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Old 02-23-2007   #1
Reid Bessenger
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Default Future Conflict

The events of the last several years have been attended by a shift in an American definition of required capability to engage in conflict. On one level, the balance between a capability to engage in military conflicts of fire and maneuver, and engaging in COIN. On another level, a renewed and more pervasive focus on improving a capacity to engage in conflict with a whole government team has emerged. On yet another, some see the redefinition of total warfare as a fourth generation of warfare.

The value of these efforts of course differ, but the process of engaging in the thought and discussion of their merit is beneficial. The capablity to be successful in operations like those that are currently underway brings a special sense of urgency that can, if allowed, cloud a longer term perspective.

What might the future geopolitical environment look like? What challenges might it include or suggest? What capabilites might most probably be needed by a nation state in that future environment? What are the implications for getting from today to that future with those capabilites?
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Old 02-23-2007   #2
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Default Depends on your definition of future wars

The discussion of what Strategic-Operational-Tactical capabilities will be needed to fight the next war(s) is one based on perspective. Just what is meant by the 'the next war' and 'future war(s)' is not something easliy grasped.

Are we talking about peer (or near peer) conflict for hegemonic or hemispheric domination?

Or is it peer vs peer (peer refering to nation state) regional dominance, a conflict based on political and resource controls in a limited area capable of being confined to a particular region?

Or is it a conflict against a rouge state of moderate but inferior means such as Iran or Pakistan in relation to the U.S.?

Or is it a humanitarian conflict based on stabilizing and reconstructing a failed, failing state or region, such as seen in West Africa?

Or is it a conflict fought against transnational terrorist?

Does the future of conflict involve bits of all these?

Most Dangerous COA: it would seem obvious that a HIC involving peer to peer fighting such as China vs U.S. would be the most devestating, but perhaps the simpler of conflicts. It is doubtful that an invasion by large ground forces in order to conquer then stabilize and reconstruct would be involved. The target of this type of war would be to destroy the others capacity to wage offensive war and it would span many spectrums from electronic to economic as well as space and sea. Basically all other conflicts would pale in comparison. This type of conflict would change history for better or worse.

Most Likely COA: a LIC that revloves around stabilizing and reconstructiing a failed or failing state or region. The reason for intervention could be to prevent the growth of a transnational terrorist base, the need for stability to maintian the flow of precious natural resources (oil, bauxite etc) or a combination of both. This conflict requires a more nuanced approach as it is very likely to be done on the cheap, with limited resources across the board and with a coalition of various often competing international partners. Further direct combat operations would need to be kept to a minimum in a more 'hearts and minds' operation.

The two conflicts are vastly different and require different means. It reminds me of an arguement we used to have at AWS: what do you train for HIC with the intent that you can always ramp down to fight LIC or vice versa? Whixh is harder? What skills are the same and which are different. For one you don't have to seal off a battlefield to collect evidence in HIC.

-T
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Old 02-23-2007   #3
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Default Fantastic question !

The future geopolitical environment is a crucial consideration and quite a bit has been written by theorists, historians and analysts of globalization, not to mention by IR types at Foreign affairs and CFR.

The future of conflict hypothesized by William Lind, John Robb, Martin van Creveld, Thomas X. Hammes, John Arquilla, Chet Richards is far darker and more decentralized than what is suggested by Thomas Barnett or (further afield) Thomas Friedman. The NIC 2020 -Mapping the Global Future papers make an interesting read, as does the older "Unrestricted Warfare" paper by two PLA colonels. Many, perhaps most, SWC members have already read some or all of these.

What would I look for in trying to game out trends ?

Platforms - what broad based, IT or other tech currently under development or entering the market today is going to have the largest global systemic effects ? Here you will find the capacity for superempowerment of individuals or small cells.

Demographics - It isn't destiny but it counts. China is huge but is going to age more rapidly than any just about any other great power. Russia is well below replacement numbers. The level of AIDS infection in subsaharan Africa is pandemic.

