This is part two of a six-part series looking at the history of the National Defense Industrial Association as it celebrates its centennial year.
"There are five domains of warfare: air, land, sea, space and cyber ... There's much higher speed on the battlefield than there ever has been, and it speaks to the need of having very robust, secure and fast networks to get information around for command and control." --Brad Feldmann, Chairman, President and CEO of Cubic Corp. Modern warfare is defined by coordinated, multidomain operations. In looking ahead, we may forget how far we have come, but at the National Defense Industrial Assocation, understanding America's lineage of military defense innovation helps us envision the future. Seen through a historical lens, the increasingly rapid pace of change underscores the need to move quickly in order to get the proper equipment and weapons systems into the hands of warfighters to ensure national security.
In 1921, Brig. Gen. Benedict Crowell wrote that "the change from the mail and harquebuses of the Spanish conquest of the Americas to the ordnance known in the Civil War was not greater." That said, the brutal conflict between North and South represented a marked shift in humanity's most basic domain of warfare--land--due in large part to the rise of industrial manufacturing and mass production.
In 1855, Samuel Colt founded Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company, producing up to 150 revolvers per day. While Colt's pistol represented a major upgrade from the flintlock pistols of the early 1800s--firing up to six shots in rapid succession before reloading--it was the mass production capabilities of Colt's factory in Hartford, Connecticut, that made the .44-caliber revolvers ubiquitous on the American Civil War battlefields.
While the domain of maritime warfare can be similarly traced back at least to Greek and Persian troop transport in 500 BCE, it was the Civil War that brought the deployment of rudimentary submarines and ironclad warships such as the "Monitor" class gunboats, which used revolving gun turrets.
Along with the hand-crank Gatling machine gun--and its successor, the Browning machine gun--the Colt revolver and ironclad ships represent the introduction of "the labor-saving machine ... into warfare, to the immense multiplication of the power of the individual soldier." Warfare would increasingly be waged on multiple fronts and domains, with industry and innovation playing a vital and...