Fear or Safety? How the United States Ordnance has Evolved Warfare and Society

Schmitt, Jade
The United States has been in conflict to a degree since its establishment in 1776. During that time there have been numerous developments in weapons, technology, and intelligence all aimed at maintaining a power advantage over our enemies. The United States Ordnance Corps continues to develop weapons that change the warfare tactics and strategies used against America's enemies. When the development of new ordnance is authorized on the battlefield, they prompt new tactics, techniques and procedures based upon the utilization of these new developments. From the Civil War to the present War on Terrorism, there are direct correlations to how each war's ordnance and developments have influenced the outcome. Rifles, artillery, aviation, atomic bombs, and improvised explosive devices (IED) have changed the way the American Army has performed on the battlefield. The enemies in those wars have changed from conventional to insurgent in complex fashion. We can only speculate who we will fight in the future, and what that fight might look like. Aside from the strategic and tactical advancements of ordnance, the development of ordnance has impacted civilization. The more advanced ordnance becomes, the stricter laws and policies are passed to ensure they are not used to incinerate the earth eight times over. Shifts in policy during the Cold War indicate how the fear of ordnance dictates the behavior of societies. The research conducted in this paper illuminates the advancements of key ordnance that changed and shaped American wars. It also verifies that ordnance and the fear they cause directly impact our society, and leaves us questioning how it will impact the future of warfare.
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