THE FUTURE OF WARFARE
The course of military history has been inked with mistaken predictions about the future of warfare, and seldom with accurate forecasts. Although there is no definite answer to explain this alarming tilt towards incertitude, there are some indications on why military analysts still struggle to understand the so called “future of warfare”. These indications relate to the rapid technological advancement which shapes and alters the way that force is employed on military terrains. This aligns with the majority of existing literature, which predominantly focuses on the use of advanced technologies
(e.g., AI and cyber warfare), yet its analysis still remains a conceptual “grey zone”.
Before proceeding to the analytical backbone of this article, it is important to contextualise and define both the terms “future” and “warfare”. Undeniably, the discourse about war theory is inextricably associated with the contours of the Clausewitzian perception of warfare. In this regard, this article will define warfare as “an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will and as “a true political instrument and continuation of politics by other means” (Maude, 1918), acknowledging its effect as a deliberate and rather coercive act applied against the adversary. While the Clausewitzian
understanding of war is widely accepted, the conceptual delimitation of the term “future” can prove to be quite misleading without specifying its duration and proximity. This article, therefore, delimits as future “the running period by 2030” allowing for more accurate estimates, since the development and deployment of major military advancements (i.e., state-ofthe-art systems and weapons) usually takes more than two decades.
Contradicting the overtures of classical military theories which indicate that military force size can influence the likelihood of war and the chances of victory, this seems not to be the case in a constantly-changing global environment surrounded by proxies, unconventional tactics and highly
damaging – but still indecipherable – military innovations. On these grounds, this article distances itself from emerging concepts and trends such as “asymmetric warfare”, which can arguably be called novel, since war has preceded statehood and because of the fact that its strategic framework has marginally been shaped over centuries. In contrast, the biggest changes are currently taking place at the tactical and operational level with the aim to reduce army losses and aggravate war outcomes.
Having briefly described the conceptual outlook around warfare, it is important to mention that this article focuses on the analysis of existing politico-military trends and practices of our Dimension’s two distinctive programmes that will display significant traction over 2030, rather than being portrayed as a foresight attempt. More precisely, this article will be structured in two instalments:
I: Private Military Companies (PMCs)
Both of which correspond to hands-on insights from our versatile young experts from our International Security Programme and Cyber, Space and EDT Programme respectively. In addition, our topics are interlinked with our cause-driven Sustainable Youth Goals (SYGs) which provide a framework that underpins the main tenets of our work, with a mandate to provide mission-critical analysis and youth-orientated solutions by 2030.
This two-part article series corresponds to the following SYGs:
1. Prevention of Cyber Threats & Emerging Disruptive Technologies
5. Monitoring Technological Developments in Defense