Modern Warfare, Intelligence and Deterrence: The Technologies That Are Transforming Them

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9781118185377: Modern Warfare, Intelligence and Deterrence: The Technologies That Are Transforming Them
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An in-depth look at Western military technology from the experts at The Economist

Much has been made of the limitations of Western technology when pitted against today's low-tech insurgencies. Modern Warfare, Intelligence and Deterrence: The Technology That is Transforming Them explores emerging high tech military technologies and places them in the larger context of today's politics, diplomacy, business, and social issues, arguing that, broadly speaking, defense technologies will continue to provide enormous advantages to advanced, Western armed forces.

The book is organized into five parts: land and sea, air and space, the computer factor, intelligence and spycraft, and the road ahead (which examines the coming challenges for Western armies, such as new wars against insurgents operating out of civilian areas). Comprised of a selection of the best writing on the subject from The Economist, each section includes an introduction linking the technological developments to civilian matters.

  • Looks at new and emerging military technologies, including the Panzerfaust-3, a German shoulder-fired heat-seeking antitank missile, the MPR-500, an Israeli precision bomb, Russia's Sizzler, an anti-ship missile that can travel 300 kilometers, and many others
  • Explains how military and intelligence technologies are changing the world
  • Edited by Benjamin Sutherland, a writer for The Economist and expert on the social, political, and business implications of new and disruptive technologies

A fascinating look at Western military technologies, Modern Warfare, Intelligence and Deterrence is essential reading for business readers and history buffs, alike.

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From the Inside Flap:

During the cold war, the nuclear arms race made war increasingly unthinkable. Today, in contrast, many argue that arms races in robotics and computer technologies are making war increasingly thinkable. Remotely piloted "hunter-killer" drones, for example, make it far easier to launch an attack without the military or political risks of putting boots on foreign soil. But technology can also make wars less deadly.

Low-tech fighting has often turned into blood-bath wars of attrition, as the Napoleonic campaigns, America's civil war and the first world war attest. With modern technology, however, fighting forces can wage "system against system" war. Destroy enough elements of an enemy's system—kit and infrastructure, or specialists needed to operate it—and the force cannot keep fighting. With air power, for example, an attacker can wreck critical equipment behind enemy lines without needing to shoot its way through troops on the ground.

What matters, then, is to ensure that military know-how leads not to the nightmare of mass or nuclear destruction, but rather to fewer and less deadly conflicts. This book explores the technological developments that have given rise to what has become one of the biggest challenges of today.

The book is organised in five parts, as follows:

Land and sea

  • Designing, and countering, new weaponry

  • Upgrades for combatants

  • Powering up, differently

  • New materials, new capabilities

  • iPod militaries

  • Nukes

Air and space

  • Attacks from above

  • The growing drone dimension

  • Air ops, for less

  • Aircraft and flight, enhanced

  • Militarising space

The computer factor

  • The new realm of cyberwar

  • Better equations, smarter machines

  • Propaganda ops, online

Intelligence and spycraft

  • Identifying, and killing, the quarry

  • Finding what's hidden

  • Getting to know you better

The road ahead

  • The challenge of irregular warfare

From the Back Cover:

The Panzerfaust 3, a German shoulder-fired heat-seeking anti-tank missile, can punch through a metre of solid steel. An Israeli precision bomb, the MPR-500, can hammer through several storeys of a building and explode on a chosen floor. Russia's Sizzler, a manoeuvring anti-ship missile, can fly 300km and then sprint at three times the speed of sound. Satellites can be blown up. Software can be scrambled with "cyber-missile" computer viruses. Data-mining computer programmes fed by unmanned spy planes can reveal terrorist or insurgent activity.

Technological one-upmanship fuels arms races and will make wars easier to start. Crucially, however, wars are apt to be smaller and less deadly than the horrific conflagrations of the last century. Technological underdogs will benefit from "asymmetric" weapons such as formidable makeshift bombs and "munitions of the mind" for psychological warfare. Some powers will benefit from complex weaponry, such as an aircraft-carrier-killing ballistic missile being developed by China. Much weaponry will most benefit the West, in part by harnessing its cultural strengths of individualism and innovation. All of it is profoundly reshuffling balances of power throughout the world.

The five parts of this book—land and sea, air and space, the computer factor, intelligence and spycraft, and the road ahead—present a selection of the best and most revealing of The Economist's writing on how startling innovations are reshaping armed conflict and the quest for peace.

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