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Research Questions

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Has the relative peace of the immediate post-Cold War era been replaced by a world of escalating conflict and threats to U.S. security? What is the security threat environment likely to look like in the long-term future?

To answer these questions, this report analyzes trends in violent conflict and discusses their broad implications for long-term defense planning. It presents statistical models that estimate the incidence of violent conflict — both within and between countries — and that project conflict trends over the next 25 years under different scenarios. The analysis concludes that violent conflict is likely to return to long-standing trends of gradual decline in most regions of the world in most plausible futures. However, certain regions are likely to experience continued high or increasing levels of violent conflict (in particular, the area stretching from the Maghreb through South Asia). A handful of plausible, though extreme, scenarios could also produce a substantial spike in the likelihood of conflict globally, leading to levels of violence approaching (although not reaching) the worst periods since World War II. This report recommends five indicators as the most important sources of warning that conflict trends may be increasing.

These findings should help inform U.S. defense decisions concerning long-term investments, such as major weapons systems and broad force structure. They also can help the Army to make decisions related to such issues as leader development and contingency access.

Key Findings

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Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Grand Strategy, Long-Term Threat Projections, and the Future of War

  • Chapter Three

    Historical Trends in Conflict and War

  • Chapter Four

    Methodology for Projecting the Incidence of Conflict and War

  • Chapter Five

    Projecting the Future Incidence of Conflict and War

  • Chapter Six

    Identifying Signposts of Changing Conflict Trends

  • Chapter Seven

    Assessing Criminal Violence: State of the Field and Implications for the Army

  • Chapter Eight

    Analysis of U.S. Military Interventions

  • Chapter Nine

    Conclusions and Implications for U.S. Defense Policy

  • Appendix

    Details on Conflict Projection Models

Research conducted by

Test Project - Do Not Publish

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