Some Concepts Related to Weapons Systems




Portability, Transferability and Reproducibility. Portability relates mostly to how a particular system can be used elsewhere. Reproducibility relates to how readily a system can be developed elsewhere.

I assume that anyone who has a particular game system, such as Sega or Nintendo, at some time wishes their games could be easily played on another type of game system. Maybe you're staying with a friend and you want to play some of your games and they have another type of game system.

Or maybe you want to develop some hi-tech weapon that can be easily and surreptitiously carried into enemy territory. You may feel that this weapon is being developed in a society that has an infrastructure that guarantees the weapon will be used responsibly. A potential downside of this is that once such a weapon is developed it can be copied by someone else with varying degrees of ease, or maybe even bought or stolen. Then the reproducibility and portability increase its threat in undesirable ways.

Maybe another example will help, though first I must apologize for my lack of thorough knowledge on this topic and the fact that it is a bit outdated. I'm welcoming all corrections. There are many other examples that are more current.

Most everyone is aware of using nuclear power to create electricity for consumer use. While there are a large variety of opinions about its safety and usefulness,  there are real concerns about some countries in the world giving/selling their technology to less developed countries. A major reason for this is that these developing countries might be able to develop weapons grade materials with this technology. If you follow the news pretty closely, you'd know that some pretty unusual things happened associated with this. But my understanding is that this situation isn't as bad as it might seem since system designers have been able to develop technology so that it can be powered by materials that a less developed nation would not be able to convert into weapons.

One of the things that I consider to be a downside of what I am developing in this website has to do with whether other people will be motivated to reproduce and/or improve on what I am doing. While I think it is very portable, questions about reproducibility will only be answered in the future, though they have been answered fairly well in some cultures in the past.


Some More About Weapons Systems. In my mind, one of the important things we face in the future are the weapons we create in the present and past.  If one power group develops them, they can be assured that other power groups will do everything they can to develop them also.  Thus, power groups that want to develop weapons for their "defense" seem to need to develop weapons that they wouldn't mind their enemies having in the near future.

So, for example, maybe these power groups should be trying to develop weapons of discombobulation or reflection that render other more offensive weapons ineffective. 

  • a discombobulation approach would focus more on something like disruption of electrical flows to make aggression much less effective or transformation of basic explosives into something less threatening

  • a reflective approach would focus more on making sure that if an attacker sends out some substantive form of aggressives they stand a very grave risk of having whatever they've sent out come right back on them ... though hopefully it might be somewhat transformed into a somewhat less aggressive state before being returned ... but one can possibly assume this would get certain important messages across

  • a detection approach would help others know who has what capabilities and where

In my mind, this is one of the things that makes the weapons of a warrior/healer so appropriate.  A warrior/healer is likely to actually want to see other people developing the same "weapons" they are developing. 

I have been trying to think about what sorts of things are important for creating and preserving peace while trying to deal with the realities of human existence.

I want to start with some assumptions.

1. Any weapons that are developed by one culture will eventually be used by others.
a. The easier they are to develop the more quickly this will happen.

2. If your system of defense is based on the ability to strike back you need to be able to accurately determine who it is that has just made an attack.  You also need to be able to target the offenders as cleanly and selectively as possible.

3. Gross economic inequities cause conflict, particularly if the "haves" are accessible to the "have nots".
a. Accessibility cannot be decreased without harm.
b. The greater the perception that the "haves" have caused and sustained the inequities the greater the potential for conflict. This is not likely to be improved if the haves focus a lot of their effort on obscuring their causal influences.

4. The more that "peace" is produced and sustained through military advantage the less stable it is.

Now I know these are not a perfect or exhaustive set of assumptions, but I hope they help me and others focus on some essential issues.  

Now for some conclusions ... without proofs. Sorry! I do think this is important and it allows me a chance to sort some things out. So this is going to be kind of scattered at least at present.

