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The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare
The U.S. military, and therefore, the U.S. Army, finds itself at a historical inflection point, where disparate, yet related elements of the Operational Environment (OE) are converging, creating a situation where fast moving trends across the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) spheres are rapidly transforming the nature of all aspects of society and human life – including the character of warfare.
In The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare, the first part of this paper describes how technology will impact how we live, create, think and prosper. The authors use this description to make an assessment on the OE and its implication on the future of warfare through 2050, which in their view is a continuum divided into two distinct timeframes:
- The Era of Accelerated Human Progress, 2017-2035, which relates to a period where our adversaries can take advantage of new technologies, new doctrine and revised strategic concepts to effectively challenge U.S. military forces across multiple domains.
- The Era of Contested Equality, 2035-2050, which is marked by significant breakthroughs in technology and convergences in terms of capabilities leading to significant changes in the character of warfare. During this period, traditional aspects of warfare undergo dramatic, almost revolutionary changes which at the end of this timeframe may even challenge the very nature of warfare itself.
As a data-centric organization, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) G-2 continuously examines and develops new methods to understand, visualize, describe, deliver and assess the conditions of the operational environment. TRADOC G-2 would appreciate your feedback on this paper, which can be found under Deep Futures Assessment on the TRADOC Mad Scientist web page at http://www.tradoc.army.mil/watch/ .
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The views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army, TRADOC, or any other agency or entity within the U.S. Government.