Debating the Future of War
With Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine upending our understanding of conflict present and future, the contributors revisit cyber, civilians, modelling and more.
Across the ages, policymakers, military professionals and scholars have sought answers to the question: what does the future of war look like? Often, when the next war does come along, there is a significant chasm between expectations and reality.
Today, some believe that the future of war will be radically different from past conflicts. In recent years, visionaries have conjured up images of robots doing battle on isolated fields and cyber-warriors crafting weapons from zeros and ones. Others emphasise evolution rather than transformation: they picture updated versions of rifle-carrying infantrymen, sailors on ships and pilots in planes, fighting as before. Some focus on technological and organisational factors, or stress the importance of politics, societal developments and international norms. Others examine different types of conflict, as well as the phenomenon of war as a social institution.
After the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the ‘future of war’ question has gained renewed urgency, especially as many earlier ideas now require significant revision. In this book, leading experts discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on strategic studies; they survey landscapes of future war, examine how technological innovation shapes the future of war, and assess our ability to anticipate this future.
‘One of the most detailed and forensic explorations of the war in Ukraine, and its implications for the future of conflict, since the large-scale Russian invasion of 2022. Drawing together a superb array of experts, this book links the strategic, technological and human experience of war in Ukraine with the wars that are an unwelcome but inevitable part of our collective future.’ — Mick Ryan, retired major general, Australian Army; adjunct fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and author of War Transformed
‘Of all futures to anticipate, those of war are the trickiest. An existential endeavour in which technology and human values meet under high pressure requires ingenuity, creativity and intellectual honesty to outline and frame. This book, written by the best in the field, has all of the above.’ — Florence Gaub, Director of the Research Division, NATO Defense College
Tim Sweijs PhD is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, and a senior research fellow at the Netherlands’ War Studies Research Centre.
Jeffrey H. Michaels PhD is the IEN Senior Fellow in American Foreign Policy and International Security at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals.