Part of Defense

The Future of Warfare

Our rapidly changing world has profound implications for the future of warfare. Changes in national objectives, operational doctrines, and military technologies are shaping the character of war in ways that challenge existing approaches to leveraging military power. These developments create potential threats, but also opportunities if the U.S. military can rapidly adapt to this shifting reality. To explore this issue, the CNAS Defense Program is pursuing multiple lines of effort:

Drone Wars

Recent conflicts, such as Nagorno-Karabakh, Libya, and Ukraine, have demonstrated how drones are shifting the way war is fought. This project examines global proliferation of military drones and their employment in modern conflicts to identify implications for future warfare in the Indo-Pacific.

Protracted War

Future high-intensity conflicts are more likely to extend for months or years than to rapidly conclude in a matter of weeks, as shown by Russian experiences in Ukraine. This research area explores the strategic and operational trends related to protracted conflict, focusing on the conventional and nuclear dimensions of a potential war between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

AI Assurance

Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents new opportunities and offers strategic and tactical advantages across a range of domains and applications, from intelligence and business systems to maneuver and fires. This line of effort explores the procedural, institutional, and operational changes needed within the Department of Defense and across the defense ecosystem to leverage this technology in a safe and agile way.

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