how the USA, currently the only superpower of the world, sees the war of the future. This volume of the Future of Warfare series examines some of the most significant factors shaping military trends over the next ten to 15 years: changes in the size, quality, and character of military forces available to the United States and its potential adversaries. The far future Beyond 10,000 AD Beyond 1 million AD. Welcome to the future of warfare. Despite the intention to focus elsewhere and on interstate competition and not terrorism, the Middle East remains the most likely—although not the most dangerous—place where the United States will need to fight wars in the future; this is exacerbated by U.S. restraints on the use of force and the continued public aversion to using ground forces in the region. This research was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by the Strategy and Doctrine Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE. Image: Oliver Barrett 03 Nov 2016. This report is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. Although successfully predicting the future of warfare is notoriously difficult, the U.S. military, for better or worse, is deeply invested in the forecasting business. Based on the trend analysis described in the study, and assuming that the United States will try to maintain its position as the world's preeminent global military superpower, the United States will face a series of deepening strategic dilemmas when confronting warfare from now through 2030. What changes are expected in the size, quality, and character of military forces available to the United States and its potential adversaries? RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors. It starts by identifying the key three dozen or so geopolitical; military; space, nuclear, and cyber; restraint; economic; and environmental trends that will shape the future of warfare from now until 2030. Conventional Force Size, Trend 2: Increasing Modernization and Professionalization of Near-Peer Forces, Trend 3: The Development of Asymmetric Strategies by Second- Tier Powers, Trend 4: Potential Adversaries' Increasing Use of "Gray Zone" Tactics, Trend 5: A Weakening of the State's Monopoly on Violence, Trend 6: AI as a Class of Potentially Disruptive Technologies, Conclusion: Understanding the Eroding "Competitive Military Advantage". Restraints and geography trends, the increasing salience of lawfare, the wider distribution of imagery of military operations, and the growing urbanization of the global population all could affect warfare by 2030. We have never gotten it right, from the Mayagüez to Grenada, Panama, Somalia, the Balkans, Haiti, Kuwait, Iraq, and more—we had no idea a year before any of those missions that we would be so engaged. In the 19th century the … To dominate the information domain before, during, and after the next conflict, significant change is required in the U.S. military’s appr The joint force will face at least four diverse types of conflict, each requiring a somewhat different suite of capabilities; at the same time, it will confront diminishing quantitative and qualitative military advantages (see the "Four Types of Conflict" and the "Declining Qualitative and Quantitative Advantage" tables). Standardisation and commonality are key for overmatch, consequently, overmatch is partly gone explains Foss. RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work. “In considera… Although successfully predicting the future of warfare is notoriously difficult, the U.S. military, for better or worse, is deeply invested in the forecasting business. The reports took the approach of examining these questions through the lenses of several trends—geopolitical, economic, environmental, legal, informational, and military—that will shape the contours of conflict. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB10073.html. ), U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taryn Butler. As a result of these influences, the United States might confront a widening "restraint gap" between how it and its allies and partners will use force in conflicts and how its adversaries will—particularly in wars waged on the lower ends of the conflict spectrum. The submarine is the single most powerful piece of military hardware ever devised. The synergistic rela… The locations where the United States is most likely to fight will not match where conflicts could be most dangerous to U.S. interests. 10 trends for the future of warfare. After Operation Desert Storm, NATO members increased the use of Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and later in Afghanistan. Ultimately, as the future of warfare places more demands on U.S. forces and pulls limited U.S. resources in opposite directions, the United States will face a grand strategic choice: Break with the past and become dramatically more selective about where, when, and why it commits forces, or maintain or even double down on its commitments, knowing full well that doing so will come with significantly greater cost—in treasure and, perhaps, in blood. Exploiting robots in warfare can save lives of many human soldiers. The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity. (This photo has been altered for security purposes by blurring out sensitive equipment. Assuming that the United States opts to maintain or double down on its current commitments, the accompanying tables explore how the military might shape the force in a general sense in terms of capability, capacity, posture, strategy, and overall policy. Capt. Garrett Sinclair, 347th Operations Support Squadron chief of weapons and tactics, analyzes a computer during exercise FT 19-04, April 18, 2019, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Advanced systems could restore U.S. qualitative advantages in conventional warfare and provide capabilities to process data in ways that enable U.S. forces to identify and target substate adversaries more effectively. Such considerations go well beyond understanding the operational implications of technology and include geopolitical, environmental, and economic changes. The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. Notably, these