AUSA Paper Examines Myths About Future Warfare

AUSA Paper Examines Myths About Future Warfare

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Photo by: U.S. Army

A new paper published by the Association of the U.S. Army examines five myths in contemporary military thinking that the author writes are holding back a broader appreciation for the challenges, opportunities and solutions for future war.

The paper by Lt. Col. Amos Fox is the second in a series focused on future warfare and how the military thinks about it. Fox is a doctoral candidate at the University of Reading and a freelance writer and conflict scholar writing for AUSA.

“Myths and Principles in the Challenges of Future War” presents five myths that Fox seeks to dispel, including the myth that small, light and dispersed is better, and that warfighting preference matters. “The neglect of adaptive and self-interested oppositional innovation is the theme that binds each of these myths; ultimately, it is why they provide limited utility for the practitioner and scholar of armed conflict,” Fox writes.

To address the challenges of the future of armed conflict, Western military thinking “must expand beyond the confines of engrained institutional thinking,” Fox writes. “It must periodically question its assumptions and its extant mental models. To keep pace with change, it must discharge obsolete ideas and concepts, regardless of how uncomfortable doing so might initially feel.”

This thinking also must be “thoughtfully critiqued,” Fox writes. “Rigorously examining military concepts, doctrine, strategies and non-specific ideas is the method by which those ideas are improved,” he writes.

Read the paper here.

Through his five-part series, Fox aims to start a discussion on military thinking about the future of armed conflict by highlighting the differences among strategy, concepts, doctrine, plans and theory. The papers also will describe how institutional thinking is well represented in contemporary military thinking, but independent ideas are underrepresented.

Fox, whose research and writing focus on the theory of war and warfare, proxy war, future armed conflict, urban warfare, armored warfare and the Russo-Ukrainian War, has been published in RUSI Journal and Small Wars and Insurgencies, among many other publications.

The first paper in the series, “Western Military Thinking and Breaking Free from the Tetrarch of Modern Military Thinking,” is available here.