The real meaning of Moore's law was cost reduction, specifically the cost per component (e.g., transistor) in an IC, every 1-2 years. Not innovation (which is where More than Moore can thrive). An end to Moore's Law would be nice if it meant an end to companies' drive to reduce costs, which inhibits spending on innovation. That is nice but hard to imagine. Some other law of systematic cost reduction would probably take over.
Change always brings about angst and opportunity. I believe there are many ways to innovate and a true end to Moore's Law will make people think in different ways. This, in itself, will set the thinkers ahead of the rest who are followers. When we stop thinking, we lose. Of course, as Max implies, politicians stopped thinking a long time ago and we are paying for that.
There wasn't always a Moore's Law, right? And US national security was certainly not the worse for it.
Perhaps the best thing that could happen for national security IS and end to Moore's Law. In that event, dirt cheap and ever more powerful weapons would not be available to everyone, and the US defense industry could resume operating as it was until, say, the 1960s. The difficulty and cost of developing significantly better weapons increases, same as it always was before Moore's Law, fewer people would have access to them, and things would stabilize.
There are many many ways of improving technology that don't have to do with raw speed. Else, we would still be living in caves. For instance, we still haven't exploited parallel processing software to any great extent. Just one simple example. We still don't have quantum computers or quantum communications. Any number of areas for technology to go that isn't strictly denser ICs.
Hard to see how the end of Moore's Law threatens National Security when counterfeit chips have proliferated throughout military and are a $169 billion risk to the electronics supply chain (according to research firm IHS). Seems like whatever national advantage leading-edge semiconductors provided to national security ended some time ago. There is no real "trusted foundry" any more, nor any US-owned leading-edge foundry.
At the risk of sounding cynical, I'd say this nation reacts really effectively, especially in times of national crisis, but the rest of the time, we seem pretty sluggish at anticipating new challenges and rising to meet them. My best estimate is therefore that there's little hope of a serious renovation to our military acquisitions methods, absent some precipitating event. And those are never pleasant.
It's the specification, requirement, procurement, and acquisition system that exists around them, I think, that causes the slowness and I suspect much of the cost inflation.
@rpcy1- do you believe there is any chance that the specification, requirement, procurement, and acquisition system can be streamlined so as to not only increase speed but also reduce cost? Politicians are always talking about streamlining systems and cutting waste. But in reality, can that be done here?
I think the next innovation is bound to happen in quantum computation. It is a natural extension of the current technology. Molecular or nanotechnology are just an extension of the quantum field of study.