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The job of the Strategic Capabilities Office is to re-imagine existing Defense Department, intelligence agency and commercial systems by giving them new roles and game-changing capabilities. (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Bloomberg) — Self-driving boats that network with each other, swarms of micro-drones that a soldier can toss into the air and small bombs outfitted with technology borrowed from smartphones. They’re all among inventions being concocted by a secretive Pentagon office.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who has a Ph.D. in physics, boasted in a speech Tuesday about the Strategic Capabilities Office that he created in 2012, when he was deputy secretary. Its job is to re-imagine existing Defense Department, intelligence agency and commercial systems “by giving them new roles and game-changing capabilities to confound potential opponents,” he said.

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