Could The US Lose The Next Big War?

Yes I know that I am an antiwar blogger and am always going on about this fact or that about our many armed conflicts.

I have spent many years studying and analyzing war and the conflicts that the US has gotten itself into over the decades.

The question I asked is not my way of belittling the military as some unthinking morons will believe….I am just passing on a thought by a well respected US general, Gen. Dunford……

The United States could well lose the next big war — not because it lacks the right capabilities but because it has not done the hard intellectual work to know how to win. This is a central conclusion of the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission in its November 2018 report. It goes on to argue that defense planners understand neither the fundamental characteristics of regional conventional wars against adversaries capable of all-domain, transregional escalation nor how to shape the dynamics of such wars to safeguard U.S. interests.

As commissions come and go frequently inside the Washington beltway, their impact on public policy is typically short-lived. But this report struck a nerve — and rightly so. At a time when the risks of such regional wars are rising, the United States has lagged behind in the development of the needed new strategic thought, which has magnified risk. It is time for the U.S. defense community to put its intellectual house in order about modern major-power war and especially its strategic dimensions.

Lest anyone think that the criticism emanates from a single cranky commission, consider the judgment of Gen. Joseph Dunford, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2016 declared that “we’re already behind in adapting to the changing character of war today, in so many ways.” Or consider the views of the director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Peter Roberts, who wrote in 2017:

“Potential adversaries … have reconceptualized warfare and reimagined conflict without the boundaries the West imposes upon it. … A belief in Western conceptual or intellectual superiority remains deeply entrenched in the Western orthodoxy; such hubris has distinct dangers.”

On the Need for a Blue Theory of Victory

Too many generals and planners are still fighting World War 2….those days are gone and until we realize that the chances of a defeat is highly likely.

Just to fan the flames……

By 2030 there will be several armies strong enough…..other than the US…..

The focus of ground combat operations has shifted dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Relatively few operations now involve the defeat of a technologically and doctrinally similar force, leading to the conquest or liberation of territory. Preparation for these operations remains important, but ground combat branches also have a host of other priorities, some (including counter-insurgency and policing) harkening back to the origins of the modern military organization.


What will the balance of ground combat power look like in 2030, presumably after the Wars on Terror and the Wars of Russian Reconsolidation (more to come on this idea below) shake out?

Predictions are hard, especially about the future, but a few relatively simple questions can help illuminate our analysis. In particular, three questions motivate this study:

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

11 thoughts on “Could The US Lose The Next Big War?

  1. The USA has not won a war since 1945, and I am not counting Grenada. If they claimed vistory in Kuwait and Iraq, subsequent events have shown that it was only battles won, and the war continues.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. The problem with this is what does “winning” a war look like these days. Sure, we “won” in Afghanistan and Iraq, but did we really, actually win in either of those countries? I’d suggest not. We spend trillions of dollars, lost thousands of soldiers, and what was our actual victory in either of those countries?

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