RSIS Seminar by Dr Sean McFate, Distinguished Visiting Professor, National Security Studies Programme, RSIS; Professor of Strategy, National Defence University; and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Washington, U.S.A
Future Wars and the Rise of Non-Kinetic Instruments of Power: Implications for Small States
Why has the West stopped winning wars? The last time it won a conflict decisively was 1945. It has the best troops, training, technology, equipment, and resources—so what’s the problem? The West loses because it suffers from strategic atrophy. Warfare has moved on, yet the West yearns to fight conventional wars like it’s 1945, the “glory days,” and then wonders why it no longer wins. Forget what you know – wars of the future will look nothing like those of the past. War has moved beyond lethality. Today, all instruments of national power must be used, not just the ones that shoot. Nonkinetic weapons like influence, economics, lawfare and cunning eclipse raw firepower. Modern war is becoming epistemological; telling truth from lies determines winners, not battlefield victory. Warfare has changed and we must change too. The New Rules of War explains how.
About the Speaker
Dr Sean McFate is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a professor of strategy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the National Defense University in Washington DC. Additionally, he serves as an Advisor to Oxford University’s Centre for Technology and Global Affairs. McFate’s career began as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and then he became a private military contractor. His newest book is The New Rules of War and Goliath: Why the West Doesn’t Win Wars. And What We Need to Do About It, which has been called “The Freakonomics of modern warfare.” It was picked by The Times and The London Evening Standard for their books of the summer 2019. McFate wrote the novels Shadow War and Deep Black, part of the Tom Locke series based on his own experiences. New York Times #1 bestselling author Mark Greaney said: “I was blown away…. simply one of the most entertaining and intriguing books I’ve read in quite some time.” McFate holds a BA from Brown University, MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).