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STATE OF PLAY

The US isn’t ready for the future of war

Sandro Rybak for Quartz
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter

The US, in the opinion of its military commanders and grand strategists, is at greater risk of losing a war today than it has been at any time in decades.

Trade has allowed China to grow its economy larger than the US, and the technological advances that have driven American prosperity in recent decades have also given rivals their own new tools and domains to attack and subvert American power.

Russia, China, and India have finally begun to catch up with America’s traditional advantage in space, leading the US military to create a new Space Force whose changes will be far more profound than jokes about Starfleet suggest. The same technology trends that make space power possible—cheap, powerful electronics and software chief among them—are also empowering a new arms race on Earth, with states and even non-state actors amassing an arsenal of hypersonic missiles, ballistic missiles, battle drones, and booby traps.

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