Great power competition has returned after a generation of absence, and the U.S. military edge over prospective opponents is eroding. Whereas previously, the United States could overwhelm adversaries with sheer force, it now needs every advantage it can get. Innovative operational concepts like surprise are tools for the United States to gain a competitive advantage in future conflicts.
CSIS has recently completed a report on how the United States might inflict surprise on its adversaries. This report, a follow up to CSIS’s highly successful 2018 study, Coping with Surprise in Great Power Conflicts, highlights adversary vulnerabilities, using intelligence and technology, secrecy and deception, and doing the unexpected as components of a successful surprise. It contains a dozen vignettes illustrating potential future surprises.
After a short briefing on the report, the event will feature a general discussion of innovative operational concepts with Dr. Thomas Mahnken, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Dr. Frank Hoffman, Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University, and Diem Salmon, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
This event, with the accompanying report and video, is made possible by support from the Smith Richardson Foundation.