Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Dangerous Changes: When Military Innovation Harms Combat Effectiveness

  • Kendrick Kuo
| Fall 2022


Contrary to the conventional wisdom, military innovation can degrade a state’s military effectiveness as well as strengthen it. This article probes the assumed relationship between innovation and improved effectiveness, concluding that the risk is not always worth taking. Specifically, innovation is most likely to hurt military effectiveness when a state is already overextended—when its commitments outstrip its resources. This commitment resource gap leads the state to cannibalize existing capabilities without clear evidence of effective new ones. 

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Kendrick Kuo, "Dangerous Changes: When Military Innovation Harms Combat Effectiveness," International Security, Vol. 47, No. 2 (Fall 2022), pp.  48–87,

The Author