RAND researchers explore how rapidly advancing and emerging technology areas, such as artificial intelligence, autonomy, big data, electronic warfare, low-cost satellites, and unmanned systems, may shape defense operations in the future, with a particular focus on Japan's need to keep pace with other countries' developing capabilities. The authors highlight the increasing importance of network security, unmanned systems, and deception.
Rapidly advancing and emerging technology areas — such as artificial intelligence, autonomy, big data, cyber warfare, electronic warfare, low-cost satellites, directed-energy weapons, and unmanned systems — will likely shape how defense operations are conducted in the future. As a result, governments and defense organizations must determine how to allocate investments to prepare their forces for future conflicts. In this Perspective, RAND researchers explore considerations for shaping Japan's defense technology portfolio, in light of both technological developments themselves and how other countries may employ them. Key trends include the increasing pace of warfare, the enhanced criticality of network security and disruption, the central role of unmanned systems, the increasing accuracy of long-range targeting, the growing ability of aggressors to achieve plausible deniability, the expanding importance of emerging warfare domains, and the elevated importance of deception.