Emerging technology trends for defence and security

FFI-Report 2020

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Harald Erik Andås
This review is the first of a series of studies from a new research programme at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) tasked with identifying emerging technology trends and analysing their potential impact on Norwegian military operations. Keeping abreast of rapidly evolving technologies can help decision-makers to avoid strategic surprises and provide a better foundation for long-term defence planning. The project, ‘Technological Trends and Consequences for Norwegian Military Operations (or TEKNO), will provide such advice by closely monitoring and analysing emerging military and civilian technology developments, seeking to identify disruptive technologies that are likely to influence future military operations, paying particular attention to the ways these emerging technologies interact and the operational context in which they are employed. As a natural first step, this effort to assess technological trends is performed as a study of available unclassified literature, an approach deemed most advantageous given the primary goal of identifying a large set of overarching technological trends, and for which a substantial body of recently released literature and well-sourced studies already exist. Hence, the priorities and discourse of such work will closely follow and rely on the choices made by these primary sources. The current report provides an overview of seventeen technology trends organised according to the period of anticipated main disruptive influence of the technology on military and security operations. Some comments are made on each list item in order to relate specific trends and technologies to defence and security, and a selection of these trends are explored further and commented separately. The report concludes with a discussion of the importance of civil-military cooperation and the challenges entailed with convergence. The results discussed in this report will form the basis for further research and reports at later stages in this study series.

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