Patrick M. Shanahan, Deputy Director of Defense under James Mattis, discussed the ways the United States aims to regain its competitive edge in an era of rapidly developing near peer opponents like China by emphasizing smart spending and evolving the force for future conflicts.

Though the deputy secretary offered a bit of marketing spin to his remarks, claiming that “we’re going to change that word to revolution.”

“Evolving the Future Force is a multiyear project designed to examine how the joint force should adapt to adversary innovations across the spectrum of conflict,” the deputy secretary said. “It explores the necessary attributes and capabilities of a future joint force and how to evolve it in a cost-effective manner.”

In short, the Evolving the Future Force endeavor hopes to offset readiness issues developed over nearly two decades of continuous combat operations, and further, the damage done by inconsistent funding and “continuous resolution” spending that impede training and maintenance rotations. From there, preparations for 21st century warfare against well equipped, technologically advanced opponents becomes the focus.