At this time of disruptive transitions, the new U.S. National Defense Strategy rightly recognizes that the character of warfare is changing due to the advent of a range of disruptive technologies.[1,2] In particular, the strategy highlights rapid advances in advanced computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology, which are characterized as “the very technologies that ensure we will be able to fight and win the wars of the future.” The emergence of and unique convergences among these technologies could transform current paradigms of military power in uncertain, unpredictable ways. In addition, since commercial developments have been a primary driver of recent progress in many of these disparate technologies, the diffusion of advances will occur much more quickly and prove difficult to constrain, especially with the free exchange of ideas and talent across borders. In recent history, military-technical advantage has been a key pillar of U.S. military predominance. However, today’s trends, including China’s rapid emergence as a scientific powerhouse, seem unlikely to allow for the U.S. or perhaps any actor to achieve uncontested edge, and poor policy choices could lead to disadvantage.
Read the full article in Strategy Bridge.
More from CNAS
ReportsRising to the China Challenge
An independent assessment for Congress as mandated by the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act....
By Ely Ratner, Daniel Kliman, Susanna V. Blume, Rush Doshi, Chris Dougherty, Richard Fontaine, Peter Harrell, Martijn Rasser, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Eric Sayers, Daleep Singh, Paul Scharre, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Neil Bhatiya, Ashley Feng, Joshua Fitt, Megan Lamberth, Kristine Lee & Ainikki Riikonen
CommentaryGreat Powers Must Talk to Each Other About AI
Imagine an underwater drone armed with nuclear warheads and capable of operating autonomously. Now imagine that drone has lost its way and wandered into another state’s territ...
By Elsa B. Kania & Dr. Andrew Imbrie
PodcastStories from the Backchannel: Season Two Trailer
Now more than ever, Americans are interested in the people working behind the scenes on consequential national security decisions. In Season Two of Stories from the Backchanne...
By Ilan Goldenberg, Richard Fontaine, Susanna V. Blume, Kayla M. Williams, Price B. Floyd, Kurt Campbell & Kara Frederick
PodcastEpisode 26 - Paul Scharre
What are autonomous weapons systems? How are they used in modern warfare? And how do we strengthen international cooperation? In this episode, the Director of the Technology a...
By Paul Scharre