Nanotechnology: Threats and Deterrent Opportunities by 2035
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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As Doctor Seuss Horton the elephant discovered when dealing with Whoville, size is not an indicator of potential.2This research paper discusses the transformational potential of nanotechnology, by the year 2035, to threaten U.S. national security, but also to provide unique deterrence options. Nanotechnology is increasingly inextricably linked to Americas global economic competitiveness and national security. By 2035 U.S. leadership in nanotechnology will enable a nanotechnology-empowered military as a critical combat multiplier in support of our national security. The last Secretary of Defense believed that a primary lesson of the Global War on Terror was that our exploitation of military capabilities was more crucial to our success than sheer mass. The tiniest of specks can contain untold possibilities as the people of Whoville demonstrated when they changed Hortons world view. One just has to listen.The term nanotechnology has a wide range of uses, from layered coatings that improve common commercial products to science fiction stories foretelling atomic-sized machines that repair humans from the inside out. This paper uses the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative definition of nanotechnology. It defines nanotechnology as understanding and controlling matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers nm, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Nanotechnology offers a tremendous opportunity to transform our military capabilities.