The next step of the proposed assessment methodology is performed from the RED perspective. The central question here is as follows: What are the evolving technologies that, in the hands of U.S. adversaries, might be used to threaten an important U.S. military capability? A corollary question is, What technologies, if rapidly exploited by the U.S. military, are likely to yield sustained technological superiority? However, this issue was addressed only peripherally, given the division’s focus on technology warning.
Having identified a technology of potential interest, the next challenge becomes the derivation of “indicators” or “observables” that may suggest adversarial adoption or exploitation of that technology. Although targeted intelligence-collection methods remain important, in this report the committee focuses on observables that may be derived from open source analysis—leveraging the effects of the information revolution and acknowledging that the twin forces of globalization and commercialization provide new sources of relevant information. At the same time, however, the committee recognizes the difficulty of discerning when technological advances portend emerging threats rather than societal benefits.
A sample chart—Chart [C]-1—exemplifies how each technology is assessed.
The committee’s assessment methodology involves characterization of a technology in terms of three variables: Accessibility, Maturity, and Consequence. Priorities for more detailed analyses may derive from any individual variable or any combination of the three.