Economic flows - At a certain magnitude of economic interrelationship is a weight against escalation of overt conflict. A market specialist I know who teaches at DePaul U. referred to the current state of Sino-American trade as "golden handcuffs" for both parties.

Nation-state Devolution/Evolution - As a class of actors, are nation-states devolving power in a controlled fashion to loyal networks (privatization, subnational autonomy, loyalist paramilitaries, PMC's), uncontrolled fashion (failed state) or integrating upward (transnationalism). Are we due for a counterrevolution in favor of the nation-state that will take everyone by surprise ?

Multidimensionality of Power - the traditional, realpolitik, understanding of geopolitics is inadequate for understanding the actual state of geopolitics. The more interconnected the global system, the greater the incentives will be to act indirectly in order to avoid the consequences that open conflict will bring in terms of "blowback"
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Old 02-23-2007   #4
Bill Moore
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Default Unpredictability equates to a wide range of capabilities

I think the first thing we need to do is narrow the focus to what our national interests are (or will be) that may require the employment of our military.

The range of threats, and social collapse scenarios, that may require a military response are too numerous to list, and many are probably unforeseen such as social collapse due to disease, or global warming (global warming has already caused mass migrations in Bangladesh, and it will get worse, which has alarmed India and led to some border skirmishes).

The U.S. can only afford to put boots on the grounds in limited locations, and always maintain enough reserve to ensure the defense of other emerging threats, so not only do we need a wide range of capabilities, perhaps more importantly we need a wide range of friends with capabilities to share the work load. Rarely are there going to be situations that are restricted to one country's interests, so coalitions will be key.
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Old 02-23-2007   #5
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Default Fundamentals

War's essential character has not changed and will not change. The specific techniques required for close combat will probably remain stable. Firepower has continued to advance at the expense of protection - missiles are smarter, cheaper and more destructive than ever. Avoidance, concealment, cover and suppression remain the only means to stay alive in the face of a hostile enemy equipped with modern weapons.

I believe that the United States will require a great deal more infantry - especially light infantry. Infantry can be quickly and cheaply deployed almost anywhere. Light infantry should train to win the support of the local population by protecting them and treating them according to a strict code of conduct.

We'll probably be well served by fielding a few regiments cross trained as constabulary - not pure military police but with enough training to be "good enough for government work." With a law enforcement mindset, but military weapons and manpower, they'll probably pay for themselves in peacekeeping deployments.

Against high intensity foes, I can only recommend training (In a free play, force on force environment that simulates battle as closely as possible). Suppression, concealment and use of terrain, as well as cooperation by all arms, will be necessary to combat widespread ATGM and smarter indirect fires. I believe Israel's heavy losses in southern Lebannon were a direct result of poor suppression, reconaissance and use of terrain by the IDF - as well as excellent uses of concealment and guts by Hezbollah.

Smart weapons will become cheaper and more widely available. While non-state actors will have a hard time getting them in quantity, if a few of them are sufficiently well handled we can expect a seriously rough time.

Submarines. The same hydrogen, fuel cell and hybrid technology that's exciting everyone about cars would be just dandy for powering a submarine fleet - and quieter than our nuke boast. Combine that with widespread availability for cruise missiles and the next war with a major power may well be fought right alongside our coasts.

In short, I foresee a world in which firepower is increasingly democratized. War will remain primarily a mental and moral affair, with the actual tools and techniques used mattering a hell of a lot less than the people using them.
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Old 02-24-2007   #6
Reid Bessenger
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Default Future Geopolitical Environment

Zenpundit - thanks for the link to the NIC 2020 piece. I'm still going through it, and it is intriguing. Of the scenarios featured in the piece, I think that today, two years after the production of the document, the Pax Americana scenario seems less plausible even though it attractively suggests some degree of stability that the others lack in varying degrees.

The chart of Relative Certainties and Key Uncertainties on page 8 is provocative alone. There are some underlying assumptions not specifically broken out in the chart that seem to suggest oversimplification. An example is the last Relative Certainty listed: "US will remain single most powerful actor economically, technologically, militarily." I think that once a region is selected as a vehicle to examine the ideas put forth, this becomes ambiguous. The context of the document when I read it today is different from the time of publication, and that may account for much of the complexity I see confronting some of these points.

Again, thanks for the input. Still reading...
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Old 02-25-2007   #7
Bill Moore
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Default The nature of war hasn't changed?

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War's essential character has not changed and will not change. The specific techniques required for close combat will probably remain stable. Jones
I have to challenge you on this one, or at least ask for clarification. The nature of war has changed considerably, and will continue to do so. I'm not sure what you mean by the character of war though?

Some changes:

1. As you mentioned, strategic reach, we can launch nuclear weapons anywhere in the world with relative ease. Unfortunately we see the emergence of undesired peer competitors in this area. This gives a nation (or perhaps some day a non-state actor) the ability to launch a strategic attack in a matter of minutes, without mobilizing and deploying an Army. No change from say Napolean's time?

2. Globalization, global migration, global communications etc. have created what some call a Flat World, but the security implications are serious, because global communications gives an actor the ability (within reason) the ability to mobilize an amorphous army in any country, say radicalize a segment of the Muslim population in France, then pass information on how to disrupt the French economy. 9/11 was transmitted world wide within minutes, and so are our efforts in GWOT. We have to respond to several different audiences near real time to maintain acceptable relationships in globalized economy, which means our response options are very limited. No longer can we pass out small pox infected blankets to weaken our adversaries, but they can do it to us.

3. There are ways to fight wars now without conventional armies, or where conventional armies only play a supporting role (see unrestricted warfare).

4. I'll challenge your close combat statement also, because close combat normally was defined (in conventional terms, which are too limited) as armed foes fighting one another within rifle range, where fire and maneuver tactics were essential. Now close combat is suicide bombers attacking unarmed civilians, or insurgents hiding behind civilians while executing an attack knowing that our forces must limit collateral damage, and they fire back and kill a women and child it will have a near immediate strategic impact on the nightly news (or the 24/7 news shows now). No change? There was time when we didn't worry about collateral damage.

All that said, much will remain the same, so we can't throw the baby out with the bath water. However, instead of us developing an ever bigger Army (light infantry or not, it is expensive), I think we need to pursue stronger relations with our allies. I don't like coalitions of the willing, because as we're seeing that isn't binding, but we need something along the lines of NATO, but more globalized (not regionally focused), and a new list of threats (beyond Warsaw) that are agreed to, if we ever hope to generate enough forces to mitigate the emerging threats during this period of massive economic and social change, which I think is a transition period, much like the Middle Ages, but we still have to maintain an acceptable level of security during this period.
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Old 02-26-2007   #8
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Default

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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
I have to challenge you on this one, or at least ask for clarification. The nature of war has changed considerably, and will continue to do so. I'm not sure what you mean by the character of war though?

Some changes:

1. As you mentioned, strategic reach, we can launch nuclear weapons anywhere in the world with relative ease. Unfortunately we see the emergence of undesired peer competitors in this area. This gives a nation (or perhaps some day a non-state actor) the ability to launch a strategic attack in a matter of minutes, without mobilizing and deploying an Army. No change from say Napolean's time?

While a rogue state may be able to launch a missile(s), these weapons are not a realistic option for a member of the civilized world. Symbols only

2. Globalization, global migration, global communications etc. have created what some call a Flat World, but the security implications are serious, because global communications gives an actor the ability (within reason) the ability to mobilize an amorphous army in any country, say radicalize a segment of the Muslim population in France, then pass information on how to disrupt the French economy. 9/11 was transmitted world wide within minutes, and so are our efforts in GWOT. We have to respond to several different audiences near real time to maintain acceptable relationships in globalized economy, which means our response options are very limited. No longer can we pass out small pox infected blankets to weaken our adversaries, but they can do it to us.

