In 20 or 30 years, the role of the state in carrying out security functions will hardly disappear. It may change, a number of functions may leave the state control, or new ones may be added. But specific systemic changes are highly unlikely.
This state of affairs is in part due to the fact, that soldiery, in essence, remains the same as thousands of years ago. In other words, one person, one way or another, wants to neutralize another person from the opposing camp. The only question is how this will happen technologically. The state will not be able to stay away from this, since clashes will either take place on its territory, or with the participation of its citizens.
Moreover, defence programs can serve as one of indicators of the continuing role of the state in the security field. Every year they are becoming increasingly long-term, due to the rising cost of development, purchasing and servicing of new weapons systems. An example: development and procurement programme of the American F-35 fifth-generation fighter, whose development began in 1996, the initial purchase plans were up to 2035, and the aircraft operation until 2070.
The situation is a little different in Russia – last year the State Armament Program was adopted for the period up to 2027, where R&D cover the life cycle of advanced weapons until 2040-2050.
It is the state or groups of states that will most likely be the only sources for the development of military technologies. On the one hand, the state will form the demand for new technologies, on the other hand, it is the only actor that will be able to finance new developments.
None of the non-state actors, or even quasi-states, can currently provide for such expenses. For example, at the top of the victories of ISIS, the entire annual budget of this structure was estimated at $900 million, and its monthly “profit” was, respectively, about $80 million. Obviously, non-state entities are simply not able to allocate significant funds for the development of weapons, as well as for their procurement, even leaving behind the technical and scientific issues.
Moreover, there is no doubt that the state will not “outsource” to private business the development and promotion of “dangerous” technologies, and their distribution will be controlled either through the enterprises themselves (the state participation in the share capital or company management), or by maintaining control regimes (for example, export controls).
Finally, an important factor in the future of the states (at least, the developed countries of the Western world, which are the drivers of military-technological development, and to some extent China) in the military sphere will be the growth of social obligations as a relatively recent phenomenon. The traditional “guns instead of butter” dilemma may be replaced by “guns instead of pensions”, which, given life expectancy increase in these countries, as well as the rising cost of weapons development and production, can be a significant factor to reduce the “militancy” and extend the deadline of another military technological revolution.