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Prognostication: Do the Services See the Same Future of Warfare?, Ian Gilbert, 9781288306718

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Are the US Air Force and US Army envisioning, and thus preparing for, the same future of warfare? This paper analyzes this question through examination of the common canon of military theory shared by the services, leadership statements, funding decisions, and service doctrines. The conclusion of this examination is the recognition that the services do not share a common vision of the future and, consequently, are preparing for different types of warfare. Each service views a different portion of the spectrum of conflict as their critical focus area. The Army sees Irregular and Fourth-Generation Warfare as the most likely military challenge of the future. Consequently, it is shifting its priorities to align capability against that type of warfare while retaining significant capability in traditional combat. The Air Force sees itself as a dominant force in Third-Generation warfare and seeks to retain its, and thus US, dominance in that arena. The Air Force recognizes the need to develop capability in Irregular and Fourth-Generation Warfare, but remains focused on what it views as more dangerous, the Third-Generation threat.

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