1. When creating a defense it is better to create things that are more defensively oriented.  Offensively oriented defenses, such as using missiles to attack other missiles, can be too easily turned to offense. 

2. Offensively oriented "defenses" are far too readily perceived as improving offense under the guise of improving defense. 

3. The more defensively oriented that weaponry/tactics/strategies really are the easier they are to share with others. The less likely they will end up being used offensively against the originators or others.

4. If one nation can rationalize the development of certain weapons, they are likely to find it nearly impossible to try to justify/make sure that others do not.

I think that so much of the technology that has been developed during the arms race, under the guise of improving defense, really has an offensive orientation. I think this philosophy still dominates the "defense" industry. I think Mutually Assured Destruction was an offensive strategy at its core. It got us through the cold war. Both sides had much to lose from nuclear war, which ultimately helped prevent it. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are relatively obvious. If you are attacked with them, you would know where they are coming from. The ability to know this is concomitant with the ability to use such weapons.

But during the cold war they started developing more clandestine methods of delivery, for example being able to carry a nuclear device in a backpack. For these types of weapons it will not be possible to determine their source much longer. A sort of mutually destructive offensive defense will not work.  For example, will terrorists or agile adversaries use delivery systems that launch missiles over long distances?  I seriously doubt it!

These sorts of things are certainly exacerbated by weapons developers selling offensive weapons of all sorts to groups that are currently using them around the world in other conflicts. One question I keep asking myself is how do these places perceive the USA and other nations? Do they perceive the US as having exacerbated their conflicts through things like exploitation of their natural resources? Do they perceive the US as having gained economic advantage through these arm sales? How much do they perceive the US's prosperity as having come at the expense of their hardships?

Never finally, though one should hope that the use of one's own intelligence could improve on these sorts of options, we have weapons that don't truly attain the ideals I've presented above.  But hopefully, they are at least a sizable improvement over other weaponry.  Think of smart bombs, at least selectivity is improved.  Think of tazers, or other weapons of serious stun capability.  You are definitely not going to want a more selfish adversary to have one to use on you when they want, but they at least have their more moderating impacts.  Also, for lack of better words, think of stinger bombs, like those used to sting the skin even through clothing to break up prison riots.

I think of all the technology and money in the US that has been devoted to finding places where people grow marijuana, either outdoors or indoors.  But one would expect the US government  and others might do much better to develop weapons that can be used to detect concentrations of radioactive materials.  I pretty much assume that almost everyone will want this sort of detection to be ongoing as much as possible.

I also hope that certain sorts of weapons of discombobulation can be reasonably developed.  For example, maybe some sort of electrical pulse discharge weapon can be developed that will disable electronics within an area.  This sort of option could have its usefulness for immobilizing certain sorts of threats.

Other possibilities have to do with more perimeter sorts of defenses.  Think of the WWII movies you've seen where the search lights were picking up bombers coming in over London.  Then they would try to shoot.  I always thought they should have tried to develop weapons based on the searchlights that would have coordinated weapons fire occur when the light hit something.  I always figured they could have adapted radar/sonar in some way.  Think about modifying this idea somewhat to  have cutting sorts of lasers defending a perimeter working in similar sorts of ways.  While these could likely be adapted at least somewhat to more offensive purposes, at least in principle these sorts of approaches might be very effective at deterring attacks of certain types.

I get frustrated, irritated and very concerned that there isn't much more thinking and design going on that improves on what I'm suggesting.  I think this makes a real statement about people's/nation's real motivations.

Unfortunately, in the most selfish hands, even these weapons can be used for repression and dominance.  Though hopefully to much lesser degrees than other sorts of weaponry.  Weapons like these are much more likely to be used in conjunction with more respect for the people on the receiving end of any "attacks".

Many of these sorts of issues also come up with regards to things like computer and financial system destruction/disruption and biological weapons. The nature of "violent" conflict is definitely going to be making some major changes due to technology.

It is nearly impossible to trace the source of the use of many weapons that are becoming more common. This definitely has its implications.