3. There are ways to fight wars now without conventional armies, or where conventional armies only play a supporting role (see unrestricted warfare).

4. I'll challenge your close combat statement also, because close combat normally was defined (in conventional terms, which are too limited) as armed foes fighting one another within rifle range, where fire and maneuver tactics were essential. Now close combat is suicide bombers attacking unarmed civilians, or insurgents hiding behind civilians while executing an attack knowing that our forces must limit collateral damage, and they fire back and kill a women and child it will have a near immediate strategic impact on the nightly news (or the 24/7 news shows now). No change? There was time when we didn't worry about collateral damage.

Light infantry is the ONLY truly precision guided weapons system. Our main defense against any of the threats listed is aggressive patrolling, combined with the right "touch" when going door to door. I think we do need more light infantry, we just need it to more closely resemble a heavily armed police force than a "2nd Mech".
All that said, much will remain the same, so we can't throw the baby out with the bath water. However, instead of us developing an ever bigger Army (light infantry or not, it is expensive), I think we need to pursue stronger relations with our allies. I don't like coalitions of the willing, because as we're seeing that isn't binding, but we need something along the lines of NATO, but more globalized (not regionally focused), and a new list of threats (beyond Warsaw) that are agreed to, if we ever hope to generate enough forces to mitigate the emerging threats during this period of massive economic and social change, which I think is a transition period, much like the Middle Ages, but we still have to maintain an acceptable level of security during this period.
Good luck. Sooner or later, we would need to eat some things we wouldn't care for, politically, with this approach. I'm not saying we shouldn't, I'm just saying that we need to be prepared to to take this approach

Excellent topic and discussion!
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Old 02-26-2007   #9
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Default Definitions

Quote:
War's essential character has not changed and will not change. The specific techniques required for close combat will probably remain stable. Jones

I have to challenge you on this one, or at least ask for clarification. The nature of war has changed considerably, and will continue to do so. I'm not sure what you mean by the character of war though?
I think there may be some confusion over how we define terms here.

I for one, think the nature of war has not changed but that it's characteristics have, the nature of war is always political, although how it is fought and the methods used to fight it, the characteristics, the features of war have changed over time. Although character and nature can be mentioned in the same breath, for the sake of clarity that's how I define them.
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Old 02-26-2007   #10
Reid Bessenger
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Default Nature's Durability

Perhaps we can benefit from a definition of terms. I regard "nature" as applied in "the nature of conflict" to refer to those enduring characteristics that identify a thing in regard to how it is composed, how it functions, and how it relates to other things. The specific inclusion of those enduring characteristics is critical to the nature, because the value of knowledge of a thing's nature is realized through that immutability. This may seem pedantic, but I think it's central to our discussion of future conflict. Armed with the enduring characteristics of conflict, we can assess the trends that shape the specific form conflict may take, and from that identify capabilities required to engage from a position of advantage.

The Nature of Conflict.

Conflict of ideas or violence or both. (LTC D. A. Fastabend, USA, in "A General Theory of Conflict" submitted 1 May 1996)

"War is a violent clash of interests between or among organized groups characterized by the use of military force."
"The essence of war is a violent struggle between two hostile, independent, and irreconcilable wills, each trying to impose itself on the other." (United States Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1, 1997)

These provide a sound starting point. I think in factional conflict there may be more than two parties. Interested in your comments.
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Old 02-26-2007   #11
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Default Motive,Method,Opportunity

The motives of war like the motives for crimes are eternal, it is the methods and opportunities that will change largely because of newer technologies.
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Old 02-27-2007   #12
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Default From the US JCS: on future conflict/concepts

JOpsC Family of Joint Concepts -
Executive Summaries
www.dtic.mil/futurejointwarfare

Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO)
•Purpose: Overarching concept of the JOpsC family that guides development of future joint force capabilities. Broadly describes how the joint force is expected to operate in the mid to far term, reflects enduring national interests derived from strategic guidance, and identifies the key characteristics of the Future Joint Force.
•Scope: Describes the environment/military problem expected in 2012-2025 Proposes a solution to meet challenges across the ROMO to guide force development, organization, training and employment.
•Problem: Complex and adaptive adversaries will likely employ traditional, irregular, disruptive and catastrophic methods, singularly or in combinations to keep the future joint force from being successful across the ROMO.
•Central Idea: Joint Forces, in concert with other elements of national and multinational power, will conduct integrated, tempo-controlling actions to dominate any adversary and control any situation in support of strategic objectives.

Major Combat Operations (MCO): Joint operating concept (JOC)
•Purpose: Proposes seven core building blocks that form the foundations for US success in future major combat operations as well as eleven principles to guide the decisions and actions of Operational Commanders in conducting major combat operations.
•Scope: Captures the most challenging of the likely adversaries and conditions the US may face in the next decade against a regional competitor.
•Problem: Our understanding of the operational level of war and operational art must change in response to the changes in the environment and increasingly dynamic adversaries.
•Central Idea: Compel the enemy to accede to our will by: achieving decisive conclusions to combat; setting conditions for decisive conclusion of the confrontation; using joint, interdependent forces to swiftly apply overmatching power, simultaneously and sequentially; employing joint power at all points of action necessary; and creating an asynchronous perception of our actions in the mind of our enemy.


STABILITY OPERATIONS: (JOC)
•Purpose: Articulates how a future joint force commander plans, prepares, deploys, employs, and sustains a joint force conducting stability operations. Proposes 10 principles to guide a joint force commander’s thoughts on the conduct of operations pre, during, and post- conflict.
•Scope: US government and coalition partner response when war is thrust upon us, and under circumstances including a change in the political arrangement of an opponent’s government that precede, are concurrent with, and follow MCO.
•Problem: US and allies face future challenges conducting stability operations due to a complex mix of global dangers, problematic nation-states, and illegal transnational organizations.
•Central Idea: The joint force, as part of a multinational and integrated, multi-agency operation, provides security as well as initial humanitarian assistance, limited governance, restoration of essential public services, and other reconstruction assistance—until the security environment permits civilian agencies to perform these functions.

STRATEGIC DETERRENCE: JOC
•Purpose: Prevention of adversary aggression or coercion threatening vital interests of the US and/or our national survival. Convinces adversaries not to take grievous courses of action by means of decisive influence over their decision making.
•Scope: Describes how Joint Force Commanders (JFCs) will plan, prepare, deploy, employ, and sustain a joint force to contribute to a strategic deterrence strategy set forth by national leadership through 2015.
•Problem: Shift from optimized planning against specific adversaries to planning designed to address a wider spectrum of contingencies to deter both initial and escalatory use of WMD as well as the transfer of WMD.
•Central Idea: To exercise decisive influence over a potential adversary’s strategic deterrence Center of Gravity: the decision-making calculus of key adversary decision-makers.

BATTLESPACE AWARNESS: JOC
•Purpose: Provides commanders and force elements the ability to make better decisions faster by enabling a more thorough understanding of the environment in which they operate, relevant friendly force data, the adversaries they face, and non-aligned actors that could aid in or detract from friendly force success.
•Scope: Future Joint Force Battlespace Awareness capabilities to support the full ROMO as envisioned circa 2015.
•Problem: Describes the envisioned changes to friendly operations that will drive BA capabilities to support these new operational concepts and anticipated changes in adversary capabilities and operations that will necessitate alterations in BA capabilities.
•Central Idea: Enables Joint C2, Force Application, and Force Protection to: bring military means to bear at critical points; allowing commanders to make efficient operational decisions; avoid enemy denial and deceptions; break-through or circumvent anti-access and area denial strategies; and, thwart enemy attempts to harm U.S. interests worldwide.

