The unregulated development and deployment of emerging technologies—referring to scientific and technical developments that, if applied in the military sphere, could have transformative effects on the future of warfare in unpredictable and potentially hazardous, destabilizing ways—could increase the risk of accidental and unintended conflict escalation. Whether manifested in new domains, new applications, or new military capabilities, these technologies can include hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence-enabled capabilities, cyberspace operations, counterspace capabilities, and the like.
The Arms Control Association (ACA), in conjunction with other experts and organizations, has proposed various measures to reduce such risks, as laid out in issue briefs, reports, articles in Arms Control Today, and more. To receive updates on developments in this field, join today or sign up for our regular updates list.
Hypersonic weapons have been all the rage in recent years. Pentagon officials rarely miss an opportunity to tout the importance of accelerating their development amid the department’s prioritization of enhancing conventional deterrence against Russia and China. But a closer look suggests all may not be well in hypersonic paradise.
The U.S. rush to field hypersonic weapons merits a more critical examination by the Biden administration and Congress given the many unanswered questions about their rationale, technical viability, cost-effectiveness, and escalatory risks. This new report outlines the scope of these unanswered questions and suggests recommended actions.
U.S. Hypersonic Glide Vehicle Test Fails Again
The Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget would accelerate Trump era plans to develop and field conventional hypersonic weapons to compete with Russia and China.
The test vehicle was unable to complete its launch from a B-52 bomber, a setback as the Air Force hastens to make the weapon operational in fiscal year 2022.
Some Pentagon officials say deploying rising numbers of uncrewed ships and planes is vital to confronting two well-armed adversaries—Russia and China—at the same time.
New administration seeks to promote shared norms and new agreements on emerging technologies and cyberspace.
Advisory panel pushes the U.S. military to accelerate work on AI-enabled systems but also calls for restraint measures.
U.S. Emerging Technologies Gain Support
Reducing the risks of militarized emerging technologies will require technologically advanced nations to adopt a sequential, multipart framework strategy.