Emerging Military Technologies: A Guide to the Issues

Emerging Military Technologies: A Guide to the Issues

Emerging Military Technologies: A Guide to the Issues

Emerging Military Technologies: A Guide to the Issues

Synopsis

This book examines emerging defense technologies such as directed energy weapons, nanotech devices, and bioscience applications that have the potential to dominate international relations in the future, just as nuclear weapons and space infrastructure-assisted conventional weapons do now.

Excerpt

War and military operations other than war will endure as viable policy options, though these are fraught with risks and costs. Technology has the potential only to modify these realities, but not to eliminate them completely. As the state of the art in technology changes, it is always important to consider the effects of new technologies on military options. Today’s emerging technologies (ETs), such as advance computing, nanotechnology, and biotechnology, are poised to change the world and therefore the shape of international relations as well as military affairs.

Technological change in many areas is quickening. Exponentially growing computer power, government support for science in the United States and internationally, and the relatively new factor of consumer demand for hightechnology goods are among the factors accelerating many areas of technological development. Beyond improving familiar and comfortable goods and services, technological development can bring into being seemingly new and different technologies, ETs. In general, an ET is one that has the potential to be disruptive to society by changing the existing norms. Those that can successfully adapt to the norms that emerge from the aftermath will be poised to be the winners in the new age. ETs therefore represent opportunity for some to make rapid advancements in the world, while for those comfortable in their current status, it is an opportunity to fall. The opportunity for rapid changes in the comparative status applies to individuals, organizations, businesses, and nations. For individuals and companies, this has the potential to bring fortune or ruin. However, in the anarchical international system, changes in norms and comparative power are often accompanied by conflict up to the level of systemic (global) war.

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