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.
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 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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