JOINT C2: JOC
•Purpose: Enabled by a robust, secure, integrated network, and through the employment of collaborative information environments, the Joint Force Commander will possess a seamless, deployable command and control capability, agile across the ROMO. •Scope: Describes a vision of how Joint Command and Control (C2) will be executed in 2015 in support of the Joint Force Commander. •Problem: Instead of de-conflicting the operations of service components, the 21st century Joint Force Commander must integrate separate capabilities of the service components so that they are able to conduct cohesive operations.
•Central Idea: Joint C2 will be a joint decision making process that is dynamic, decentralized, distributed, deployable, and highly adaptive. Provides the Joint Force Commander a networked, dispersed, joint force that can work together in a virtual problem space, accessing any piece of information, any place and at any time, in response to any operation across the ROMO

FORCE APPLICATION: JOC
•Purpose: Guide the transformation of the US Armed Forces by describing those overarching force application (FA) capabilities and associated attributes needed to meet future military challenges.
•Scope: Capabilities required to effectively apply force against large-scale enemy forces in the 2015 timeframe, described in the context of Major Combat Operations.
•Problem: US Forces must be able to respond rapidly anywhere around the globe, to include within the US, and provide overwhelming force to meet any contingency. In addition, the joint force must be ready to operate in a multinational and interagency environment as a member of a hastily created coalition.
•Central Idea: FA attributes characterize the two overarching force application capabilities – the ability to maneuver and the ability to engage – required to meet future military challenges. Stated as twelve broad categories that build on the attributes in the JOpsC, and put a focus on desirable qualities to be pursued when considering force application improvements.

NET-CENT OPERATIONS: JOC
•Purpose: Identify the principles, capabilities, and attributes required for the Joint Force to function in a fully connected framework for full human and technical connectivity and interoperability that allows all DOD users and mission partners to share the information they need, when they need it, in a form they can understand.
•Scope: Information and decision superiority-based concept describing how joint forces might function in a fully networked environment 10 to 20 years in the future
•Problem: Current human and technical connectivity/interoperability of the Joint Force, and the ability of the Joint Force to exploit that connectivity and interoperability, are inadequate to achieve the levels of operational effectiveness and efficiency necessary for success in the emerging operational environment.
•Central Idea: Proposes is that if the Joint Force fully exploits both shared knowledge and technical connectivity, then the resulting capabilities will dramatically increase mission effectiveness and efficiency.
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Old 02-27-2007   #13
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Default From the US JCS: Joint Integrating Concepts JIC

Joint Forcible Entry Operations: Joint Integrating Concept (JIC)
•Purpose: To examine operations conducted against armed opposition to gain entry into the territory of an adversary as rapidly as possible in order to enable the conduct of follow-on operations or conduct a singular operation.
•Scope: JFEO against a high-end regional competitor possessing significant military capabilities circa 2015.
•Problem: Enemy anti-access campaigns prevent freedom of maneuver.
•Central Idea: A tailored combination of forward-based, forward deployed, pre-positioned and CONUS surge forces in various force postures will enhance the ability to maneuver from operational and strategic distances to an objective to gain access. JFEO force will employ complimentary force multiplying effects that will synchronize Joint, inter-agency, and possibly multinational forces. .

Joint Under Sea Superiority JIC
•Purpose: Identify the critical capabilities required to execute undersea warfare—the conduct of operations to establish battlespace dominance in the undersea environment, permitting friendly forces to accomplish the full range of potential missions and denying an opposing force the effective use of undersea systems and weapons. It includes offensive and defensive submarine, antisubmarine, undersea vehicle, and mine warfare operations.
•Scope: JUSS is an enabling concept covering all undersea warfare missions and primarily supports the Major Combat Operations and the Strategic Deterrence joint operating concepts. It discusses required capabilities without identifying systems that might provide them.
•Problem: Regional adversaries interfere with US interests by attempting to coerce US allies. Littoral areas are involved.
•Central idea: The US assures threatened allies by dissuading and deterring adversary coercion, and defeating any exhibited adversary aggression using undersea warfare, among other types of warfare.

