Reports and Findings on the Will to Fight

Final Publications


  • Russian trucks on the road heading to Deir al-Zor in Kabakeb near Deir al-Zor, Syria, September 21, 2017, photo by Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

    Russian Mercenaries in Great-Power Competition: Strategic Supermen or Weak Link?

    Mar 9, 2021

    The weaknesses within Russian mercenary forces and within the Russian state in relation to press-ganged youths, conscripts, and casualties may offer opportunities for exploitation in great-power competition. These broader weaknesses in Russian national will to fight could be examined to identify more ways to prevent Russia from aggressively undermining Western democracy.

  • Destroyed Iraqi Army vehicle, Mosul 2014

    The Will to Fight and the Fate of Nations

    Dec 20, 2018

    America's military argues that "will to fight" - the disposition and decision to fight, act, or persevere - is the most important factor in war. In this view, war is a fundamentally human endeavor, and military force is used to bend and break the enemy’s will. In a War on the Rocks essay, Ben Connable and Michael McNerney argue that, in practice, America's military tends to instead treat war as a fundamentally mechanical process, driven by acquisitions and technology.