While the Pentagon’s long-term plan for the use of directed energy is nearing completion, a top evaluation officer is warning that the possible use of lasers on the battlefield is still a long ways away. “Laser development for military purposes, while showing great promise, has suffered somewhat from a Star Wars syndrome,” Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, the principal deputy director of the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, said in a
Q&A for the upcoming Integrated Air and Missile Defense Summit. The Pentagon’s Directed Energy Roadmap, expected to be complete next year, is looking at the threats, development plans, and concept of operations for directed energy, said Heithold, who previously served as the commander of Air Force Special Operations Command. While at AFSOC, Heithold
pushed to have a high-energy laser installed on AC-130 gunships by the end of the decade to counter surface-to-air threats. "The study will evaluate the current state of the art in laser technology and assess the advancements that are required to meet service and warfighter needs.” —Brian Everstine
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