Killer Apps: An FP Special Report on the Future of War

I was intrigued by the latest copy of FP (Foreign Policy Magazine). I normally don’t go for the heavy global-economics-political stuff but since this issue contained a special report on the future of war I took a chance and parted with $6.99 plus tax.

The special report contains eight articles which cover such topics as “the age of netwar”, the effectiveness of aerial bombing (I didn’t know that the Italians were the first to try it in 1911 in Libya), the future of NATO, un-wars in Africa, China’s military and the rise of militainment.

I read the kick-off article (The New Rules of War by John Arquilla - professor of defense analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif) and learned a bit about networked conflict.

As a wargame developer I am always looking to fuse supporting disciplines (e.g., game theory, political science, economics, traditional force-on-force models to name a few) to come up with a new model to test my theories. Professor Arquille makes a compelling argument (through the definition of three basic rules) that our current defense doctrine of “large-and-few” combat forces may not be as effective as networked “small-and-many” forces. Citing a number of historical examples, Arquille proceeds to flesh-out the remaining two rules: “Finding Matters More Than Flanking” – an interesting counter-intuitive shift toward dealing with forces that melt when surrounded and “Swarming Is the New Surging” – an alternative to current surge doctrine.

I’m glad I purchase this issue of FP and look forward to completing the remaining articles (both military and non-military). I may not find future issues of interest but this issue has given me inspiration and information for tweaking my current draft models.

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Comment by Robert Cleary on March 14, 2010 at 9:22am

The cover is pretty cool but I am glad to say that is not why I picked up my copy. As for "specific tools" the article "The New Rules of War" is raised to the doctrine/strategic level (though "Meet the Sims... and Shoot Them" does discuss the mixing of commercial and military simulation products). I would have liked to have seen more but it was a spontaneoud purchase.

Please point out any articles that you have currently read that may be of interest alone these lines.

Comment by Robert Cleary on March 9, 2010 at 11:23am
It was an interestin find. I just discovered the link so you can check out the articles.
Comment by Kai Jensen on March 9, 2010 at 10:15am
Very interesting, Robert. Thanks for sharing that. (I didn't even know FP magazine existed.)

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