Of all the potential threats tracked by America’s national security community, the most worrying is to be confronted with a menace that has not even been considered. The likelihood of being taken by surprise seems to increase each day. As highly disruptive military and civilian technologies like additive manufacturing, autonomous unmanned systems, and human bio-modification proliferate around the world, adversaries will pick from a lengthening menu for the next generation of asymmetric advantages to wield against the United States.
After reading the first installment of Chris Martin’s serialized novel Engines of Extinction, Episode One: The Ends & The Means, it is hard not to be concerned that in the twenty-first century, even America’s best efforts may not be enough. And even if they are, we may still be too focused on the most obvious threats to miss the outbreak of “the Final War.”