Are China and Russia Outpacing the United States in Military Technology?


The United States is increasingly facing a technology-driven arms race with China and Russia, in which Beijing and Moscow are each developing new technologies—and tactics—to compete with a still-dominant U.S. military force. This raises a variety of important questions. To what extent are China and Russia succeeding in developing new military technologies? Have China’s or Russia’s military technologies surpassed U.S. technology in important areas? Could they? How might these technologies threaten U.S. forces? And what technologies can and should the United States prioritize in competing with China and Russia? Finally—how much are Beijing and Moscow collaborating in developing military technologies and what are the implications for Americ

On November 18, 2020, the Center for the National Interest and the Energy Innovation Reform Project co-hosted a webinar to address these important issues. Two leading experts were on hand to provide their perspectives:

T.X. Hammes, Distinguished Research Fellow at the Center for Strategic Research, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University. Dr. Hammes is the author of three books on international security and war and an expert in future conflict and military strategy. He served for 30 years in the Marine Corps, including commanding an intelligence battalion, an infantry battalion, and the Chemical Biological Response Force.

Michael Kofman, Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Russia Studies Program at CNA, is an expert on Russia’s armed forces and military capabilities. He was previously a Program Manager at the National Defense University. A Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute and a Senior Editor at War on the Rocks, he writes regularly on Russia’s military, strategy, and foreign policy issues. 

Paul Saunders, President of Energy Innovation Reform Project and a Senior Fellow and member of the Board of Directors at the Center for the National Interest, served as the moderator for this discussion.