Technology: Strategic Deterrent or Deficiency?

The US has become over-reliant on technology to provide strategic advantage, comprising what has been called the "Maginot Line of the 21st century." Historically, strategic deterrence was based on the acquisition of ever-more-lethal military technology. However, the boundaries of American deterrence are being tested by non-state adversaries who have reminded the US and its allies that strategic advantage does not come from what one has, but how he uses it. While superior capabilities may deter conventional interstate wars, US strategists failed to predict or prepare for asymmetric wars which have effectively undercut Western military superiority. US deterrence effectively deters state actors operating in a Westphalian system, but has proven woefully ineffective against substate actors. I conclude by arguing that the US must break its habit of viewing warfare from the point of view of a technologically superior superpower in interstate conflict. The US needs to diversify and integrate its military, focusing on ISR, information warfare, and civil/diplomatic applications. Asymmetric war is not only probable, it is inevitable because Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan have highlighted strategic weaknesses to America's adversaries.

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