Defense Primer: Emerging Technologies [Updated June 8, 2021]   [open pdf - 476KB]

From the Document: "Both U.S. national strategy documents and Congress's own bipartisan 'Future of Defense Task Force Report' have identified a number of emerging technologies that could have a disruptive impact on U.S. national security in the years to come. These technologies include [1] artificial intelligence, [2] lethal autonomous weapons, [3] hypersonic weapons, [4] directed-energy weapons, [5] biotechnology, and [6] quantum technology. As these technologies continue to mature, they could hold significant implications for congressional oversight, U.S. defense authorizations and appropriations, military concepts of operations, and the future of war." Some potential issues for Congress to consider are: "[1] What is the appropriate balance of funding across these and other emerging technologies, given the potential military utility and technological maturity of each? [2] Some analysts have argued that DOD should develop a technology strategy to establish long-term priorities across these and other emerging technologies. What impact would such a strategy have on Congress's ability to conduct oversight or evaluate budget requests? [3] Some reports indicate that both DOD and defense industry have difficulty recruiting and retaining personnel with expertise in emerging technologies. In addition, analysts have noted that the development of many emerging technologies requires experts from a number of disparate fields (e.g., development of quantum technology could require experts in quantum information science, machine learning, materials science, and other fields). What measures, if any, should the United States take to ensure that the emerging technology workforce is sufficient to support U.S. competitiveness and military superiority?"

Report Number:
CRS In Focus, IF11105
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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