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. 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. Research suggests that the US military and its democratic allies may have an innate edge in this adaptability due to a more skilled and educated workforce. Howard J. Shatz @HowardJShatz, Nathan Chandler. The future of warfare also will be shaped by several environmental trends. 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. After Operation Desert Storm, NATO members increased the use of Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and later in Afghanistan. What changes are expected in the size, quality, and character of military forces available to the United States and its potential adversaries? 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. 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… 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. He expressed a truism that practical soldiers leaned through experience: war is the most complex and unpredictable of all human enterprises. 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. This research was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by the Strategy and Doctrine Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE. Getting to Know Military Caregivers and Their Needs, Helping Coastal Communities Plan for Climate Change, Improving Psychological Wellbeing and Work Outcomes in the UK, Peering into the Crystal Ball: Holistically Assessing the Future of Warfare, 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, 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. Ground forces are especially strained. how the USA, currently the only superpower of the world, sees the war of the future. 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. Nuclear trends present a cleaner, if less rosy, picture of the future. Across their fleet, they utilise two calibres, 125mm for tanks and 30mm for IFVs. The United States has suffered its own share of bad predictions. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2849z3.html. Subscribe to the weekly Policy Currents newsletter to receive updates on the issues that matter most. All told, the RAND team interviewed more than 120 different government, military, academic, and policy experts from more than 50 different institutions in Belgium, China, Germany, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Poland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom (UK) for their perspectives on regional and global trends that might shape the future of conflict between now and 2030. 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. 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. Air Force. 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. The use of substate actors as proxy fighters in gray-zone strategies will continue weakening the state's monopoly on violence in many areas of the world. Spaceplanes and planes that fly themselves. In the 19th century the … Why do predictions about the future of warfare usually fall flat? This report is part of the RAND Corporation research brief series. 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. ", U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in a speech at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., February 25, 2011. 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. Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, et al. U.S. leaders will need to find ways to maximize benefits while mitigating inevitable risks. Tactical, operational, and strategic success requires a cultural change to reconcile institutional aversion and reluctance toward non-lethal information warfare. “In considera… 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. Above all, the United States of 2030 could progressively lose the capacity to dictate strategic outcomes and to shape when and why the wars of the future occur. 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. Russia has a new turret with a 30mm cannon and missile; that will be fitted onto their tracked vehicles and IFVs." In the war with Iraq, the US military sent 12000 ground robots at the end of 2008 (P. W. Singer). Iran and North Korea do not have—and are unlikely to develop—capabilities to match those of the United States and its regional allies. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity. 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, Peering into the Crystal Ball: Holistically Assessing the Future of Warfare. This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. 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. 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 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. _18 For deeper insight, a modern day Netwar practitioner must look farther into the past. The locations where the United States is most likely to fight will not match where conflicts could be most dangerous to U.S. interests. 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. This brief summarizes a series of reports that sought to answer these questions—looking out from now until 2030. military thought nor an executable doctrine for future warfare but a collection of tactics, techniques, and procedures that have been used throughout history. Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience. What are the major drivers of future conflict? The prior focus on counterinsurgency, counterterro… None of these problems appear likely to be resolved anytime soon and will likely shape the contours of conflict in the years to come. This brief summarizes a comprehensive examination of the factors that shape conflict and how these variables interact with one another. 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 … 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. 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. 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 … This brief then aggregates these trends to paint a holistic picture of the future of warfare—the potential U.S. allies and enemies, where conflicts will occur, what they might look like, how the United States will wage them, and when and why the United States might go to war in the first place. The United States cannot afford to not develop artificial intelligence and other new technologies while China and Russia are pursuing them so aggressively. Stressed under the dual weight of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s human and mechanized resources hover near the breaking point. If wars result, they will be multidomain conflicts fought under an ever-present risk of nuclear escalation. 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. A Delta IV rocket successfully launches the Global Positioning System IIF-5 satellite Feb. 20, 2014 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Photo by United Launch Alliance/Ben Cooper. 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. One of the most popular robots used in Iraq is the iRobot Packbot, an unmanned ground vehicle, which is capable of detecting and destroying improvised explosive devices. 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. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. Such considerations go well beyond understanding the operational implications of technology and include geopolitical, environmental, and economic changes. According to Gen. Milley, “we’re going to have to, as we move forward in the next 10 years, optimize the army for urban warfare.” Battles in open terrain will increasingly be a thing of the past, as vast urbanization in developing countries is driving the majority of the world’s population into cities. With the how of warfare changing rapidly, future military success rests on adopting new technologies and adapting to new circumstances quickly. 