Discovery Park Distinguished Lecture Series

Event Details

Technological Surprise: When Science Alters Society, Security, and Strategy

November 30 @ 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM - Beering 2290

The Honorable Ronald F. Lehman II, Former Director, the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Next year, the world will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the launch of Sputnik I, the first man-made satellite. Placed in orbit by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, Sputnik I was largely a technology demonstration. Nevertheless, the "Sputnik Crisis" humiliated a superpower, catalyzed mankind's greatest national security technology competition, encouraged risky geo-strategic behavior, and transformed the world. Few technological surprises match the impact of Sputnik, and, like Sputnik itself, few are totally unanticipated. Their consequences, however, are often not those expected.

A former strategic arms negotiator and Assistant Secretary of Defense, Ambassador Ronald Lehman will examine how past generations have dealt with technological surprise and explore key lessons learned that can benefit future generations. The rapid advance and spread of science and technology is widely acknowledged, but timely prediction and response are complicated by the multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural, and multi-national intensity of modern science and technology. Rather than looking to see who is following in our path, we need to recognize that friends and foe alike can draw from many latent technology portfolios to follow our lead, leapfrog, or go in other directions. Drawing upon his experience in and out of government, Ron Lehman will illustrate how strategies to manage risks associated with surprise shape national defense programs, deterrence policies, and disarmament negotiations.

Contact Details

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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