Diffusion of Precision Strike Weapons


College Dental Medicine

Project Summary

Beginning in the 1970s, America and Soviet brass forecasted that precision strike weapons would play a revolutionary role in warfare, similar to the effects of Blitzkrieg, strategic bombing, and carrier aviation had on the Second World War In 1991, the Persian Gulf War erupted into full swing and brought with it the use of these dangerous new precise technologies. The dominant belief held by both American top officials and observers was that the use of these long-distance, lethal technologies would become the new modem to engage in war. Therefore, it would be expected that these technologies would proliferate quickly, with many countries gaining the capability to execute exact targets from hundreds of miles away. Yet, we were wrong. The technologies spread slowly with only the most developed nations acquiring such powerful tools. This past summer, we set about explaining this strange phenomenon. The first step was to accurately gauge how capable a given system was. The project began about 28 months ago and only recently complete the large datasets that hold detailed observations for every nation containing these strategic technologies. Next indices were built that evaluated statistical data on a variety of components. For instance, submarines were evaluated on speed, propulsion system, and weapons capability. The result was a ranking of technologies around the globe. The next step in this project, which has only just begun, was to explore how these technologies have spread. To accomplish this, we used statistical graphing software to build maps. These GIS-based maps could be customized to show a variety of things, including level of sophistication to number of systems a country has. The next step in the project will be to look for what might explain the slowed proliferation of the systems. To do this, the research will continue in the fall. The first variables that will be examined are likely to be a nation’s wealth, population, and strategic needs. This research aspires to explain one of our nation’s flawed prediction and holds valuable insight as the conversation expands to include topics such as artificial intelligence.