The hastened pace of technological change and an increasingly globalized industrial base have upended well-entrenched industries from automobile manufacturers to music studios. Yet seismic change in the new millennium has so far been an anathema to the US defense industry, which may well be on the brink of a transformation that could prove more disruptive than ever.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which drove the last cycle of change that still characterizes the defense industry today, the business and technological environments surrounding the industry have been transformed dramatically. We live in a more interconnected planet where the leading US auto export is a BMW made in South Carolina and China is a leading producer of iPhones. Global workforces operate multinational businesses; technology from around the world is integrated into a single product; international institutions regulate commerce; and we access a single worldwide web to share information.
For all our interconnectedness, and to some extent because of it, we nonetheless face an enormous array of security threats not only from nation-states but individuals, targeting both our physical and cyber assets. Cyber crime and attacks, proliferating weapons of mass destruction, black market arms, sophisticated smuggling methods and a range of capabilities provide unparalleled power and influence to illegitimate regimes, crime syndicates and super-empowered individuals.