On November 4, Senior Vice President and Director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security Barry Pavel and Forward Defense Assistant Director Christian Trotti published an Op-Ed in Defense One titled “New Tech Will Erode Nuclear Deterrence. The US Must Adapt.” Pavel and Trotti described how emerging technologies such as hypersonic weapons, advanced missile defenses, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, high-performance data analytics, quantum computing and sensing, space-based sensors and anti-satellite weapons, and cyber weapons are threatening traditional strategic deterrence. They argued that these systems, when combined with new concepts for employing them together, will constitute a revolution in military affairs (RMA). While the US should continue with its plans to modernize its current nuclear forces, it must also develop a new framework for understanding strategic deterrence, including nuclear and non-nuclear capabilities.
New capabilities can destroy, intercept, or blind traditional delivery systems, potentially enabling a devastating first strike and precluding adversary retaliation. The country that first develops a new model for using these capabilities in tandem with each other…may become the next military and geopolitical hegemon.