A New Paradigm for War

General Sir Rupert Smith, former Deputy Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe, and Dr. William Durch, Senior Associate, Henry L Stimson Center, joined us for a discussion on civil- military relations and the conduct of modern war. Smith argues that we are facing a new paradigm in conflict: war is fought amongst the people; conflicts are timeless; and use of force is indecisive. As operations particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted, our institutions, processes, and structures are badly outdated. Meeting future threats requires a reconsideration of how we use force, how we integrate our national security toolbox, and that we rethink civil-military relations. Secretary Gates recently called on allies to refocus their efforts in Afghanistan, but what are our goals, and how can we best employ US and allied capabilities to meet those objectives? What do we understand about the nature of the struggle we are facing? What problems do we face in multinational operations in addressing insurgencies?

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