effects are small and signal the need to increase watchfulness rather than raise alarm. If wars result, they will be multidomain conflicts fought under an ever-present risk of nuclear escalation. None of these problems appear likely to be resolved anytime soon and will likely shape the contours of conflict in the years to come. The air force and nav… Drawing upon decades of experience, RAND provides research services, systematic analysis, and innovative thinking to a global clientele that includes government agencies, foundations, and private-sector firms. Getting to Know Military Caregivers and Their Needs, Helping Coastal Communities Plan for Climate Change, Improving Psychological Wellbeing and Work Outcomes in the UK, The Future of Warfare in 2030: Project Overview and Conclusions, Geopolitical Trends and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force, Military Trends and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force, Global Economic Trends and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force, Environment, Geography, and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force, Restraint and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force, Japan, India, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines (to a lesser extent) versus China, Potentially, countries in Russia's near abroad, Continuity in NATO allies that feel threatened by Russia, Varies based on country and type of crisis, with Eastern Europe often showing the most will to oppose Russia, Potentially less contribution from traditional Western European allies, Increasing near-peer conventional modernization and professionalism, China and/or Russia versus United States and select allies or partners, Potential for new alliances in Asia among strong states that feel threatened by China; continuity in NATO allies that feel threatened by Russia, Increasing public concern for civilian casualties, Greater deterrence of liberal and democratic states; autocracies often less affected, Potentially lower participation by U.S. partners, Emboldened nonstate actors and autocracies; liberal-democratic states more deterred, Potentially less contribution from traditional Western allies, Terrorism, weak states, and proxy wars in Islamic world, Weakening of state's monopoly on violence, Space an increasingly contested environment, Erosion of norms and treaties constraining tactical nuclear weapons use, Widespread distribution of imagery of military operations, Proliferation of commercial space capabilities, Relatively declining U.S. and allied economic might. China is becoming more militarily formidable and geopolitically assertive; second-tier adversaries are investing in anti-access, area denial capabilities; excessive heat, rising sea levels, and extreme weather make it harder to operate in certain areas of the world. Ground forces are especially strained. This brief summarizes a series of reports that sought to answer these questions—looking out from now until 2030. Daily life in Zaatari refuggee camp in Jordan, located 10 km east of Mafraq, Jordan on June 04, 2014. Morgan, Forrest E. and Raphael S. Cohen, Military Trends and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force. Iran and North Korea do not have—and are unlikely to develop—capabilities to match those of the United States and its regional allies. _18 For deeper insight, a modern day Netwar practitioner must look farther into the past. Furthermore, such factors as international laws, public opinion, and media coverage can constrain how states use force and, thus, how wars are fought. Michael Howard, the eminent scholar and military strategist, once observed that the purpose of future gazing in war is not to get it right, but to avoid getting it terribly wrong. Given U.S. interests in maintaining stability and the territorial status quo in various unstable regions, the United States will need to devote resources to such missions even as it is trying to restore its conventional capabilities for great-power competition. Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, et al. Why will it occur? What are the major drivers of future conflict? There is a need to maintain the economic wherewithal and the political will to sustain and prevail in future wars, especially wars against rival great powers, something that remains only partially in. Laser weapons. Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, et al. The deepening strategic dilemmas that the United States will face include preparing for the low and high ends of the spectrum of conflict, planning for the wars that the United States most likely will fight and the ones it most hopes to avoid, and maintaining current U.S. allies and cultivating new ones. ", U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in a speech at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., February 25, 2011. Specifically, the new strategy focuses on China, Russia, and to a lesser extent, Iran and North Korea. The United States will face the necessity of making a finite amount of resources go farther in a future with ever fewer strategic certainties. Our starting point for discussing how the U.S. military should approach preparing for the future must be to review how the military currently thinks about the future. Cohen, Raphael S., Nathan Chandler, Shira Efron, Bryan Frederick, Eugeniu Han, Kurt Klein, Forrest E. Morgan, Ashley L. Rhoades, Howard J. Shatz, and Yuliya Shokh, Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, Family Caregivers Should Be Integrated into the Health Care Team, Allies Growing Closer: Japan-Europe Security Ties in the Age of Strategic Competition, The Astronomical Price of Insulin Hurts American Families, Unemployment Insurance and the Failure to Reform, Benefits and Applications of a Standardized Definition of High-Quality Care. More recently, the employment of PGMs dramatically increased in the most recent operation in Libya, where almost all NATO sorties were carried out with ’smart’ bombs, providing the Alliance wit… Photo by Senior Airman Brittain Crolley/U.S. Greater use of AI comes with serious risks that will need to be managed. Also available in print form. U.S. adversaries—China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terrorist groups—likely will remain constant, but U.S. allies are liable to change as Europe becomes increasingly fragmented and inward-looking and as Asia reacts to the rise of China (see the "Allies in Flux" table). In this issue: what Dstl’s Intelligent Ship competition tells us about the future of naval warfare, what to expect from this year's DSEI, views on emerging cybersecurity threats from the National Cyber Security Centre and industry, how pilots will train for sixth-generation fighter jets, the latest in covert threat detection, and more. Our understanding of the connection between war and the state assumes that war played an instrumental role in the formation of the state in the early modern period. In determining trends, RAND researchers reviewed scholarly work, analyzed different data sets and topics of interest, conducted extensive field research, and relied on professional judgment. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School, The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force. Subscribe to the weekly Policy Currents newsletter to receive updates on the issues that matter most. All the armed services want to understand what the future of conflict holds for them because, given how long it takes to develop capabilities, they must gamble today on what kinds of technology and people they will need to win tomorrow's wars. Nine military technologies being developed through the DARPA and other parts of the military that could change the face of war. This brief summarizes a comprehensive examination of the factors that shape conflict and how these variables interact with one another. Howard J. Shatz @HowardJShatz, Nathan Chandler. The report identifies six trends that will shape who and where the United States is most likely to fight in the future, how those … They will have selected asymmetric capabilities to deter U.S. intervention, and U.S. forces will need to contend with those adversaries' large but less-sophisticated forces. The first is the Panglossian view that technological change offers the potential for quick, decisive and (comparatively) clean victories over larger but more technologically-backward adversaries, as reflected in the ‘Revolution in Military Affairs’ debates that … The U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Navy, is already seeing a spike in jobs surrounding cyber warfare, so preparation for this future threat is … Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Where will the next war occur? Four overall trends are likely to exemplify the changing character of conflict during the next two decades regarding how people will fight: The blurring of peacetime and wartime.Future conflicts will increasingly undermine concepts of war and peace as separate, distinct conditions. More often than not, poor predictions stem from failing to think holistically about the factors that drive changes in the environment and the implications of those factors for warfare. From now through 2030, the locations where the United States is most likely to fight will not match where conflicts could be most dangerous to U.S. interests. Six years after 9/11, the U.S. military is at a crossroads. The U.S. Army, responsible for the bulk of operations in the Middle East, forecasts officer deficits and equipment shortages as the conflicts drag on. The most prominent shift in US defence strategies in the last two decades is captured within the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS). Daniel Rothenberg, co-director of the Future of War Project, Future of War fellow at New America, professor of practice at Arizona State University, and co-editor of Drone Wars. Military history is littered with mistaken predictions about the future of warfare that have left forecasters militarily unprepared—sometimes disastrously so—for the conflicts ahead. With the how of warfare changing rapidly, future military success rests on adopting new technologies and adapting to new circumstances quickly. Preface Figures and Tables Summary Acknowledgments Abbreviations Military Trends Trend 1: Decreasing U.S. Tactical, operational, and strategic success requires a cultural change to reconcile institutional aversion and reluctance toward non-lethal information warfare. U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis meets with China's Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe at the Bayi Building, China's Ministry of National Defense in Beijing, June 27, 2018. Nuclear trends present a cleaner, if less rosy, picture of the future. The Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS.edu) is the largest public policy Ph.D. program in the nation and the only program based at an independent public policy research organization—the RAND Corporation. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience. From the 64 discrete socio-political conditions described - With U.S. conventional forces reduced in size, China—and, to a lesser extent, Russia—will narrow the qualitative gap. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience. The five-day exercise will give base personnel an opportunity to experience contingency operations in a contested and degraded combat environment. On top of all this is the necessity of making a finite amount of resources go farther in a future with ever fewer strategic certainties. These trends are: decreasing U.S. conventional force size, increasing near-peer conventional modernization and professionalization, continuing development of asymmetric capabilities by second-tier powers, increasing adversary use of gray-zone tactics, continuing democratization of violence, and emerging artificial intelligence as a class of disruptive technologies. Being able to use space-based assets for intelligence, communication, and navigation has long been one of the cornerstones of the U.S. military's advantage, but future U.S. dominance in space could be subject to two countervailing trends. What Does Vietnam Want from the United States in the South China Sea? In the war with Iraq, the US military sent 12000 ground robots at the end of 2008 (P. W. Singer). As aggressive states arm individuals and groups in regions they seek to destabilize or annex, the weaker states will have difficulty containing the violence that results and likely will turn to the United States for support. There has been a remarkable acceleration with the use of guided weapons since Operation Desert Storm, where unguided dumb bombs were the norm. