January 17, 2014

Is Technology Eroding America’s Military Edge?

Here are some links to more in-depth pieces for your weekend reading pleasure:

In the newest issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Michael Horowitz’s scans the horizon for what military technologies will reshape conventional military power over the next decade. In the piece he warns: “Technological superiority is not a U.S. birthright, however; it was hard earned throughout the Cold War and over the last two decades. Paired with the best-trained military forces in the world, technological superiority is the backbone of U.S. conventional military power. Yet, there are reasons for concern about what the next decade may bring for US military technological superiority.”

Horowitz is part of a team at the Center for a New American Security and is undertaking a project on Technology and National Security Program. CNAS announced a new task force this week on Strategy, Technology and the Global Defense Industry, which will be co-chaired by William J. Lynn III, the former deputy secretary of defense and Admiral James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.), formerly NATO’s commander. At a CNAS conference this week, Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, expressed many of the same concerns as Horowitz’s article.

The National Interest published Republican Senator and potential presidential nominee Rand Paul’s remarks on why the U.S. needs to begin distinguishing between vital and peripheral interests again, as well as place a higher premium on diplomacy than it has during the post-Cold War period. Also notable from TNI’s latest print issue, David Bell explains that historically speaking, revolutions take time to begin to show results and therefore it’s too early to deem the Arab Spring a failure.

Next week Carnegie Endowment’s Ashley Tellis will be releasing a report entitled: Balancing Without Containment: An American Strategy for Managing China. Tellis outlined the arguments in the report in a Washington Quarterly article last fall. For those in DC, Carnegie is holding an event on Wednesday to launch the report.

Daniel Russel, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, discusses how the U.S. rebalance to Asia will impact transatlantic ties.

In Time Magazine this week, veteran Iran analyst Robin Wright reports from Tehran on the prospects of the interim nuclear deal leading to a broader rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran. Wright has great access to a wide variety of prominent players in Iranian politics, thus she is able to capture the diverging views of some Iran’s power brokers. Speaking of U.S.-Iran relations, Laura Rozen has an in-depth interview with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns that focuses on, among other things, the background behind the secret channel the U.S. and Iran maintained starting in the spring of 2013.

FYI: The Brookings Institution is accepting applications for a new Senior Fellow who will hold the Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies (CEAP).

Also some videos. First, Kurt Campbell, David Sanger and Michael Green discuss tensions in the East China Sea with Bob Schieffer at CSIS. Frontline this week had exclusive footage of life inside North Korea taken by North Koreans using hidden cameras. And the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees hold a joint hearing on China’s maritime disputes.