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… 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. The synergistic rela… The report identifies six trends that will shape who and where the United States is most likely to fight in the future, how those … The result is a U.S. military, and 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. 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. With U.S. conventional forces reduced in size, China—and, to a lesser extent, Russia—will narrow the qualitative gap. The Future of U.S. Military Doctrine Will Be Decided by Technology. 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. 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. Who will fight in it? Among the global economic trends, the first three increase the chances of future conflict, whereas the last three will shape how wars are fought. Where will the next war occur? RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. 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. What are the implications for the U.S. Air Force and the future of warfare? 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. Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Laser weapons. Daily life in Zaatari refuggee camp in Jordan, located 10 km east of Mafraq, Jordan on June 04, 2014. 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. 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. Armoured vehicle commonality is not widespread amongst NATO nations. Image: Oliver Barrett 03 Nov 2016. 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. And if it does, how will tanks and armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) need to change to meet the challenges of future warfare? Also available in print form. 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. Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, et al. Greater use of AI comes with serious risks that will need to be managed. The prospect of a future conflict with China or Russia is forcing the U.S. military to reexamine its current doctrine. The far future Beyond 10,000 AD Beyond 1 million AD. This report is one of a series that grew out of this effort. Capt. 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. What Does Vietnam Want from the United States in the South China Sea? 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. Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. 10 trends for the future of warfare. “Russia maintains a lot of commonalities. The five-day exercise will give base personnel an opportunity to experience contingency operations in a contested and degraded combat environment. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB10073.html. 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. The air force and nav… The U.S. Marine Corps, too, strains to maintain adequate levels of readiness as equipment losses pile up. The presence of nuclear and advanced conventional weapons will contribute to deterring full-scale war among major powers, but lower levels of security competition will continue and may even increase. IN THE PAST, predictions about future warfare have often put too much emphasis on new technologies and doctrines. 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. 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". 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). 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. The United States will face the necessity of making a finite amount of resources go farther in a future with ever fewer strategic certainties. Photo by Voice of America/Wikipedia Creative Commons. Such conflicts will feature the use o… Why will it occur? Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience. Hypersonic missiles. To dominate the information domain before, during, and after the next conflict, significant change is required in the U.S. military’s appr U.S. forces will need to find ways to neutralize asymmetric capabilities and destroy substantial portions of adversaries' forces. These trends must be considered in the military sphere, matched with advances in our adversaries’ capabilities and operational concepts, and superimposed over a U.S. military that has been engaged in a non-stop state of all-consuming counter-insurgency warfare for the last 15-plus years. U.S. quantitative and qualitative military advantages are diminishing, and the United States will have increasing difficulty controlling strategic outcomes. Six years after 9/11, the U.S. military is at a crossroads. 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). RAND research briefs present policy-oriented summaries of individual published, peer-reviewed documents or of a body of published work. A host of factors—such as international law, public opinion, media coverage, technological capabilities, partner preferences, and operational imperatives—shape the amount of restraint that combatants exercise in conflict, and many of these factors will increasingly weigh on how the United States—and its mostly liberal democratic allies and partners—will fight wars in the future. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. about the future of warfare—specifically, those conflicts that will drive a U.S. and U.S. Air Force response—by examining the key geopo-litical, economic, environmental, geographic, legal, informational, and military trends that will shape the contours of conflict between now and 2030. Notably, these effects are small and signal the need to increase watchfulness rather than raise alarm. The submarine is the single most powerful piece of military hardware ever devised. How will it be fought? 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. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School, Holistically Assessing the Future of Warfare, by Raphael S. Cohen, Nathan Chandler, Shira Efron, Bryan Frederick, Eugeniu Han, Kurt Klein, Forrest E. Morgan, Ashley L. Rhoades, Howard J. Shatz, Yuliya Shokh. 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. There has been a remarkable acceleration with the use of guided weapons since Operation Desert Storm, where unguided dumb bombs were the norm. ), U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taryn Butler. Preface Figures and Tables Summary Acknowledgments Abbreviations Military Trends Trend 1: Decreasing U.S. The brief concludes by describing the implications of this work for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the joint force. 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. "When it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, since Vietnam, our record has been perfect. As regards the future of warfare as it is linked to AI, the present large disparity in commercial versus military R&D spending on autonomous systems development could have a cascading effect on the types and quality of autonomy that are eventually incorporated into military systems. Howard J. Shatz @HowardJShatz, Nathan Chandler, Trend 1: Decreasing U.S. 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. There have been many documents produced by Western governments, militaries and academics on the future of war and warfare. This article explores the changing relationship between war and the state in the western world since the end of the Second World War. 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. , quality, and economic changes tanks and 30mm for IFVs. combat Environment academics on the that... Does Vietnam Want from the United States is most likely to fight will not match where conflicts be. Disastrously so—for the conflicts ahead a comprehensive examination of the RAND Corporation a... Success requires a cultural change to reconcile institutional aversion and reluctance toward non-lethal information warfare will not match where could! 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