The Conduct of War in the 21st Century : Kinetic, Connected and Synthetic book cover
1st Edition

The Conduct of War in the 21st Century
Kinetic, Connected and Synthetic

ISBN 9780367515249
Published March 3, 2021 by Routledge
324 Pages

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Book Description

This book examines the key dimensions of 21st century war, and shows that orthodox thinking about war, particularly what it is and how it is fought, needs to be updated.

Accelerating societal, economic, political and technological change affects how we prepare, equip and organise for war, as well as how we conduct war – both in its low-tech and high-tech forms, and whether it is with high intensity or low intensity. The volume examines changes in warfare by investigating the key features of the conduct of war during the first decades of the 21st century. Conceptually centred around the terms ‘kinetic’, ‘connected’ and ‘synthetic’, the analysis delves into a wide range of topics. The contributions discuss hybrid warfare, cyber and influence activities, machine learning and artificial intelligence, the use of armed drones and air power, the implications of the counterinsurgency experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, as well as the consequences for law(fare) and decision making.

This work will be of much interest to students of military and strategic studies, security studies and International Relations.

Chapters 1, 2, 5, and 19 of this book are freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license available at

Table of Contents

Foreword Frank Hoffman

Part I: Introduction: The Conduct of War in the 21st Century

1. Introduction, Rob Johnson, Tim Sweijs and Martijn Kitzen

2. Strategic Underperformance: The West and Three Decades of War, Frans Osinga

Part II: New Strategies in the Conduct of Contemporary Warfare

3. Hybrid Warfare and Counter-Coercion, Rob Johnson

4. Strategies for Communicating Information and Disinformation in War: Managing and Exploiting Uncertainty in Social Media, Filippo Tansini and Yakov Ben Haim

5. Control from the Ground Up: Embedding Influence Activities in the Conduct of War, Rick Breekveldt and Martijn Kitzen

Part III: New Technologies and their Impact on Warfare

6. Humans and Hardware: An Exploration of Blended Tactical Workflows using John Boyd’s OODA Loop, Dave Blair, Joseph O. Chapa, Scott Cuomo and Jules Hurst

7. Cyber Countermeasures for Democracies at War, Nori Katagiri

Part IV: War from Above

8. Air Power 2010-2020: from Helmand to Hypersonics, Johnny Stringer

9. Armed Drones, Technological Momentum, and the Character of War, Johannes G. Postma

Part V: War from the Ground Up

10. The Challenge of Territory-governing Insurgencies on War and Peace Strategies, Paula Cristina Roque

11. Security Force Assistance as a Preferred Form of 21st Century Warfare: The Unconventional Becomes the Conventional, Jahara Matisek and Ivor Wiltenberg

12. Learning and Forgetting Counterinsurgency, Martijn van der Vorm

Part VI: Law and War

13. Fighting A War Without Violence: The Rules of International Humanitarian Law for Military Operations Below the Threshold of ‘Attack’, Bart van der Bosch

14. Cyber Operations and Targeting Rules, Raïssa van den Essen

15. Contemporary Urban Warfare: Does International Humanitarian Law offer Solutions?, Jeroen van den Boogaard

16. The Conduct of Lawfare: The Case of the Houthi Insurgency in the Yemeni Civil, Sandra de Jongh and Martijn Kitzen

Part VII: Decision Making and War

17. Command in the Operational Dimension: Challenges of the Information Age, Rob Johnson

18. The Emotions of Adversarial Interaction, Lukas Milevski

Part VIII: Conclusion: Lessons for Thinking About War

19. Conclusion: Assessing Change and Continuity in the Character of War, Tim Sweijs, Rob Johnson and Martijn Kitzen

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Rob Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War Research Centre at the University of Oxford, UK.

Martijn Kitzen is Associate Professor at the Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda.

Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies and a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy.