Accession Number:

AD1053316

Title:

Conflict Trends and Conflict Drivers: An Empirical Assessment of Historical Conflict Patterns and Future Conflict Projections

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

RAND ARROYO CENTER SANTA MONICA CA SANTA MONICA United States

Report Date:

2017-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

286.0

Abstract:

This report documents the results of the Emergence of New Conflict Trends project. Using empirical evidence, the project aimed to identify post Cold War operational trends in armed conflict and the global strategic trends that characterize and influence the environments in which conflict takes place. The project also had the specific goal of identifying the conditions under which a change toward greater state-on-state conflict might take place. The analysis was conducted to support the Army leadership on issues pertaining to the future operational environment. The incidence of armed conflict has declined both in number and intensity since the end of the Cold War. The trends are especially clear for interstate war, but intrastate conflict also has declined. From being a normal and common feature of the international state system in the 1970s, interstate war has declined to an anomaly. Civil wars, insurgencies, and other forms of intrastate conflict have also declined from being numerous and deadly in the 1980s to being less lethal and more infrequent, notwithstanding an uptick in such conflict in 20132015. While there is a general consensus among conflict studies scholars that armed conflict has decreased over the past two decades, and there have been many hypotheses put forth about why there is less armed conflict in the world, there is no conclusive answer as to why this has happened. Moreover, there is the potential that, as previous causes of conflict have diminished in intensity, new causes linked to globalization, population stress, and environmental change may lead to a reversal of the trends in incidence and intensity of conflict. The Army has a fundamental interest in understanding any changes in the nature and incidence of conflict and the future operating environment because it needs to be ready for potential contingencies. Consequently, the Army asked RAND Arroyo Center for analytical assistance.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE