The Defense Department will receive a 51 percent increase in funds to procure and develop laser weapons under the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill that President Obama signed into law last week, Military Times reported Wednesday.
Shawn Snow writes the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes roughly $328 million for the development of directed-energy weapons systems which represents a 51 percent increase from 2016 spending levels.
The NDAA states each military branch has demonstrated a development program for directed-energy weapons such as the U.S. Navy’s Laser Weapon System aboard USS Ponce, the Army‘s High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator and the Marine Corps’ Ground Based Air Defense System.
A report by the Defense Task Force on Directed Energy Weapons says laser weapons can help DoD address asymmetric and disruptive threats and support precision ground attack to reduce collateral damage in urban operations.
The new law also includes a provision that requires DoD to appoint a senior official that will oversee the development and demonstration of directed energy weapons, Snow reported.