Alarm Sounds on U.S. Military Kill Chain Capabilities



Luiz Lobo, Strategic Communications Leader
Phone: 202-251-5085 -


Critical New Study Addresses Energetics and Lethality as US Falls Behind China, Russia


Download the Study [PDF 79KB]


ETC - the Energetics Technology Center, has delivered compelling findings in a study commissioned by the Office of Naval Research, addressing the urgent need for the U.S. military to regain its superiority in lethality over defense rivals, China and Russia.

The study argues for a new approach in developing and using advanced energetics to regain and maintain battlefield dominance. It recommends a dramatic reshaping of energetics production and supply chains, and proposes establishing a new energetics agency with an aggressive agenda.

Energetics materials are used for explosives and propellants with multiple applications in defense, energy, and space. They range from small projectiles to large-caliber artillery, missiles of many sizes, air-dropped munitions, undersea weapons, and implosion devices that initiate nuclear weapons.

The study addresses concerns that the United States military has already ceded lethality superiority in multiple areas, in the wake of Chinese and Russian developments.

The study team, led by Dr. Theresa Mayer, Vice President of Research at Purdue University, was comprised of former military officers and subject matter experts from government, industry, and academia, who diagnosed the state of the energetics material enterprise.

The study holds a realistic set of key recommendations for decision-makers. Major General Bill Hix, a former Army’s Chief Strategy Officer, was part of the study Advisory Board and is urging immediate action, saying “Lethality is a core mission that is unique to the Defense Department that is at risk, and superior energetics is fundamental to achieving and maintaining dominance in the realm of lethality.”

Similarly, Admiral Mark Ferguson, also a member of the Study Advisory Board, notes that “We are facing near-peer adversaries who are intent on deploying capabilities superior to our own. We must retain an edge in lethality to protect and defend U.S. interests”.

Robert Kavetsky, CEO of the Energetics Technology Center, says he is confident that this study will be a catalyst for needed changes in the energetic material enterprise.

The study addressed every aspect of the process of moving energetics materials from their discovery in basic research to producing the material for use in a weapon. It found antiquated production capabilities, supply chain vulnerabilities, a research pipeline that struggled to deliver new energetics materials to weapon systems, regulatory and qualification barriers, and a depleted scientific work-force.

A parallel study was conducted by the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in response to Congressional language in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Download the Study [PDF 79KB]

About Energetics Technology Center: The Energetics Technology Center provides engineering and data analytics services, policy development, and technology development to the government, academia, and private industry. ETC is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization incorporated in 2006. For additional information, please visit our website at: