How Does IT Fit into the Military Industrial Complex?
Today’s modern armies are more dependent on IT and related technologies than ever before. Today’s conflicts are more likely to be carried out via UAV strikes, surveillance and technological know-how than with guns and tanks. But how does this affect the military-industrial complex, and what consequences will it have in the future? We’re going to look at:
How the military-industrial complex functions today
The role IT is set to play in it
The changing dynamic between the two
Is IT Set to Be the Next Major Beneficiary?
The military industrial complex defines the mutually beneficial relationship between arms manufacturers and governments. It is usually used with specific reference to the USA, which spends far more on weapons than any other nation in the world. Max Polyakov says that it’s taken for granted that by continuously purchasing equipment, the government is able to keep itself more and more highly armed, while arms companies are able to continue raking in profits. The situation is clearly one of the vested interests, and government money could surely be better spent. But how does IT affect this? As Max Polyakov has pointed out in a recent paper, the military is almost entirely dependent on IT systems and is as invested in upgrading them as it is in upgrading missiles. His remarks on this dependence suggest that the military industrial complex may soon have to take into account a different industry: the IT industry.
Can Diversification Help the Arms Industry?
The consequences this could have for the beneficiaries of the current are not yet clear. Obviously, as we drift towards a knowledge economy, there will be less of a need for conventional arms, and manufacturers are expected to see a drop in sales and profits. Meanwhile, innovative technology businesses such as those run by Max Polyakov could be expected to pick up the shortfall. On the other hand, it would not be surprising for these arms companies to make an effort to diversify into the IT sector, in order to provide governments with a complete package of both weaponry and the computer infrastructure needed to make it effective.