Throughout history, militaries have made use of scientific and technical expertise to try to achieve 'operational advantage' in order to win wars. But technological developments since the industrial revolution have led to an exponential increase in the destructive power of weapons, with thermonuclear weapons able to kill millions (if not more) in a matter of hours. As civilian casualties in war have rapidly increased, some arms research has been diverted to try to develop 'precision weapons'. But is this not missing the point? Especially now that hugely destructive weapons are available, shouldn't the focus be on using science to help us understand better the roots of conflict and tackling those problems before wars break out? This is especially urgent as global environmental and resource problems - which can be key drivers of conflict - rapidly get worse.