FUTURE OF WAR, WARS OF THE FUTURE

Predicting the future of war is a very challenging and fascinating task. The pop culture we are now
submerged in has familiarised us with a nutty–gritty mix of weapons, robots, hi-tech knights in a sort
of a mega computer game. Shall the war of tomorrow be a purely technological competition of
advanced weaponry? My belief is that such a colourful image is only a part of the answer.
Two approaches of the subject are possible. A more ‘conservative’ approach, employed commonly by
futurists, identifies the evolutionary trends and builds on this ground future scenarios. Its main
drawback lay in the difficulty to identify these real trends and to take in account the disruptive
evolutions. Some of these drawbacks may be fixed with a ‘creative’ or ‘prophetical’ approach, being
used mostly by sci-fi writers, and based on intuition and imagination. Therefore a mixture of futurism
with some doses of imagination might shape a more real image1 of the coming type of war.
To foresee the future war as in a “crystal ball” we shall question the past. In the history of mankind
the wars were competition for resources, wealth, prestige and domination between societies. The
winners took it all and their way of doing war became the model, the key to success for other
societies.
Some important patterns, issues, trends of past wars are visible. The history shows the importance of
geographical (or geopolitical) factors in war outcome.
But equally important were the brainpower, the creativity and the inventiveness of leading groups or
whole societies at strategic, tactic or technological level. Take for example just the Greco-Persian
wars, where a league of city–states with divergent interests but common values fought and defeated
the biggest empire of the time. Some of the reasons are still to be find but for sure, the Greeks were
valuing the open–spirit, the technology and the art of war (strategy and tactics are Ancient Greek
concepts). War has become from now a confrontation between the ‘intelligence’ of different cultures
(in the pathway of Sung Tzu’s ‘Art of war’).
Certain case studies may give a hint of this ‘social intelligence’ (or ‘social creativity’) with military
implications. For example if we compare Germany and Britain in the Second World War we can
identify a better British strategic creativity (espionage superiority-Enigma code breaking, propaganda
superiority, ‘soft power’ superiority) while Germany had, at lest for a while, a superior tactical
creativity (the invention of blitzkrieg by learning and extrapolating lessons of the First WW). The
technological creativity was apparently equal between the two states.
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A sort of Ockam‘s razor can be use to ‘cut of’ some scenarios by a thorough understanding of causes that provoked the
success or failure of past predictions.

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I strongly believe (as many other people) that we are in a middle of a rapid expansion that will soon (by 2015) establish a first ‘knowledge (or ‘creative’) society’. Some classical weaponry will apparently survive by becoming ‘smarter’ and by communicating between them and with military personnel. etc). And as a matter of fact such an android would be useless. etc). flexible and creative organizations and logistics). The social paradigm is already shifting from matter and energy to information. The Israeli attack on some (assumed) nuclear Syrian facilities in operation Orchard seem to be a step in 2 So we can distinguish four closely interconnected aspect of ‘social creativity’ with direct impact on war: the strategic creativity (real understanding of own strengths. its retrieval. simulations. most of all. several scenarios of future wars seem plausible. Well adapted for asymmetric wars (against pre industrial or industrial societies) they will pursue the same trend of warfare optimisation. processing and. creation. 3 For some years now (20 years) it will be impossible to build up an android robot. And these factors will play a role in shaping the future war. even at an elementary psychological level. USA had also a superior technological creativity (the atomic bomb and the computers are real breakthroughs more than ‘marvel weapons’ of Hitler). virtualisation. At a strategic level USA were likewise superior to Germany (soft power.Although we can identify another important factor: the creative management (for example for naval convoy organization in the Battle of Atlantic as a result of operational research) which was superior in England2. In a first scenario the ‘social (enhanced) creativity’ will change the war technological ‘environment’. As a result. If we compare the whole Internet network with the human brain (and the brain seems to be more complex) we understand the difficulties of building a robot that can act. strategic bombardments. To assure the victory all of the factors (or at least most of them) had to be stronger than those of the enemy’s. clever policy decision making. 2 . Equally important will be the development of new artefacts: the war robots. Future applications (based on semantic web. profiling and understanding of the enemy. grid and cloud computing. controlling the information flow or the information systems of the enemy (industrial or post-industrial societies). A more revolutionary scenario is related to the emergence of ‘ICT weapons’. the creative management (efficient. The same type of case study applied to USA versus Germany in the Second World War will identify the superior creative management of USA. The production of goods and energy will always play a role. They will assist and enhance the abilities of human warriors 3. data mining. social network and so on) will act as creative ‘accelerators’ tools with direct impact on military factors identified in the case studies above. strong soft power. The real time interconnectivity will allow optimisation by reducing the casualties and destructions. In order to foresee the future of war it is crucial to understand the ‘character’ of upcoming society. but the main asset will be information. the tactical creativity (intelligent development of tactics) and technological creativity (invention of new weapons). like a man.

Google (an entirely different entity. as we now it. They concluded that he will fight to the very end and will finally commit suicide. related however to the former one. Google announced. In the future these kinds of instruments will be applied in a military context. no hidden attacks will be possible. they will be only neutralized . Some time ago. In the Second WW (by 1943) the US political leaders asked prominent psychologists from Harvard University to realise the ‘profiling‘of Hitler. concerns mostly the future conflicts between equally developed ‘knowledge societies’6. the situation might be very different. When dealing with a dictatorship the ‘profiling’ of the leader may give an insight. Without causalities and destructions there is no need for post war reconstruction or nation (re)building. each one will compute its chances with a deterrent effect for the 4 Israeli realised the air strike on a target at the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria in 6th of September 2007. Apparently the Israelis may have used a technology similar to America’s Suter airborne network attack system to allow their planes to pass undetected by Syrians radars. The same model might be applied in the future against strategic command infrastructures of an enemy. No surprises.in each case not for very long. A last scenario. Still. Such a system is able to identify what the enemy’s radars see. We can see here the model of a future confrontation between a ‘knowledge (network oriented) society’ and an industrial one. a sort of ‘profiling’ of a whole society. In fact it is a high-tech deception of state-of-the art Russian air defence system: two radars reckoned to be Tor-M1 launchers that carry a payload of eight missiles. they will be only shut down. Therefore. 6 Maybe the future relationships between USA and China will approach such a situation? 5 3 . This kind of ‘ICT armament’ might be the final precision weapon. a flu epidemic some days before the American health administration. for example. Behind the scene a huge real time processing power and microwave special antennas neutralised without destruction an essential piece of an enemy arsenal 5. By using it there will be almost no casualties. based on statistical analysis of particular researching words. dematerialize. The war. process in real time the radar’s signals and feed (using high energy antennas) it back with the desired signals (in this case erasing any signature of an upcoming air attack). not just another ICT company) can ‘profile’ all of us as users and aggregate our behaviours at social level.this direction4. the new technologies allowing the ‘profiling’ of an army staffs or a whole society. as well as two Pachora-2A systems. For a democratic country. as a ‘knowledge society’ should be. the ‘information revolution’ might provide the answer. The knowledge societies will become ‘transparent’ to themselves and to eventual enemies. no need to dismantle the cities. The mains asset is here the emergence of “tools” permitting to guess and eventually to control enemy’s ‘thinking’. no necessity for enemy’s armies to be taken out.

4 . Let’s hope that future war will change its present nature to render obsolete the suffering. In this situation the future warfare will be at most a mega high tech covered operation matching today espionage or propaganda operations. the death and the immense destructions that we experienced from the beginning of the History.two enemies7. 7 Like the satellite surveillance of the’Cold war’ era.