Global Strike JIC
•Purpose: Describes a concept for conducting Global Strike operations during the Seize the Initiative phase of a major combat operation (MCO) in 2015.
•Scope: Identifies and describes the capabilities for conducting Global Strike operations in 2015 and is consistent with and does not deviate from current strategic guidance.
•Problem: The set of enemy targets most applicable for Global Strike (IADS, WMD/WME, TBMs, leadership, C2 infrastructure and networks, etc.) are likely to be employed and protected in ways that offer significant challenges to location, identification, and negation or destruction.
•Central Idea: Describes the capabilities and tasks that will be required to achieve Global Strike effects during the first ten days of an MCO campaign – specifically, the Seize the Initiative Phase.

Integrated Air and Missile Defense JIC
•Purpose: Describes how the Joint Force Commander will integrate capabilities to generate effects and achieve objectives for countering air and missile threats in the context of seizing the initiative during Major Combat Operations circa 2015.
•Scope: Integration of capabilities and overlapping operations to defend the Homeland and US National interests, protect the Joint Force and enable freedom of action by negating an adversaries ability to achieve adverse effects from air and missile capabilities.
•Problem: The future joint force will have to simultaneously defend the Homeland and execute multiple, distributed, and decentralized operations throughout the global battle space, placing unique demands on Joint Force capabilities for countering air and missile threats.
•Central Idea: IAMD requires the integration of capabilities within and among six broad mission areas into a holistic approach that provides interrelated, end-to-end solution sets for countering air and missile threats

SEABASING JIC
•Purpose: Explains relevance to strategic guidance and joint concepts, lays out assumptions and risks, identifies essential capabilities, defines attributes, and provides guidelines of how joint Seabasing can be executed to support national military objectives.
•Scope: Outlines the concept for closing, assembling, employing, and sustaining joint forces from a sea base across the ROMO, circa 2015 to 2025.
•Problem: U.S. forces must react promptly to theater needs from a posture that minimizes footprint, partly because the regions’ low tolerance for long-term foreign military presence no matter how well intentioned.
•Central Idea: Rapid deployment, assembly, command, projection, reconstitution, and re-employment of joint combat power from the sea, while providing continuous support, sustainment, and force protection to select expeditionary joint forces without reliance on land bases within the Joint Operating Area (JOA).
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Old 02-27-2007   #14
Reid Bessenger
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Default Nic 2020

Thanks again to Zenpundit for bringing this study to our attention. For a link see his earlier post on this thread. The report is written from a US government perspective. I've read the report and provide a few point from it along with some editorial for discussion.

Future Trends

Globalization, defined as the growing interconnectedness reflected in the flow of information, technology, capital, goods, services and people world-wide. It will favor those who possess or have access to technology over those with a relative lack. It requires a global infrastructural system of conduits for the associated transfer, and rules to govern that transfer. There are vulnerabilities to this system, including the physical secutrity of the transfer mechanisms and potential methods of activity that fall outside the rules associated with this system. Globalization will leave pockets of people behind, even in close proximity to other groups who enjoy its benefits. This will contribute to instability and insecurity. The report states this is the megatrend that will "shape all other major trends in the world of 2020."

Challenges to the Nation State

The report expects the nation state to continue to dominate the geopolitical environment, but forsees challenges from globalization, international corporations and other integrating organizations, religion-based or identity politics, and an overwhelmed internation support infrastructure. It also notes a risk of a roll-back of democratization associated with what has been referred to as the "third wave of democratization," the former Soviet republics and in southeast asia in particular. The challenges associated with demographic issues confronting nations will provide substantial challenge as well. The report focuses on youth bulges, but I think that the aging populations faced by several nations will prove particularly challenging too.

