Vanguard Magazine

April/May 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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technoLogY'S technoLogY'S DiLemmaS Are we wired to respond? T Technology 32 APRIL/MAY 2015 Over the past two decades, peter Singer, strategist and Senior fellow at the New America foundation, has tracked the evolution of technol- ogy in the battlespace, authoring a series of books from Wired For War to Cyber Security and Cyberwar that have capture the challenges modern militaries face accepting and con- fronting game-changing capability. This spring he published Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, an exploration of some of the themes that could shape our next major confl ict. The keynote speaker at the upcoming Kingston conference on international Security, which will address robot- ics in military operations, he recently spoke with editor Chris Thatcher. Q What's the premise of Ghost Fleet? The book is a look at what would happen if the brewing cold war with Russia and China ever were to turn hot. It is framed in terms of that scenario but the research for it is really about wrestling with what are the key technologies and trends that might shape future wars. It ranged from gathering information on the latest Chinese unmanned systems prototypes to U.S. Navy electromag- netic railgun, to vulnerabilities that are being baked into the Joint Strike Fighter, to interviews with the people who would fi ght in such a war, from U.S. navy ship captains, to fi ghter pilots, special operators, Chinese generals, and Anonymous hackers. Q To borrow from Homer Simpson's comment on alcohol, is technology the cause of, and solution to, all of the military's problems? It has become fashionable recently for leaders to argue that one of the lessons of the last decade of war is that, as one U.S. military four-star put it to me, "technology doesn't matter in the human- centric wars we fi ght." That assumes a defi nition of technology as something that is exotic and unworkable. I like to paraphrase musician Brian Eno, who essentially said, technology is the name we give to things that we don't use every day. If we use it every day, we don't call it technology any more. Whether it is a stone or a drone, it is simply a tool that we apply to a task. I think the fast pace of technologic change is our biggest chal- lenge right now. Technology has encapsulated everything from Moore's Law, when we're talking about the computing power chip, to the Law of Accelerating Returns, which considers tech- nology's impact on everything from business to battlefi eld rifl es. And we see that its advance is not linear, it is exponential; it's not additive, it is multiplying upon itself. What we are seeing are

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