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December 05, 2022

How to Stop the Next World War

By Robert O. Work and Eric Schmidt

Our efforts to help restore the technological prowess of the U.S. military started six years ago in a Pentagon conference room. One of us, a former executive and tech innovator in Silicon Valley, was then serving as the head of the Defense Innovation Board, created to match the needs of the Department of Defense with America’s most advanced technologies. The other was the deputy secretary of defense, reworking the U.S. military’s strategy for the growing competition among the world’s great powers. Though we’d never met before, we quickly realized we had reached the same conclusion: In failing to adapt to the changing character of warfare and great-power competition, America risked setting itself up for a catastrophic defeat.

Our subsequent work together, including at the Special Competitive Studies Project, has confirmed our initial fears. Thanks to a new generation of disruptive technologies and intensifying global rivalries, the likelihood of war between the world’s great powers—and the devastation such a war could wreak—will increase significantly this decade. The best way to deter such a war is for the U.S. military to restore its technological superiority over potential adversaries. We’ve spent the past year designing a strategy that we believe will enable us to do just that. Our window of opportunity is quickly closing.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has given us a glimpse of what the return of industrial-scale warfare would mean.

Most Americans alive today have known only a world in which the U.S. military is dominant. For generations, it has been capable of both protecting our homeland against invasion and underwriting an international order that has fostered peace and prosperity on a scale that humanity had never previously experienced.Our military primacy allowed us to shape the global economy—unlocking trillions of dollars for U.S. companies and citizens—and secure the free flow of commerce that enabled supply chains to function and globalization to flourish. It also allowed us to establish the global data network that powers the digital economy and international communication. Most important, our hegemony has helped protect democracy worldwide against challenges from authoritarianism.

Read the full article from The Atlantic.

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