1st Edition

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

Edited By Rob Johnson, Martijn Kitzen, Tim Sweijs Copyright 2021
    324 Pages
    by Routledge

    324 Pages
    by Routledge

    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 downloadable Open Access PDFs at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license. 

    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


    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.