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
CommentaryTake Greenland Seriously and Literally as a Vital National Security Issue
It is tempting to dismiss talk of Greenland’s significance for defense and foreign policy simply because President Trump infamously made it a punch line last year. The world’...
By David Priess & Martijn Rasser
CommentaryThe Iranian Missile Strike Did Far More Damage Than Trump Admits
Over 100 American soldiers have been treated for traumatic brain injuries following Iran’s missile strike on Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The strike came in retaliation f...
By Loren DeJonge Schulman & Paul Scharre
CommentaryWhen the homefront becomes the (cyber) front line
American soldiers have long marched off to war with one assurance: by fighting abroad they were keeping their families safe at home. Today, advances in digital technology comb...
By COL Sarah Albrycht
ReportsRising to the China Challenge
The United States and China are locked in strategic competition over the future of the Indo-Pacific—the most populous, dynamic, and consequential region in the world....
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