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The authors concede that the revolution in military affairs holds great promise for conventional, combined-arms warfare, but conclude that its potential value in conflict short of war, whether terrorism, insurgency, or violence associated with narcotrafficking, is not so clear-cut. Given this, national leaders and strategists should proceed cautiously and only after a full exploration of the ethical, political, and social implications of their decisions. To illustrate this, the authors develop a hypothetical future scenario--a "history" of U.S. efforts in conflict short of war during the first decade of the 21st century. It is too early to offer concrete policy prescriptions for adapting many aspects of the revolution in military affairs to conflict short of war, but the authors do suggest an array of questions that should be debated. In order to decide whether to apply new technology and emerging concepts or how to employ them, the United States must first reach consensus on ultimate objectives and acceptable costs.
2010 SSI Annual Strategy Conference Report "Defining War for the 21st Century"
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