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Geopolitical Trends and the Future of Warfare: The Changing Global Environment and Its Implications for the U.S. Air Force


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Where will the next war occur? Who will fight in it? Why will it occur? How will it be fought? Researchers with RAND Project AIR FORCEs Strategy and Doctrine Program attempted to answer these questions about the future of warfare-specifically, those conflicts that will drive a U.S. and U.S. Air Force response-by examining the key geopolitical, economic, environmental, geographic, legal, informational, and military trends that will shape the contours of conflict between now and 2030. This report on geopolitical trends and the future of warfare is one of a series that grew out of this effort. This volume examines six geopolitical trends by asking four key questions for each trend. First, what does research say about how this variable shapes the conduct of warfare? Second, how has this variable historically shaped the conduct of warfare, especially in the postCold War era? Third, how might this variable be expected to change through 2030? And finally, but perhaps most importantly, how might this variable affect the future of warfare in this time frame, especially as it relates to the U.S. armed forces and the U.S. Air Force in particular? By answering these questions, it is hoped that this report will paint a picture of how geopolitics will shape conflict over the next decade and beyond.



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