Finally, we need more discussion and collaboration between DoD, policymakers, and the industrial base. Before the U.S. can respond to any gray zone competition with directed energy weapons, a declaratory policy would be required, stating that the U.S. views these weapons as a proportional capability to a competitor’s gray zone tactics. In the meantime, events such as the annual Directed Energy Summit are also crucial because they help ensure equal understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with directed energy deployment.
In the pursuit of enhancing America’s warfighting capabilities, there is no gray area. Simply put, our adversaries are taking steps to improve their gray zone capabilities—and so should we.
Dr. David Stoudt is a Senior Executive Advisor and Engineering Fellow for Directed Energy at Booz Allen Hamilton. He provides Booz Allen and its clients with leadership and guidance on the science and business of advancing directed energy capabilities for American warfighters. He is also currently serving as the President of the Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS).