Just look at what happened to America after World War II. Our need to counter Soviet power delivered a tidal wave of innovation.
Defense spending led to the Internet, microwave ovens and GPS devices - not to mention millions of jobs from one of the great tech booms in history.
Now comes the "New Cold War" - one that will also prove a boon to a wide range of tech industries.
This time the United States is racing against China.
You see, the Pentagon recently announced plans to check Chinese ambition with a wide range of responses. They fall under a new program called "Air Sea Battle."
It has U.S. President Barack Obama's backing. The president told our Pacific Rim allies the U.S. will provide a safety net in the region. It's a clear signal to the Pentagon to get cracking on key research and development (R&D).
This certainly comes at an awkward time. The U.S. faces a daunting debt crisis. With Washington's failure to reach a budget compromise, big defense cuts loom.
That will hurt in the short run, no doubt. But over the long haul, as it has done several times in post-war history, the Pentagon will find ways to push new technology in an era of tight-money.
Forced to do more with less while challenging the Chinese, the Department of Defense (DoD) will invest in high-value technology.
Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about.
Virtual BattlegroundConsider the impact this will have on cybersecurity and warfare. China tries to hack our defense computers and steal our most sensitive secrets almost daily.
Needless to say, we want to put an end to that. But we also want to learn how to shut down China's computer networks so we can defeat them without firing a single shot.
Consider what happened to Iran's nuclear program in late 2010.
Used as a cyber weapon, the Stuxnet virus crippled Iran's computers, putting the country's plan for atomic weapons at least two years behind schedule.
Of course, there's a civilian spinoff, which along with countless other viruses, poses a threat to average Americans, as well as U.S. corporations.
Making networks more secure would help banks, hospitals, and other firms protect sensitive data from hackers. It also will aid the fast-growing world of mobile commerce, which will soon become a major target for crafty cyber thieves.
That's not all.