Strategic Resource Dependence, Conflict, and Implications for U.S. National Security Policy in the Twenty-First Century   [open pdf - 485KB]

From the thesis abstract: "The purpose of this study was to examine technological strategic resource dependence, its potential for conflict in the twenty-first century, and subsequent influences on United States (U.S.) national security policy. In particular, the study explored whether or not the notion that nations were in a constant state of, or preparing for, armed conflict over strategic resources--specifically those linked to critical technologies that sustained economic prosperity and national security--is substantiated. To gain insight, the study explored five interrelated concepts within the context of three historical examples. The five concepts explored were macroinventions/microinventions, strategic resources and access, usage of instruments of national power--specifically military, effects on national security policy, and the concept of techno--resource--dependence transition periods. The study did not find what it expected with regards to historical strategic resource conflict. That is, it did not find that technological strategic resource dependence always led to 'armed' conflict; nor were nations in a constant state of, or preparing for, armed conflict over strategic resources. Instead, the study found that strategic resource dependence more often than not led to economic and informational conflict; with informational conflict increasing as technology progressed. More precisely, emergent technology tended to have a much greater and longer lasting influence on policy, which in turn shaped conflict, than the resource itself."

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