Thanks to everyone who participated in this survey and previous surveys. We’re extremely happy with the level of participation and the insights you have shared with us. As before, we have visualized the findings. Please find the results and some key takeaway points below.
1. Large majorities of survey respondents believe that a major power will develop and deploy a fully autonomous weapons system by 2030, use a directed energy weapon in combat, and use a UAV to shoot down a manned fighter or bomber. Yet respondents seemed much less confident that non-state actors or even minor powers would do any of these things. This suggests that respondents believe there will be some limits to the diffusion of military technology to minor powers and non-state actors in the information age.
2. Respondents were much more likely to think that cyber technology will be important for defending against attacks and network infrastructure than for offensive operations, as a new element in combined arms warfare, or for defending against kinetic attacks. This suggests a less expansive, though still incredibly consequential, role for cyber technology between now and 2030.
3. The technologies that respondents believe are most likely to be the subject of cutbacks on the part of major national militaries are manned fighters and bombers. This suggests that the spread of military robotics into core naval and ground arenas may be slower than in the air. These findings are also at odds with current budget priorities.
4. Respondents continue to see a trend of ongoing growth for commercial technologies and businesses in defense technology and capability.
5. Changes to the regulatory environment and reform seem unlikely with even an existential military threat not suggesting a significant probability of reform. Similarly, respondents thought that existing regulations are neither detrimental or significantly advantageous suggesting a lack of momentum for change.
More from CNAS
CommentaryWhat the government should or should not do to help space industry
The COVID-19 economic slowdown will have lasting implications on the new space sector. Yet the United States cannot afford another lost decade of commercial space innovation. ...
By Mikhail Grinberg
CommentaryTime for the US to declare independence from China
Americans now know they can’t rely on China or even our allies to produce the goods we need during a pandemic. That’s why it’s time for the United States government to do what...
By Anthony Vinci & Dr. Nadia Schadlow
TranscriptTranscript from Engagement and Competition: China, Technology, and Global Supply Chains with the Cyberspace Solarium Commission
On March 26, 2020, the CNAS Technology and National Security Program and the Cyberspace Solarium Commission hosted a virtual panel discussion on "Engagement and Competition: C...
By Rep. Mike Gallagher, Samantha Ravich, John C. Inglis, Carrie Cordero & Martijn Rasser
CommentaryThe Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s Mandate to Fix Congressional Oversight
The report of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission is finally out—and it provides a fresh look at congressional oversight on cybersecurity. Congress established the commission a...
By Carrie Cordero & David Thaw