08 September 2009

Warfare in the 21st Century

When I was Secretary to the Department of Defence in the late 1990s we not unnaturally devoted a fair bit of time to thinking about what warfare in the 21st century might look like.

It didn’t turn out exactly as we had imagined.


Dominic Meagher said...


This is quite amusing (as much as a picture of warfare can be amusing) but it does raise a question: upon reflection, why do you think your department's expectations were wrong, and can the department craft better expectations going forward?

How would you now revise your expectations about warfare over the next appropriate period of time (sorry, I don't know how much lead time DOD needs to shape an appropriate force, but I'm sure you do).

Paul Barratt said...

Actually I was being a little facetious, and a lot of thought was given to issues relating to asymmetrical and counter-insurgency warfare. But there was an irony in the fact that one of the first photos to appear from the first major war of the 21st century was not of high-tech gadgetry, but this 2001 shot of opposing tribesmen fighting in Afghanistan, as part of the process that overthrew the Taliban.