Accession Number:



Pandemics and Paradigms of Conflict

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The COVID-19 pandemic and the increasingly consequential gray zone demonstrate that significant war-like effects can be inflicted well outside the domain of physical combat. Yet, for the US military, much of the focus of modernization is on capabilities and technologies which increase performance in physical combat and large-scale combat operations LSCO. The US Army Multi-Domain Operations MDO concept is part of this approach. Given historic US dominance in physical combat, it is worth considering what methods competitors and adversaries employ to achieve asymmetric advantages that avoid challenging the United States in this domain, and how the US might best respond. In order to make sense of this, this work explores the historic consequences of pandemics, asymmetries between Chinese and US concepts of war, and advances in biotechnology and synthetic biology. It concludes by synthesizing the findings of these sections into a set of ideas for strategy, technological and materiel approaches, and organizational change, with the goal of operating more effectively in the gray zone and increasing pandemic resilience.

Subject Categories:

  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Medicine and Medical Research

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]