Natural laws should be explicit constraints on strategy space

Mostly strate­gic de­vel­op­ments have been about in­cre­ment­ing be­yond what­ever the other per­son is do­ing. Some­times there are paradigm shifts, which largely mean a differ­ent di­men­sion along which to make in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments.

But we can­not in­cre­ment for­ever. Some­times there is a well-un­der­stood limit we can­not sur­pass. En­ergy-Ma­neu­ver­abil­ity the­ory is a paradigm for de­sign­ing air su­pe­ri­or­ity fighters. Though the paradigm shifted from the old speed/​al­ti­tude/​turn met­rics, we re­mained con­strained by the abil­ity of the hu­man pi­lot to with­stand g forces. We have already built air­craft which can climb higher, ac­cel­er­ate faster, and turn more sharply than men can tol­er­ate with­out pass­ing out. It may even be pos­si­ble to de­sign an al­most-perfect manned fighter, in which the pi­lot is the con­straint in all di­men­sions of perfor­mance.

But now we have un­manned drones.

Nat­u­ral law pro­vides a va­ri­ety of limits, like the speed of light or the in­crease of en­tropy. We have a good com­mand of nat­u­ral law at the scale where war­ma­chines op­er­ate. It seems like it would be a good policy to adopt these as the con­straints on strat­egy-space, and map what we know about our op­po­nents to them. This would have the benefit of let­ting us know how much room there even is for in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ments, and give us some in­di­ca­tion of where we are vuln­er­a­ble to (or have an op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate) a paradigm shift.

Since most of these nat­u­ral limits are well known, and most di­men­sions of strat­egy don’t have some­thing ob­vi­ous like c, there isn’t an ob­vi­ous mo­ti­va­tion for it. But it feels to me like even some­thing as con­cep­tu­ally straight­for­ward as us­ing op­er­a­tions re­search or math­e­mat­i­cal pro­gram­ming would work for this.