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The Human Domain and the Future of Army Warfare: Present as Prelude to 2050

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ERDC-CERL Champaign United States

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Studies on the future of warfare tend to focus on technology and place but largely overlook the actors. Warfare in 2050 will be predominantly urban, utilizing robotics and other advanced technologies, but at the core will remain an inherently human and political struggle. Military services will not fight armed conflicts alone in 2050, but will require joint, interagency, international, and multinational collaboration for success. Despite the appeal of advanced technology, the U.S. Army could greatly benefit by looking beyond strictly technological solutions and improving its methods of understanding and engaging adversaries. Like U.S. soldiers, adversaries are to trained adapt, improvise, and overcome in order to solve complex problems. Adversaries use off-the-shelf technologies and simple, cost-effective, locally sourced manufacturing to lethal effect on the battlefield. They also sponsor computer hackers to probe and penetrate secure U.S. government networks and to spread propaganda and misinformation. The author discusses how strictly technological approaches are insufficient to gain tactical, operational, or strategic advantage due to the democratization of technologies and other factors. He also considers social trends that will shape the future operational environment of combat, trends in geopolitical power, and the evolving role of the soldier. A synthesis and recommendations are also provided.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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