NATO and the West are experiencing a reversed kind of revolution in military affairs (RMA). Today’s new technologies bear far-reaching implications beyond the conduct of war. In the past, revolutions in military spilled from the battlefield to the civilian sector. They had an effect either by directly impacting the result of a given conflict or through adoption of military technical advantages in non-military aspects of life. This time, however, we see an opposite trend brought by private and non-military, non-governmental actors. In their everyday lives, general publics and governments alike face military-grade technologies developed and applied by the commercial sector. And it is the private sector that enjoys exclusivity over these technologies; the military is lagging behind. This development also poses a significant challenge to NATO, namely its ability to deliver on its core tasks. If the Alliance wants to successfully continue its political-military adaptation to a world where technologies play a major role, it will need a new approach to decision-making, operational planning, and crisis management. The following article addresses some of the key issues the Alliance needs to consider as it navigates through the new kind of revolution in military affairs: 1) the changing character of warfare; 2) the domination of the private sector over the military in deployment of commercial technology with military potential; 3) and the interdependence of decision-making and modern technology.
In the year 2044, an artificial intelligence programmed character conducts platoon-level noncombatant evacuation operations simulation in a crumbling chaotic megacity.