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. ... 9 Amazing Military Technologies of the Future. Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. This aligns with previous research to the same effect, in particular a report published in the U.S. Army War College Quarterly, Parameters: “The Case for Megacities.” The authors make the case that, “The Army must co… All military capabilities matter only to the extent that actors decide to use them. Spaceplanes and planes that fly themselves. Photo by Voice of America/Wikipedia Creative Commons. And if it does, how will tanks and armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) need to change to meet the challenges of future warfare? It should be noted that future warfare including the trends in the technological development of conven-tional branches and services and even the blueprints in the stage of planning are expected to be dominated by the fight against terrorism. The result is a U.S. military, and The future of warfare also will be shaped by several environmental trends. The U.S. Marine Corps, too, strains to maintain adequate levels of readiness as equipment losses pile up. There is the possibility that the liberal economic order traditionally upheld by the United States will erode, and internal polarization and gridlock in government will grow. However, these capabilities also come with serious risks that will need to be managed, and the United States will not have a monopoly on access to them. This report is one of a series that grew out of this effort. Specifically, it analyses how that relationship evolved during and after the Cold War, and extrapolates from current trends to speculate what impact war will have on the future evolution of the state. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors. The Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS.edu) is the largest public policy Ph.D. program in the nation and the only program based at an independent public policy research organization—the RAND Corporation. The 2018 NDS directs a shift away from the counterterrorism focus of the “Global War on Terror” and back toward “great power competition”. Russia has a new turret with a 30mm cannon and missile; that will be fitted onto their tracked vehicles and IFVs." This article explores the changing relationship between war and the state in the western world since the end of the Second World War. Such conflicts will feature the use o… Subscribe to the weekly Policy Currents newsletter to receive updates on the issues that matter most. What Does Vietnam Want from the United States in the South China Sea? Despite the leveling playing field, China and Russia likely will prefer to achieve their objectives with the least cost in international reproach and the lowest risk of provoking military conflict with the United States. U.S. forces will need to find ways to neutralize asymmetric capabilities and destroy substantial portions of adversaries' forces. The report identifies six trends that will shape who and where the United States is most likely to fight in the future, how those wars will be conducted, and why they will occur. Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center, Family Caregivers Should Be Integrated into the Health Care Team, Allies Growing Closer: Japan-Europe Security Ties in the Age of Strategic Competition, The Astronomical Price of Insulin Hurts American Families, Unemployment Insurance and the Failure to Reform, Benefits and Applications of a Standardized Definition of High-Quality Care. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. Air Force. "When it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, since Vietnam, our record has been perfect. All the armed services want to understand what the future of conflict holds for them because, given how long it takes to develop capabilities, they must gamble today on what kinds of technology and people they will need to win tomorrow's wars. Share Article The Battle of the Somme has gone down in history as one of the bloodiest ever fought, with over a million men killed or wounded in the course of the largest action on WW1’s Western Front. The prospect of a future conflict with China or Russia is forcing the U.S. military to reexamine its current doctrine. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. During the exercise, personnel will be evaluated on how well they defend and recover the base from ground-opposition forces, as well as mortar and missile attacks, while in mission oriented protective posture gear. This volume of the Future of Warfare series examines some of the most significant factors shaping military trends over the next ten to 15 years: changes in the size, quality, and character of military forces available to the United States and its potential adversaries. He expressed a truism that practical soldiers leaned through experience: war is the most complex and unpredictable of all human enterprises. Stressed under the dual weight of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s human and mechanized resources hover near the breaking point. Military force designs therefore require an idea of what equipment is for and what a future conflict may look like – in military parlance, the Future Operating Environment. Iran and North Korea are also likely to employ gray-zone tactics in pursuit of their regional objectives. Blogs » AI & Robotics Biology & Medicine Business & Politics Computers & the Internet Energy & the Environment Home & Leisure Military & War Nanotechnology Physics Society & Demographics Space Transport & Infrastructure. To ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity will likely shape the contours of conflict the... 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