Future Operating Environment

Technological Change and the Fourth Industrial Revolution by TX Hammes

By TX Hammes May 13, 2019

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This article by TX Hammes argues that the 'staggering confluence' of emerging technologies will drive deglobalisation, diffuse military power to small entities and change the character of competition between the great powers. In the first part of this article, TX Hammes discusses how the world is deglobilising as a result of technology. He provides quantitative evidence to demonstrate that reliance on other nations is reducing. Whilst the first part of the chapter does not talk specifically about the military, it could be deduced that an evolving non-reliance on a global market could be contributing to world tensions, particularly as more advanced nations pull away from developing countries. In the second part of the article, TX Hammes explains how fourth industrial revolution technologies are already changing the character of war. He discusses in detail how nanotechnology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), drones and additive technologies are already being developed. He then discusses how the use of these technologies will impact the nature of warfare in the Land, Sea, Air, Space and Cyber domains. In the third part of this article, TX Hammes discusses how the fourth industrial revolution is impacting Russia and China. The article concludes by looking at the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on the USA and what it needs to do prepare and embrace the changing character of war. This article provides an excellent insight into the immediate to medium term future of the fourth industrial revolution, written by one of the recognised leaders in this subject.  



TX Hammes

In his thirty years in the Marine Corps, T. X. Hammes served at all levels, including as the Commanding Officer of an intelligence battalion, an infantry battalion and the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force. He participated in stabilisation operations in Somalia and Iraq as well as counter-insurgency training in various places around the world. Colonel Hammes has a Masters in Historical Research and a Doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University. He is the author of three books, 17 book chapters, over 150 articles and lectures extensively on the future of conflict, strategy, and insurgency. Colonel Hammes is currently a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defence University.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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