An urgent, prescient, and expert look at how future technology will change virtually every aspect of war as we know it and how we can respond to the serious national security challenges ahead.
Future war is almost here: battles fought in cyberspace; biologically enhanced soldiers; autonomous systems that can process information and strike violently before a human being can blink. A leading expert on the place of technology in war and intelligence, Robert H. Latiff, now teaching at the University of Notre Dame, has spent a career in the military researching and developing new combat technologies, observing the cost of our unquestioning embrace of innovation. At its best, advanced technology acts faster than ever to save the lives of soldiers; at its worst, the deployment of insufficiently considered new technology can have devastating unintended or long-term consequences. The question of whether we can is followed, all too infrequently, by the question of whether we should. In Future War, Latiff maps out the changing ways of war and the weapons technologies we will use to fight them, seeking to describe the ramifications of those changes and what it will mean in the future to be a soldier. He also recognizes that the fortunes of a nation are inextricably linked with its national defense, and how its citizens understand the importance of when, how, and according to what rules we fight. What will war mean to the average American? Are our leaders sufficiently sensitized to the implications of the new ways of fighting? How are the attitudes of individuals and civilian institutions shaped by the wars we fight and the means we use to fight them? And, of key importance: How will soldiers themselves think about war and their roles within it? The evolving, complex world of conflict and technology demands that we pay more attention to the issues that will confront us, before it is too late to control them. Decrying what he describes as a "broken" relationship between the military and the public it serves, Latiff issues a bold wake-up call to military planners and weapons technologists, decision makers, and the nation as a whole as we prepare for a very different future.
About the Author
DR. ROBERT H. LATIFF retired from the U.S. Air Force as a major general in 2006. He is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Notre Dame and is the director of Intelligence Community Programs at George Mason University's School of Engineering. Latiff is a member of the Air Force Studies Board and the Intelligence Community Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He lives in Alexandria, VA.
“[Robert H. Latiff’s] background as a weapons expert and trained philosopher gives him unique skills to examine the subject of war, technology, and ethics. . . . Readers interested in the future of warfare and evolving technologies will relish this thought-provoking account.” —Library Journal
“A cautionary and chilling consideration of how wars will be conducted in the near future.” —Booklist (starred review)
“A thoughtful and thought-provoking book that addresses a range of political and sociological issues beyond what the title Future War infers. It comports with the highest tradition of ‘truth to power.’ A compelling book.” —Honorable James R. Clapper, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence
“In a lucid and powerful volume, Robert Latiff outlines what is coming in the conduct of global conflict—from cyber to bioengineering, from artificial intelligence to stealth. His vision is clear and his message chilling: a must read for strategists and military practitioners.” —Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander
“Future War is a cri de coeur by an eminently qualified author urgently calling us to our senses to recognize the leaching of ethics and humanity from an increasingly autonomic and remote form of warfare. A must read.” —Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet
“'Our nation has a serious problem,' Robert Latiff writes in Future War. 'Technology is moving so fast that few can understand it.' This is the core challenge to which the author brings his valuable twin perspective as an Air Force general and a teacher on ethics and values. His book is a useful guide to weighing the many dilemmas that won’t go away anytime soon, the moral implications of our changing weapons and changing wars." —P. W. Singer, author of Ghost Fleet