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The U.S. military has long relied upon technological superiority to ensure its dominance in conflict and to underwrite U.S. national security. However, a recent Congressional Research Service report on Emerging Military Technologies claims that in recent years, technology has both rapidly evolved and rapidly proliferated, eroding the United States’ traditional sources of military advantage. 

New technologies include advanced computing, “big data” analytics, artificial intelligence, autonomy, robotics, directed energy, hypersonics, and biotechnology — the very technologies that ensure that the US will be able to fight and win the wars of the future. 

“Although the United States is the leader in developing many of these technologies, China and Russia — key strategic competitors — are making steady progress in developing advanced military technologies.”

The report provides an overview of selected emerging military technologies in the United States, China, and Russia:

  • artificial intelligence,
  • lethal autonomous weapons,
  • hypersonic weapons,
  • directed energy weapons,
  • biotechnology,
  • and quantum technology.

It also discusses relevant initiatives within international institutions to monitor or regulate these technologies, considers the potential implications of emerging military technologies, and outlines associated issues for Congress, according to