Military Magic: Innovation and Combat Effectiveness in Modern War

Wednesday, November 01, 2023 at 12:00pm to 1:30pm

E40-496, in-person limited to the MIT Community

SSP Wednesday Seminar with speaker Kendrick Kuo, assistant professor at the U.S. Naval War College’s Strategic and Operational Research Department. The talk will be broadcast live on the MIT Security Studies Program Youtube channel

Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that innovation consistently improves military power. Militaries that oppose it invite defeat, but those that innovate secure victory. Innovation is considered a sign of organizational health because the ever-changing character of war constantly threatens to render existing capabilities obsolete. Conversely, misfortune comes to those who allow the march of historical change to overtake them. The notion that innovation and better military performance go hand in hand is thus intuitive. My work challenges this intuition—innovation can indeed harm combat effectiveness—and identifies conditions under which such self-defeating outcomes are more likely to occur.

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security studies, SSP


Center for International Studies
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