For all our talk about the need for military technical superiority, what if pursuit of that goal becomes our downfall? A couple of weeks ago, Bill Sweetman from Aviation Weekly and I were talking about technology development issues and the Pentagon’s new offset strategy, the Defense Innovation Initiative. During the conversation he mentioned an Arthur C. Clarke story, Superiority, from 1951 that reminded him of some of our current challenges. Being the nerd that I am, I read it that evening with high hopes.
The story is great: It’s short and you should all read it. I’ll unpack it in a moment, but I’d like to pause for a second and consider the role of science fiction in military technology thinking. Why would I automatically assume that a science fiction short story from 63 years ago would be useful today?
Most defense nerds love science fiction. Peter Singer famously explored this relationship in Wired for War — drawing out the relationship between the technologists behind unmanned weapons system development and the science fiction that inspired them. The New America Foundation recently hosted a daylong conference, headlined by Neal Stephenson, that sought to re-focus science fiction on providing inspiration to today’s scientists and engineers. August Cole, of the Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfareproject, and Peter Singer will publish Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War next year. And, well, this is how Lt Col Dan Ward writes his books.
Read the full article at War on the Rocks.
More from CNAS
PodcastA Front Row Seat to China's Rise
How have China's global ambitions sharpened under President Xi Jinping, and how should the United States respond? Dr. Kurt M. Campbell served in the Obama administration as th...
By Ilan Goldenberg & Kurt Campbell
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
CommentaryNavigating the Billions
Introduction If you have never interacted with the defense budget it can be daunting. The process is made up of dozens of acronyms and the data is spread over thousands of pag...
By Molly Parrish
CommentaryWhy We Need A New Cold War Strategic Approach
The United States needs to create a set of long-term concerted strategies of a type not seen since the Cold War if it is to successfully compete against Russia and China. Thos...
By Will Mackenzie