"To me, machine learning, which is a variant of AI, will be the most important impactor of national security in the next decade."|
Will Roper, mathematician and physicist
Before electronic communications were invented, the military—like everyone else—had to rely on messengers. These might have been fast runners (like Pheidippides, the legendary Greek messenger who ran 26.2 miles from the Battle of Marathon to Athens in 490 BCE in the precursor to the modern marathon), or they might have been fast riders on horseback. They might even have been carrier pigeons, like those that troops stuck in battlefield trenches used to communicate with faraway military leaders in World War I.
Today, the U.S. military takes advantage of technology that allows people to communicate almost instantaneously. Now soldiers carrying out top-secret missions can be in touch with strategic advisors and commanding officers, which enables them to be guided by information from satellites and unmanned drones.
We can see a prominent example of technology in action if we look back to 2011, when President Barack Obama and his national security team watched live footage from drones that were hovering over Osama bin Laden’s compound during the U.S. operation against the Al Qaeda leader. With tools such as drones, GPS tracking, and videoconferencing, it’s clear that military technology has come a long way since the carrier pigeons of World War I.
Security is a critical part of the military’s work. The United States is a vast country with many ports and airports. To keep these areas secure, the military needs a coordinated strategy for finding and confiscating weapons or contraband. Sensors are an important technology because they make these efforts more accurate and efficient, helping the military improve surveillance and intelligence operations. Importantly, sensor technology enables many of these operations to be done remotely, which keeps more soldiers out of dangerous situations (Howard, 2008).
Technology has been changing the nature of war for a long time. Let’s now look at some other historical examples of how technological innovation and agility have helped the United States during conflicts.
Howard, Courtney E. (2008, February 1). Smart Sensors. Military & Aerospace Electronics. www.militaryaerospace.com/communications/article/16706952/smart-sensors
Source: Strategic Education, Inc. 2020. Learn from the Past, Prepare for the Future.