�Nanotechnology is widely considered to be ‘the’ technology of the future with applications in – and implications for – a�wide range of fi elds such as, a.o, healthcare & medicine, material manufacturing, energy extraction and the conduct of�warfare. Global investment in nanotechnology-related R&D has surged over the years and currently stands at over $25�billion dollar. Yet, many uncertainties surround the role of ‘nanotech’ in the future. Will its impact be evolutionary or�revolutionary? Does nanotech harnass a threat to mankind – as some science-fi ction writers claim – or does it provide�solutions to problems faced by humanity across a variety of fi elds? The current Future Issue addresses these questions�and others while examining trends, exploring drivers and explaining how developments in nanotechnology may shape�the security environment of the future based on an in depth analysis of 59 foresight studies. The security implications of�nanotechnology are diverse. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology may herald the birth of a new generation of weaponry�rendering large parts of the existing stockpiles of conventional ‘old’ arms obsolete. While it is unclear whether this�will ignite an arms race between great and medium powers in the international system, it will defi nitely alter the levelplaying-�fi eld between those states that are able to reap the benefi ts of the nanotechnology revolution and those that are�not. Apart from nanotechnology’s impact on the geostrategic level, implementation of nanotechnology applications may�change the ways in which militaries plan for and fi ght wars and lead to a revolution in the tactics employed in military�operations. Terrorist actors will probably seek to use nanotechnology applications to commit deadlier attacks, but it�is likely that the capacity of homeland security departments to detect terrorist actions will be strengthened as well. In�sum, developments in nanotechnology will provide both threats and opportunities for governments and industry which�should be taken into account in long term strategic planning processes.
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