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Why an Army: Is Major Conflict A Historical Relic?
 
American, British and German Soldiers load a simulated casualty into a field ambulance during a joint medical training exercise in Hamm, Germany (Photo: SFC C. Fincham )  

 

IS MAJOR CONFLICT A THING OF THE PAST?

Colonel James J. Learmont
United Kingdom Army
U.S. Army War College Class of 2011

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the United Kingdom Army, the U.S. Department of Defense, the UK Ministry of Defence, or the U.S. and U.K. Governments.

 

SUMMARY

The United Kingdom Strategic Defense and Security Review published its findings on 20 October 2010. The central tenet of this review is that hybrid conflict, as seen most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the dominant feature of warfare in the twenty-first century. Speeches by senior British politicians and military leaders indicate that their vision for the future may be either misinformed or driven by economic factors rather than a comprehensive assessment of the future operating environment. With future force structures, organization and equipment procurement programs dependent on this vision, it is essential that they are based on the correct assumptions.

This U.S. Army War College International Fellow student author argues:
--- a review of the world history would suggest that major state-on-state warfare has not become completely a thing of the past.
---the potential shift in the balance of power between the United States and China might prove to be the catalyst to global-scale instability.
---when combined with global trends and historical flash points, there is the potential to create the strategic shock that could precipitate great power state-on-state conflict.

He concludes that the United Kingdom therefore needs to reconsider its grand strategy for the twenty-first century and structure its armed forces for major combat operations.



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