lower levels) suggest further actions for the technology warning community; the other two indicate the need for immediate attention by military leadership:

  • Futures. Create a technology roadmap and forecast; identify potential observables to aid in the tracking of technological advances.

  • Technology Watch. Monitor (global) communications and publications for breakthroughs and integrations.

  • Technology Warning. Positive observables indicate that a prototype has been achieved.

  • Technology Alert. An adversary has been identified and operational capability is known to exist.

Given the potential for disruptive advances through technological breakthroughs or innovative integration, as well as the difficulty of identifying and tracking meaningful indicators, any particular technology is unlikely to progress sequentially through the various categories of Maturity listed above.

As indicated at the beginning of this chapter, the committee adopted and adapted the DIA’s terminology in defining these categories. The definitions are likely to evolve as the process matures. The committee sees significant value in this basic approach, however, since it divorces the challenge of technology warning from the discrete time lines associated with “prediction,” which are almost invariably inaccurate.


Characterization of a technology in terms of the Consequence variable involves addressing the question What is the impact on military capability should the technology be employed by an adversary? It involves assessing the impact of the postulated RED technology on the capability of BLUE forces. This impact can range from denial or negation of a critical capability to the less-consequential level of annoyance or nuisance. A corollary assessment may be made as to the locus of impact—that is, whether the technology affects a single person, as in the case of an assassination, or creates a circumstance of mass casualty and attendant mass chaos.


The objective of the prioritization step of the methodology is to respond to the question What are the relative resources to be applied to each emerging technology to support the technology warning process? This step is intended to harmonize the distinct nodes of observed capability, demonstrated intent, resources available, and the inherent cost of inaction. Prioritization is key to the technology warning methodology, since the Technology Warning Division lacks the resources to fully analyze every conceivable evolving technology. It is equally important to recognize that prioritization is an integral part of each methodology parameter. The prioritization of individual parameters is based on the levels of change detection and potential impact. By prioritizing the parameter, the division can focus subsequent analyses over a smaller subset of an assigned change detection domain. Priority assignment is essential to enable the focusing of more sophisticated information-gathering tools and analytic techniques on the areas of highest potential concern.

The prioritization methodology lends itself to any number of commercially available tools and techniques designed for assistance in establishing and maintaining a logical and consistent focus as well as the flexibility to react to the dynamics of technology change and country-of-interest variability. During the prioritization process, it will be important to establish measures of performance to allow critical analysis as well as change management in order to improve the overall process. The end result of the prioritization process is to provide for actionable awareness with which to influence analysis and tasking, the last of the methodology parameters.

The committee envisions that prioritization would be accomplished in close consultation with the

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