The biggest threat to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force isn’t a new weapon system or an increasing number or enemy troops — it’s losing ground in the technology war.

Phil Chudoba, assistant director of intelligence for Headquarters Marine Corps, told attendees Wednesday at the annual Modern Day Marine military expo in Quantico, Virginia, that the United States needs to reclaim its technology dominance through innovation — and soon.

“The time is now for us to come up with a plan,” Chudoba said. “I believe we have about a 10-year window to get this right.”

For necessary urgency, he cited heavy investments by China in artificial intelligence and information-aimed equipment and capabilities.

Fellow panelist Dave Ochmanek with the RAND Corporation agreed.

“The Chinese military doctrine is obsessed with the role of the importance of information in war,” Ochmanek said.

The two panelists pointed to Chinese development of quick launch mini satellites, as well as cyber and electronic warfare attack capabilities.

“They are leveraging technology in the information space at a rate and at a scale that we are presently unable to match,” Chudoba said. “Chinese dominance in that arena is coming if we don’t intervene...How are we going to play the long game?”

Chudoba pointed to the focus on anti-access, area-denial planning, which is a finite problem. The key, however, is to look at the long-term, the 50-year war in all spheres, he said.

The first step, Chudoba said, is to stop bleeding information. Some of that is through intellectual property theft, some is from reverse engineering of our technologies by adversaries and some is ingrained in the open nature of our business systems.

The key to improvement is through streamlining the acquisitions process and focusing on innovation, he said.

“One player is playing the finite game and one is playing the infinite game,” he said.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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