Technology and the 21st Century Battlefield: Recomplicating Moral Life for the Statesman and the Soldier

  • January 01, 1999
  • COL Charles J Dunlap Jr

The author starts from the traditional American notion that technology might offer a way to decrease the horror and suffering of warfare. He points out that historically this assumption is flawed in that past technological advances, from gunpowder weapons to bombers, have only made warfare more--not less--bloody. With a relentless logic, Colonel Dunlap takes to task those who say that the Revolution in Military Affairs has the potential to make war less bloody. He covers the technological landscape from precision-guided munitions and Information Warfare to the use of space for military operations to raise issues that could pose difficult ethical, legal and moral problems for statesmen and soldiers. Some of these conundrums are so confounding that the author could claim that in all humility his only purpose was to raise these issues to prompt debate. But Colonel Dunlap takes the next step to outline several broad thematic avenues that may help us all address the difficult problems that lie ahead.