Friday, April 17, 2015

What the ISIS Campaign Teaches Us About the Future of War

Not mentioned below but almost everything written fits into this category: Revolution, resistance and insurgency.  Examples (
Modify the Type of Government
NPA, FARC, Shining Path, Iranian Revolution, FMLN, Karen National Liberation Army
Identity or Ethnic Issues
LTTE, PLO, Hutu-Tutsi Genocides, Kosovo Liberation Army, PIRA
Drive out Foreign Power
Afghan Mujahidin, Vietcong, Chechen Revolution, HizbollahHizbol Mujahedeen
Religious Fundamentalism
Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Taliban, Al Qaeda
Modernization or Reform
Niger Delta (MEND), Revolution United Front (RUF), Orange Revolution, Solidarity

Nations and non-state actors around the world are conducting their unique forms of unconventional and political warfare.  We would do well to study and understand the phenomena in order to develop strategies and campaign plans to address these threats and conditions.

What the ISIS Campaign Teaches Us About the Future of War

Winning today's fights still means reaching an actual victory, focusing on changing players, and heeding history.
It has now been over 250 days since U.S. forces began air strikes on the Islamic State, or ISIS,. U.S. warplanes have conducted 2,893 air strikes that have hit 5,314 targets ranging from 1,425 buildings to 58 boats, according to the most recentU.S. Central Command figures for Operation Inherent Resolve. The cost has reached roughly $8.5 million per day, summing just under $2.5 billion so far.


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Peter W. Singer is a strategist and senior fellow at New America, consultant for the U.S. military and Defense Intelligence Agency, author of multiple bestselling books including Corporate Warriors, Children at War; Wired for War; Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know and the ...Full Bio
History is written by the victors, it is said, and this conflict is certainly far from over. But surely some lessons of battle can be learned in the midst of war. For example, by the 250th day mark of World War I, it was clear that trench warfare had changed the flow of battle and new technologies like the machine gun and submarine would play a bigger role than expected. Or 250 days into the Iraq War, it was clear the U.S. quick takeover of Iraq had devolved into a painful insurgency that was more than a few “small pockets” of “dead-enders,” as infamously claimed by former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld.
So we asked our multidisciplinary Future of War network of more than 20 experts and leaders:
What lessons can we learn from the experience of the campaign against ISIS so far, not merely for Iraq and Syria, but the future of war more broadly?
Three themes seemed to cut across the reactions of a group that ranges in background from Navy SEALs to lawyers, technologists, and historians:
  • Depression is the inability to construct a future. – The existential psychologist Rollo May would have a field day with the American security community today. A pervading sense of frustration seemed to color the responses. None of the more than 20 experts was exultant and most were downright gloomy. This is notable in that they were asked about an operation in which U.S. forces have not lost a single battle nor life. Certain aspects of the future of warfare seem easier than ever, but not the part that matters most: achieving victory.
  • The Future of War is Mad Men Meets Game of Thrones – War is about politics by other means, but the storylines, structures, and maybe even ends of politics in the 21stcentury are shifting. Social media and strange alliances characterize this fight as much as the traditional tools, meaning Don Draper and Littlefinger might be apt players today. The concern is that in both the sale and ugly strategy of war, non-state actors are more nimble, more successful, or at least more disruptive than ever. How to counter that will shape the future of war.
  • History is the Future; The Future is History – Again and again, the experts cited ways in which history seemed to be either repeating itself or was being ignored. Perhaps then the secret to the future of war may be how better to apply the lessons of the past to today’s fight?
Continued at the link below:

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