Author: Michael O'Hanlon
Publisher: Manas Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170492297
Is a revolution in military affairs (RMA) achievable at the turn of the twenty-first century, and if so, does it necessitate a radical change in US military equipment, combat structures, and warfighting doctrine? Or can the United States continue to make security policy and arrange Pentagon budgetary priorities in a more continuous and evolutionary way?
In Technological Change and the Future of Warfare, Michael O’Hanlon describes the RMA hypothesis now popular in US defence circles, and places it in historical perspective by reviewing past military revolutions. He then attempts to evaluate the contemporary RMA hypothesis by surveying progress in a wide range of defence-related technologies and assessing their likely impact on the battlefields of 2020 and beyond.
O’Hanlon’s contribution to the debate over the so-called revolution in military affairs is important and timely. The RMA debate has tended to lack serious attention to technical detail. O’Hanlon’s combination of technology assessment and policy analysis is therefore both necessary and sobering for those who believe we are about to witness the biggest changes in warfare since blitzkrieg and nuclear weapons.
-Stephen Biddle, University of North Carolina
This is an important book that provides a careful and nuanced perspective on tends in military technology and their implications for US policy. O’Hanlon argues that it is not necessary for the Pentagon to invest in a whole new generation of weapons platforms because the mechanical technologies involved are not changing that fast, where as he does see major change afoot in computers and the ability to network military systems to provide much greater effectiveness at modest cost.
-Frank von Hippel, Princeton University
O’Hanlon does well to liken the current period of defence innovation to the 1920s’ and to underscore the importance of research and experimentation for the future American military.
-Andrew Marshall, Director, Net assessment, The Pentagon