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Ukraine became a military laboratory – senior Pentagon official

The conflict is providing valuable military insight like Afghanistan or Iraq once did, an aide to the US defence minister believes. Ukraine has become a true military innovation laboratory, particularly in the field of AI and drones, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities Ms Mara Karlin said at a panel at the Ronald Reagan Institute on Wednesday.

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, the senior Pentagon official noted.

‘There are things that you will learn not in a conflict, through wargames or tabletop exercises. Then there are other things that one will inevitably learn when there’s a war fight going on, she explained, as she recollected 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.

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

‘Kyiv’s Western supporters and their defence industry giants can 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.

Ukraine became a military laboratory – senior Pentagon official 5

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