Reflections on the Future of Warfare and Implications for Personnel Policies of the U.S. Department of Defense

by John D. Winkler, Timothy Marler, Marek N. Posard, Raphael S. Cohen, Meagan L. Smith

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This Perspective summarizes and synthesizes material presented and discussed at a daylong workshop held at the RAND Corporation in September 2017. During the workshop, titled "Department of Defense Personnel Policies to Address the Future of Warfare," domain experts in foresight and forecasting and advanced military technologies led a roundtable discussion among workshop participants with expertise in management of defense personnel resources.

This document draws from speaker presentations and panel and audience discussions during the workshop and from published literature to provide an overarching perspective on how policies for managing military and civilian personnel in the U.S. Department of Defense may evolve to address future warfare environments, which are expected to be heavily influenced by advanced technologies. The authors use research from a wide range of fields (e.g., economics, engineering, military sociology, political science, psychology, public policy) to explain some of the key themes that participants raised at the workshop. Thus, the Perspective is informed speculation, instead of generalizable research, about the future of warfare.

This research was sponsored by the Director of Acquisition Resources and Analysis, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD[R&E]) and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This publication is part of the RAND Corporation Perspective series. RAND Perspectives present expert insights on timely policy issues. All RAND Perspectives undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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