Today’s world, while safer for most than at any other time in human history, is ripe with burgeoning conflict, simmering just beneath the surface. Civil wars and regional spats in nations like Yemen and Syria draw powerful militaries into proxy-conflicts. Looming concerns about a resource-scarce future have prompted Russia to lay claim to the Arctic, while China devotes its energy to securing the South China Sea. Nations like North Korea and Iran have their nuclear programs subdued through sanctions and politicking, but no experts suggest any treaty or agreement will stem the nuclear tide forever.
Put succinctly, if humanity’s tenacity for global war is cyclical, we seem to nearing the end of our reprieve. The next great conflict may not be fought by the men and women in uniform today, but increasingly, it seems like it may be fought by their children.
War is nothing new, and despite new technologies emerging every day, chances are good that the battlefield of such a hypothetical conflict would look familiar to service members in the fight today — but beyond the firefights and the security zones, a modern war against an opponent with the resources and capabilities of a near-peer in the future will be unlike any conflict the American people have ever known. The insulation Americans have enjoyed from conflict tucked safely between two oceans with allies to the North and South, will give way in favor of a new kind of conflict that may prove every bit as deadly.
According to reports out of the U.K., British military forces recently conducted a drill that approximated a Russian invasion of the West. As a part of the endeavor, British forces executed a mock cyber attack against Moscow, blotting out the power and plummeting the nation’s capital into darkness. This concept, of course, is nothing new in warfare. Cutting the supply of essentials to enemy strongholds is a concept as old as strongholds and supply lines — but where warfighters once had to sever those lines by hand, they are now cut digitally from anywhere on the planet.