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The purpose of this book is to outline the aerospace aspects of future war. Because future war is an exceptionally broad subject, three caveats are in order.
1. This book outlines only future state versus state warfare. Its theories are applicable only to future wars between sovereign states and alliances of sovereign states. States have organized militaries, infrastructures, production bases, capitals, and populations. These components enable unique capabilities and vulnerabilities—which dictate the scope and character of war. Because states alone have these attributes, theories of state versus state war are unique.
The book is not intended to provide a template for wars with nonstates such as future versions of Somali clans, Bosnian Serbs, or Vietcong. Nonstate warfare is certainly important; its future deserves serious treatment. However, because nonstates differ fundamentally from states, an examination of future nonstate warfare requires a wholly separate treatment. Nonstates, by definition, exist without infrastructures, production bases, and capitals. Nonstates usually have neither organized militaries nor any responsibility for populations. In essence, nonstates have completely different makeups relative to states. Because of these gross differences, nonstates require their own theories of war.l It is impossible to reconcile both state and nonstate conflict into one theory. Future aerospace operations in wars with nonstates must remain for others to address. This particular book views future aerospace operations through only one prism, that of state versus state conflict.
2. This book reviews only the aerospace aspects of future war. This limited focus is not meant to slight land and naval campaigns—they will remain crucial to future war, forming fundamental components of joint campaigns. However, land and naval campaigns are extensive in their own rights. Their projections must remain for others to outline. This book will project land and naval warfare only to the extent that (1) they are affected by aerospace operations and (2) armies and navies are supported by, or operated in support of, aerospace campaigns.
3. This book begins and ends in the future. It is not a linear extrapolation of current trends; it is not meant to summate the cumulative effects of current policies and programs. Rather, this book outlines how future warfare could be conducted, given the expected advances in technology. Whether or not national decision makers choose to equip, organize, and train aerospace forces in accordance with this vision of the future is a separate question—one that is beyond this book’s scope.2
1. Col Jeffery R. Barnett, “Nonstate War,” Marine Corps Gazette, May 1994, 84–89.
2. This book also does not recommend specific treaty changes (e.g., intermediate-range nuclear force treaty, antiballistic missile treaty).