Slowing Military Change

  • October 01, 2008
  • Dr Zhivan Alach

The author looks at the development of military technology in recent years. He examines three major platforms: fighter aircraft, tanks, and cruisers, examining the gaps between generations as well as the capability gains of each succeeding type. While development has slowed, at the same time capability increases have also slowed: it takes longer to get new equipment, and that new equipment is less of an improvement over its predecessor than its predecessor was over its predecessor. Only in electronics and computer technology was that shown to be somewhat untrue, but even there military technology has lagged significantly behind commercial advances. This relative military stasis, in technology at least, has a range of causes: the end of the Cold War, bureaucratic changes, political cultures, scientific limits, cost inflation, a focus on new characteristics that cannot be so easily measured. The author also looks at the strategic environment to see whether that has evolved rapidly while technology has proven more dormant.