The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), unleashed by the integration of information technologies into weapons systems, military units, and operations is a phenomenon whose impacts have been felt well beyond the Gulf in 1991 or the Balkans in 1999. Technological developments lie at the center of these changes; however, the RMA is about more than technology. It includes the consequences of technological changes for defense and security. This study provides an assessment of the RMA that goes beyond a mere description of new defense-related technologies to deal with deeper, more fundamental issues.
Through the contributions of American, Canadian, Chinese, and French experts, this book surveys the RMA from various perspectives and evaluates it from the standpoints of military history and military science. The authors conclude that, while the RMA represents a significant challenge for defense establishments, it may fall short of being truly revolutionary. Whether one looks at power projection or information warfare, it appears that emerging technologies will translate into significant improvements in capabilities, but not necessarily a revolution in warfare. From a comparative perspective, the United States remains well ahead in thinking of and implementing changes that stem from the RMA, although other nations may make selective use of the RMA to promote regional security goals.