The report addresses the potential for pervasive insecurity to emerge from the influence of weak and weakening governments, lagging economies, religious extermism and demographic bulges. This risks a multitude of internal and regional conflicts. I think this is especially the case along the energy and identity politics lines. The report assess the possibility of these conflicts escalating to major power conflict as remote, owing in part to the influence of globalization.

Regarding the employment of the terror tactic, the report states that these situations will provide the foundation for some to conclude terror is the appropriate tactic on a larger scale.
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Old 02-27-2007   #15
Reid Bessenger
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Default Pervasive Instability and the Challenge to Interoperate

There is potential for globalization, demographic trends, regional tensions, energy appetites, and identity or religion politics to conspire to create a greater and more pervasive instability. International relief organizations may become overwhelmed. I think that this paints a picture that calls for dramtically enhanced interservice, interagency and international capacity to plan together as well as execute together in a variety of efforts from economic development to humanitarian assistance to support to governance to conflict engagement and resolution. This is a present problem. At a recent event including participation of an international and interdisciplinary collection of government and nongovernment professionals, the observation was offerred that one can get a Brit, an American and a Canadian to agree on a definition of a problem much more easily than on a process for planning. One issue, but instructive.

I think that as difficult as the effort associated with enhancing US service interoperability has been, it is simple compared to the same challenge applied to US efforts involving multiple agencies of the government. In turn I think that challenge may look tame when compared to the complexity of the challenge to improve the capability for international coordination of several teams, each representing a "whole government approach" for their respective nation, and all seeking to work together to accomplish a common goal.

Again, in the context of the future environment described, it appears that the capability to plan and execute efforts aimed at reducing the causes of conflict, mitigating the residual sources of insecurity and instability (economic, technological, etc.) and resolving conflicts that occur (including engaging directly in conflicts when necessary) will be very important.
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Old 11-20-2008   #16
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Default Global Trends 2025 Report

Below is the link to the full text of the NIC Report-Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed.

http://www.dni.gov/nic/PDF_2025/2025...nal_Report.pdf

By 2025, the accelerating pace of globalization and the emergence of new powers will produce a world order vastly different from the system in place for most of the post-World War II era, according to a projection by the federal government's top intelligence analysts.

The projection, prepared by the National Intelligence Council of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was made public by the ODNI today.

The ODNI report, “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” projects a still-preeminent U.S. joined by fast developing powers, notably India and China, atop a multipolar international system. The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons, the report says. Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios, and the uneven impact of climate change, could further exacerbate tensions, “Global Trends 2025” concludes.

The report extrapolates from current and projected trends. It is not a prediction, and the authors stress that “bad outcomes are not inevitable.”

“International leadership and cooperation will be necessary to solve the global challenges and to understand the complexities surrounding them,” the report concludes.

“By laying out some of the alternative possibilities we hope to help policymakers steer us toward more positive solutions.”

Other projections in “Global Trends 2025”: include:

• Russia's emergence as a world power is clouded by lagging investment in its energy sector and the persistence of crime and government corruption.

• Muslim states outside the Arab core – Turkey, Indonesia, even a post-clerical Iran – could take on expanded roles in the new international order.

• A government in Eastern or Central Europe could be effectively taken over and run by organized crime. In parts of Africa and South Asia, some states might wither away as governments fail to provide security and other basic needs.

• A worldwide shift to a new technology that replaces oil will be under way or accomplished by 2025.

• Multiple financial centers will serve as 'shock absorbers' in the world financial system. The U.S. dollar's role will shrink to 'first among equals' in a basket of key world currencies.

• The likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used will increase with expanded access to technology and a widening range of options for limited strikes.

• The impact of climate change will be uneven, with some Northern economies, notably Russia and Canada, profiting from longer growing seasons and improved access to resource reserves.

The Global Trends series examines geopolitical trends and analyzes their likely outcomes, in an attempt to prompt public discussion of possible responses. The projections have covered five-year intervals, beginning with Global Trends 2010 issued in November 1997.
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