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Preventing Hostile and Malevolent Use of Nanotechnology Military Nanotechnology After 15 Years of the US National Nanotechnology Initiative

  • Jürgen AltmannEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Terrorism, Security, and Computation book series (TESECO)

Abstract

This chapter is to update the assessment of potential military applications of nanotechnology published in 2006. Expecting nanotechnology to bring the next industrial revolution, around 2000 many countries started research and development (R&D) programs. In particular in the US National Nanotechnology Initiative, military aspects have figured prominently, with a budget share around 30% until 2008, then slowly decreasing to about 10%. While applications are increasingly emphasized, most of the work is still at the research stage. Many other countries do military R&D of nanotechnology, too, but apparently at a much lower level of funding. Rough estimates of 2006 about when specific military applications would arrive have turned out about correct in one third of the cases, but for the others the expected arrival times have to be postponed by five to 10 years.

When re-considering the list of potential military applications, the 30 areas given in 2006 still seem appropriate. Also their evaluation under criteria of preventive arms control does not need to be changed. The eight applications that would be particularly dangerous to arms control and international humanitarian law, to international peace and military stability, or to humans and societies in peace time, remain the same: small sensors, small missiles, small satellites, small robots, metal-free firearms, implants and other body manipulation, autonomous weapon systems, and new biochemical weapons. They should be subject to specific international bans or limits as proposed in 2006.

Keywords

Military Nanoscience Nanotechnology Preventive arms control Technology assessment USA 

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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimentelle Physik IIITechnische Universität DortmundDortmundGermany

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