The concept of collective defense is gaining momentum. The possibility of unilaterally responding to an adversary — particularly if that adversary is as advanced as Russia — appears to be out of the question for the West.
This year’s Outlook project, which focuses on national security expectations for the coming year, includes contributions from defense ministers, alliance leaders, government directors, military officers, industry executives and analysts.
Naturally, Russia and China are top of mind, and while perspectives from those nations are rare in American media, the director general of Russian firm Almaz-Antey — the 20th largest defense company in the world, according to this year’s Top 100 rankings — weighs in on conflicts in new domains.
All of the authors illustrate how they see the current geopolitical situation as well as what they expect to come. For the Western-aligned writers, that means a focus on multilateral cooperation, which is already critical among all domains – land, air, sea, space and cyberspace.
From a NATO perspective, Russia is either directly testing alliance members along the bloc’s eastern front, or it’s putting pressure on those countries by proxy (look no further than the Belarus-Poland border crisis).
In the Indo-Pacific region, China’s ever-growing influence and military presence has Australia playing catch-up. Defence Minister Melissa Price warns that her country’s “strategic environment is deteriorating more rapidly than anticipated.”
Circling back to Russia, the director general of Almaz-Antey points to the United States’ proliferation of unmanned and space-based technology as a sign that future conflicts will more often play out close to or above our atmosphere.
However, one could argue Russia’s use of an anti-satellite weapon in November, which reportedly created more than 1,500 pieces of space debris, is accelerating the militarization of space.
For its part, industry leaders want their government customers to know that if their militaries are to have the most advanced technology available, they need to remember that innovation doesn’t come free.
So what to expect in 2022?
It’s always impossible to know, and this year it’s partly due to the unpredictability of certain international actors. But from the tone of these essays and the threats presented, it’s easy to surmise industry will get the capital it’s seeking.
Chris Martin is the managing editor for Defense News. His interests include Sino-U.S. affairs, cybersecurity, foreign policy and his yorkie Willow.