The United States Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) Strategic Studies Group asked the Capstone team to evaluate its 2016 report, “The Character of Warfare from 2030-2050.” The team conducted extensive background research and interviewed 19 subject matter experts, hailing from public, private, non-profit, and academic institutions. Based on their analysis, the team provided the following conclusions”

The US Army will face a future operating environment that largely resembles the present:

  • A global system marked by the relative decline of U.S. hegemony, without replacement;
  • A measured diffusion of power from the state to the sub-state;
  •  A technological revolution that simultaneously empowers and punishes all political actors with unpredictability and volatility; and
  •  A degraded physical environment, stressed by climate change and urbanization

The US will continue to defend its allies as international competition increases the importance of strategic partnerships. It will project power abroad, but with competition from regional hegemons and empowered sub-state actors. In a future defined by constant strife, the Army cannot assume its predominance over adversaries with respect to critical principles of war such as mass, surprise, or security when opponents have access to satellite imagery, unmanned aerial vehicles, or offensive cyber tools. 

The Capstone team identified several initiatives for future study, including concepts related to artificial intelligence data sharing, autonomous systems, forward-looking doctrine development, economic aspects of conflict, and updated personnel management. Finally, the report proposed a narrative for civil and Congressional engagement. Combined, these efforts will allow the Army to leverage all elements of US national power to face emerging challenges.