This PRIO Paper introduces a new framework for engaging with disruptive technologies in the context of security and defence. The framework is based on three elements that constitute the backbone of the idea of disruption in security and military technologies: temporality, performativity and imagination. These three elements represent the constitutive pillars of disruption in these domains and, importantly, they have significant policy and operational implications. We propose that understanding disruption through these three elements can enable decision-makers to both potentiate the strategic benefits of technology and better prepare for its adversarial use.
The report engages with the concept of disruption in an attempt to disentangle the multiple meanings and expectations attached to it in the context of security and defence technologies. These technologies pose challenges to the total defence concept and are shaping the ways in which current civil-military relations unfold today. In this context, the report presents policy considerations regarding civil-military R&D, civil society input, and regulatory adaptation.