Oxford Univ Pr
War and Technology: A Very Short Introduction
152 Pages : Pub Date - 12/02/16 Roland, Alex Warfare and technologies of war predate human history. In the twenty-first century, their dynamic relationship drives the transformation of war and countless realms of technological innovation. Yet even now the newest, best, and highest technology cannot guarantee victory. Rather technology and warfare remain in a timeless dialectic, driving change without ever stabilizing a military balance of power or capping a trajectory of technological creativity. New technologies continue to push warfare in unexpected directions, while warfare pulls technology into new realms and new possibilities. Furthermore, many technologies of warfare are dual-use, having civilian as well as military applications, and many civilian technologies-airplanes, radio, rockets, and computers-have been drafted into military service. One of the characteristics of modern technology is that it blurs the old distinctions between military and civilian realms. This Very Short Introduction explores this continually evolving story from ancestors of Homo sapiens to the age of cyber warfare and nanotechnology. Emphasis falls on early developments, because in those pre-modern ages there emerged patterns of interaction between technology and warfare. Those patterns continue in the twenty-first century, providing conceptual tools for understanding the current and future role of technology in warfare and the impact of war on technological innovation. Dueling technologies--for example fortification and siege artillery, or submarines and underwater detection-can accelerate technological change by putting scientific and engineering teams in competition with each other. "Gigantism" can tempt military and civilian consumers alike to believe that bigger is always better-an illusion that led the Japanese in World War II to squander their scarce resources on the two largest battleships ever launched. For every revolution in military affairs there is an IED (improvised explosive device). Tracing the complex patters that link war and technology, Alex Roland shows that technology has always favored victory in warfare, but it has never guaranteed it.