The degree and pace of change in the last hundred and thirty years is hard to comprehend. Someone born in 1884, potentially the grandparent of people now alive, was born before the automobile, electric lights, radio, the airplane, television, nuclear weapons, the internet, cell phones, and drones, etc. Only a billion people lived on the planet then. They were born before the invention of total war. And we are facing even greater changes in the near future. We are approaching a population of nine billion by 2050, the necessity of ceasing to burn fossil fuels, and a rapidly accelerating climate shift that will raise sea levels and flood coastal cities and low-lying areas where millions live, setting in motion migrations the size of which has not been seen since the fall of the Roman Empire. Agricultural patterns will change, species will be stressed, forest fires will be more common and widespread, and storms more intense. Disease patterns will change. Water shortages will cause conflicts. We cannot continue to add in warfare to this pattern of disorder. Furthermore, in order to mitigate and adapt to the negative impacts of these changes we will need to find huge resources and these can only come from the military budgets of the world, which today amount to two trillion dollars a year.
As a result, conventional assumptions about the future will no longer hold. Very large changes in our social and economic structure are beginning to occur, whether by choice, by circumstances we have created, or by forces that are out of our control. This time of great uncertainty has huge implications for the mission, structure and operation of military systems. However, what is clear is that military solutions are not likely to work well in the future. War as we have known it is fundamentally obsolete.
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