By 2035, the US could find itself in an environment where Russia or China may match or even exceed the West’s military and economic might in some areas, taking advantage of a “disordered and contested world,” the Pentagon’s research unit said…
Conflict and war in 2035 cannot be understood by the simple identification of a set of individual trends and conditions. Instead, the intersection and interaction of many discrete trends and conditions will ultimately change the character of future conflict and illuminate the reasons why the Joint Force may be called on to address threats to U.S. national interests. In fact, conflict in 2035 is likely to be driven by six specific and unique combinations of trends and conditions.
Each of these Contexts of Future Conflict creates a troubling problem space for the Joint Force. They include:
1. Violent Ideological Competition. Irreconcilable ideas communicated and promoted by identity networks through violence.
2. Threatened U.S. Territory and Sovereignty. Encroachment, erosion, or disregard of U.S. sovereignty and the freedom of its citizens from coercion.
3. Antagonistic Geopolitical Balancing. Increasingly ambitious adversaries maximizing their own influence while actively limiting U.S. influence.
4. Disrupted Global Commons. Denial or compulsion in spaces and places available to all but owned by none.
5. A Contest for Cyberspace. A struggle to define and credibly protect sovereignty in cyberspace.
6. Shattered and Reordered Regions. States unable to cope with internal political fractures, environmental stressors, or deliberate external interference.
Each context includes elements of both contested norms and persistent disorder. However, their relative importance will vary depending on the objectives of potential adversaries and the capabilities available to them. Dissatisfaction with the current set of international rules, norms, and agreements will cause revisionist actors to make their own – and attempt to enforce them. Meanwhile, the loss of legitimacy or strength by governing authorities will permit other actors to effectively employ coercion and violence in pursuit of power or to further their beliefs.
As RT reports, a new foresight report from The Pentagon’s research division, the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC), warns that within just 20 years, the US and its allies will live in a world where shaping a global order the way they have since the end of the Cold War would be increasingly difficult, if not impossible.
“The future world order will see a number of states with the political will, economic capacity, and military capabilities to compel change at the expense of others,” reads the paper entitled “The Joint Force in a Contested and Disordered World.”
“Rising powers including for example, China, Russia, India, Iran, or Brazil have increasingly expressed dissatisfaction with their roles, access, and authorities within the current international system,” it states.
“Russia will modernize its land, air, and sea-based intercontinental nuclear forces” and make use of deterrent operations such as “snap nuclear exercises, bomber flights, and strategic reconnaissance overflights into US territory,” the Pentagon’s researchers predict.
The report admits Russia and China are among countries dissatisfied “with the current Western-derived notion of international order.”
Russia, China, India, and others, labeled “revisionist states” in the report, would promote alternate international alliances, while the West’s shrinking resources would also have an impact on Washington’s dominance across the globe.
“Although seemingly insignificant today, organizations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union could grow as China, Russia, India, and others turn to these multinational groups to reorder international rules in their favor.”
“Demographic and fiscal pressures will continue to challenge NATO’s capacity and capability,” the paper warns. “In Asia, perceptions of reduced US commitment may encourage current allies and partners to pursue unilateral military modernization efforts or explore alternative alliances and partnerships.”
However, though the Pentagon’s report states that “no power or coalition of powers has yet emerged to openly oppose US global influence and reach,” it claims “the United States will operate in a world in which its overall economic and military power, and that of its allies and partners, may not grow as quickly as potential competitors.”
A number of states “can generate military advantages locally in ways that match or even exceed that of the Joint Force and its partners,” while American technological superiority “will be met by asymmetric, unconventional, and hybrid responses from adversaries.”
Offering a vision of the world in 2035, the paper says in conclusion it is unclear if the US “can be simultaneously proficient at addressing contested norms and persistent disorder with currently projected capabilities, operational approaches, and fiscal resources.”
“There may be times when it is more appropriate to manage global security problems as opposed to undertaking expensive efforts to comprehensively solve them.”
Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of it harboring global ambitions as opposed to that of the US.
Russia “is not aspiring for hegemony or any ephemeral status of a superpower,” President Vladimir Putin said at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum last year, adding: “We do not act aggressively. We have started to defend our interests more persistently and consistently.”
Earlier this year, Russia adopted a new edition of its foreign policy doctrine, which mentions a shift towards a multipolar and a “polycentric” world.
“A transition to polycentric architecture should be ideally based on the interaction of leading centers of power,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in April. He added however, that he was not sure if that was achievable.
Full Joint Chiefs of Staff Report below…