Military Applications of Extended Reality [January 4, 2022]   [open pdf - 611KB]

From the Document: "Although commercial and consumer industries have been investing in extended reality (XR) for decades, recent advances have expanded the number of potential applications for the U.S. military. As the Department of Defense (DOD) increases spending on these applications, Congress may consider the implications for defense authorizations and appropriations, military force structure, and cybersecurity. [...] The U.S. military is exploring a range of applications for XR, with research and development programs in each of the services. These applications include tactical, flight, maintenance, medical, and other training, as well as warfighting. [...] Congress may consider a number of issues as it continues to evaluate DOD investments in current and emerging military applications of XR. [1] 'Affordability': Military applications of XR vary considerably in terms of up-front development costs[.] [...] [2] 'Technological Maturity': While some applications of XR are relatively mature-- particularly those incorporating standalone AR [augmented reality]--others are at a more nascent stage of development, require greater levels of technology integration, or have otherwise experienced delays in fielding or testing. [...] [3] 'Personnel': XR applications may have a number of implications for military personnel and force structure. [...] [4] 'Cybersecurity': Some analysts have raised concerns about the potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities of XR systems, particularly those that rely upon high-value-target databases for weapons maintenance, image classification, or other functions. If such systems are infiltrated, they could provide an adversary with critical information about U.S. weapons systems, as well as information about how the U.S. military trains, and thus how it intends to fight in the event of a conflict."

Report Number:
CRS In Focus, IF12010
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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