it was previously. So on the one hand, people actually prefer to share. On the other hand, there are simply no options.”

The building is designed to be suitcase-ready and is a little like living in a millennial-filled hotel. “We change the linen, we clean the rooms, we have an on-site concierge, we fully furnish the rooms, even down to the knives, the forks, the TV, so that people can show up with their bag and they’re ready to live,” Merchant says. “That’s very much part of the psyche of the millennial generation. They don’t want to own material possessions.” When it opens in 2016, the building will be one of several massive co-living spaces The Collective is planning for London. PLP Architecture, which designed the space, also has plans for another big project, a 30-story skyscraper with co-living on the top and co-working for startups on the bottom.The Collective isn’t the only company to attempt co-living spaces, but there’s still questions about whether the business model works. Campus, a startup from Silicon Valley, notably failed at the same thing. Others, like a new co-living space in Brooklyn, have been criticized for charging rents that aren’t much better than a studio in the area. Still, more are being planned. Overall we think that the growing interest in co-living is a logical reaction to the housing affordability crisis many cities face. There is a massive issue in big cities like London, San Francisco and New York where the lifeblood of these economies simply cannot afford to live affordably. In short this idea is long over due as when you have such an acute issue for what is such a key part of the economy, the market will inevitably come up with solutions.

By Naved Jafry & Garson Silvers

Ref: A Peters