Military Trends and the Future of Warfare

Military Trends and the Future of Warfare

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This volume of the Future of Warfare series examines some of the most significant factors shaping military trends over the next ten to 15 years: changes in the size, quality, and character of military forces available to the United States and its potential adversaries. The report identifies six trends that will shape who and where the United States is most likely to fight in the future, how those wars will be conducted, and why they will occur. These trends are: decreasing U.S. conventional force size, increasing near-peer conventional modernization and professionalization, continuing development of asymmetric capabilities by second-tier powers, increasing adversary use of gray-zone tactics, continuing democratization of violence, and emerging artificial intelligence as a class of disruptive technologies.

This research was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by the Strategy and Doctrine Program within RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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