The problem with the Pentagon’s ‘lethality’ branding

The word “lethality” has attached itself to a stream of press releases coming out of the Pentagon.

A former secretary of Defense created a whole task force to examine ways to boost lethality of our armed forces. The Army’s new AI program, the so-called Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System, or ATLAS, would allow ground combat vehicles the ability “to acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process.”

Few would question the need for our armed forces to maintain their competitive edge. A key component of that may be boosting the lethality of certain platforms, whether to protect our forces or deter an adversary from going to war in the first place, especially as the country shifts from fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan toward addressing larger threats like Russia or China.