People imagine, develop, and use technology to achieve “wonderful things,” but they also use technology to pursue harmful objectives. Insecurity, anger, jealousy, and greed are just as likely to motivate technological innovation as love, compassion, creativity, and altruism. Judgments about whether technological feats are wonderful or terrible are themselves highly subjective—one person’s big scientific breakthrough can just as easily turn out to be another person’s political, military, or economic disaster.
Strategic Latency refers to the inherent potential of science and technology (S&T) to produce powerful tools capable of causing shifts in the balance of power. For the intelligence community (IC), knowledge and understanding of such tools are required to provide decision makers with strategic warning of emerging threats — and to alert them about opportunities to exploit technology trends.
This book is a counter to the conventional wisdom that the United States can and should do more to reduce both the role of nuclear weapons in its security strategies and the number of weapons in its arsenal. The case against nuclear weapons has been made on many grounds―including historical, political, and moral. But, Brad Roberts argues, it has not so far been informed by the experience of the United States since the Cold War in trying to adapt deterrence to a changed world, and to create the conditions that would allow further significant changes to U.S. nuclear policy and posture. Drawing on the author's experience in the making and implementation of U.S. policy in the Obama administration, this book examines that real world experience and finds important lessons for the disarmament enterprise. Central conclusions of the work are that other nuclear-armed states are not prepared to join the United States in making reductions, and that unilateral steps by the United States to disarm further would be harmful to its interests and those of its allies. The book ultimately argues in favor of patience and persistence in the implementation of a balanced approach to nuclear strategy that encompasses political efforts to reduce nuclear dangers along with military efforts to deter them.
Strategic latency refers to the inherent potential for technologies to bring about significant shifts in the military and/or economic balance of power. Such potential may remain unexploited or even unrecognized—and thus latent—until various factors coalesce to produce powerful and sometimes unexpected capabilities. This book examines the nexus of factors from science, national policies, and international security that are changing the way we think about security in the modern age. Such multidisciplinary inclusiveness, we argue, is essential for understanding and coping with those changes.
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