The rapid pace of technological change is having profound implications for the future of warfare. Improvements in sensing, precision, artificial intelligence, autonomy, cyber, and space are disrupting past ways of projecting combat power and could potentially upend the current military balance. These developments create potential threats, but also opportunities if the U.S. military can rapidly adapt and develop new operational concepts and organizational structures to use these new technologies to great effect. To explore this issue, the CNAS Defense Program is pursuing three lines of effort:
A New American Way of War
Developing new warfighting approaches and operational concepts are essential to ensuring that the U.S. military can deter and, if necessary, fight and win against China and Russia. This line of effort considers how the U.S. military can innovate to operate in new ways in select domains—as well as across domains—to more effectively meet the challenge of future conflict.
A New American Way of Training
To effectively execute new operational concepts against China or Russia, the U.S. military must prepare its forces to operate in an environment in which every domain is contested. This project examines the future of military training to assess how the United States can leverage new technologies and train its forces for high-end conflict against China and Russia.
Recent conflicts, such as Nagorno-Karabakh, Libya, and Ukraine, demonstrate drones are impacting the battlefield. This project examines the use of unmanned systems in these conflicts to identify their implications for the future character of warfare.
A Changing Space
Space is becoming an increasingly important domain for competition and future warfare. In 2019, the United States created the newest service, the U.S. Space Force. This line of effort explores the culture of the Space Force and considers its implications for joint warfare, inter-service relations, and the future of the service.
Senior Fellow and Director, Defense Program
Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program
Fellow, Defense Program
Research Assistant, Defense Program
Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program, Head of Research, Improbable U.S. Defense and National Security
ReportsWhy America Needs a New Way of War
For the first time in decades, it is possible to imagine the United States fighting—and possibly losing—a large-scale war with a great power....
By Chris Dougherty
ReportsMore than Half the Battle
The DoD needs to embrace, rather than fight against, the changes in the character of warfare and learn to thrive within its chaos in ways that China and Russia may be unable t...
By Chris Dougherty
CommentaryThe Full Potential of a Military Metaverse
Defense companies and outlets offer a steady drip of articles and the metaverse is already slated to be one of the core themes of numerous defense conferences....
By Jennifer McArdle