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Special Collection

Thinking about the Future of War

Collection launched: 25 Mar 2019

The Special Issue at hand offers new thoughts on the future of war. As stated by Danish physicist Niels Bohr, ‘it is exceedingly difficult to make predictions – particularly about the future”. Yet military planners and analysists do not have the luxury of choice. Not thinking about the future of war is no viable alternative to imperfect predictions and forecasts.

The four articles included in this Special Issue offer four distinct ideas about the future of war. David Betz makes an argument of continuity. In his view, future warfare will be characterized by fortifications. Or in the words of Betz: “citadels and marching forts”. In effect, techniques from the past will dominate the future of war, he argues.

T.X. Hammes proposes a different vision of the future. To him, Western nations – and in particular small nations – should invest in small, smart, and inexpensive weapon systems utilizing the fourth industrial revolution.

In the Special Issue's third article, Christopher Coker addresses the vexed issue of agency in a future marked by robots and IA. What will happen to the warrior and the warrior ethos?

Finally, David Kilcullen invites us to think about the future of unconventional warfare. In his reading, several technological and non-technological drivers are likely to make our traditional modelling of unconventional warfare obsolete. We should therefore adapt – or face severe challenges in the near future.

Collection Editors
Henrik Ø Breitenbauch, Head of Centre, Centre for Military Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Jens Ringsmose, Director of Institute for Military Operations, Royal Danish Defence College, Copenhagen, Denmark

Photo credit: Forsvarsgalleriet