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21 Sep, 2023 22:02

Ukraine a military ‘laboratory’ – senior Pentagon official

The conflict is providing valuable military insight, like Afghanistan or Iraq once did, an aide to the US defense secretary believes
Ukraine a military ‘laboratory’ – senior Pentagon official

The valuable warfare insight coming from Ukraine is as important as the data harvested by the US military during its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities Mara Karlin told a panel discussion at the Ronald Reagan Institute on Wednesday.

Ukraine has become a true “military innovation laboratory,” particularly in the field of AI and drones, the senior Pentagon official noted.

“There are things that you will learn not in a conflict, say through wargames or tabletop exercises, and then there are other things that one will inevitably learn when there’s a war fight going on,” she explained, while recollecting “how much innovation was happening” when US forces were in Iraq and Afghanistan and how they were “able to take certain things, put them onto the battlefield, figure out how to make certain shifts and apply them.”

Obviously, Ukraine is a laboratory of learning for military innovation. I think, we’ve all seen no shortage of examples.” 

Viewing Ukraine as a military “laboratory” of sorts is something that has been expressed not only by Kiev’s overseas backers, but by the country’s leadership as well. For instance, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been advertised as an opportunity for Western arms makers by former Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov.

Kiev’s Western supporters and their defense industry giants “can actually see if their weapons work, how efficiently they work and if they need to be upgraded,” Reznikov told the Financial Times back in July. “For the military industry of the world, you can’t invent a better testing ground.”