February 17, 2017

Colloquium Speaker: John R. Benedict Jr.

Mr. John R. Benedict Jr., is a principal professional staff member of JHU/APL and has been involved in various studies, analyses and research efforts within the National Security Analysis Department for 32 years. In 2002, he was awarded a Bronze Medal by the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) for his career accomplishments in the field of undersea warfare (USW). Since that time he has diversified his portfolio beyond USW, culminating in an article related to this talk that was published in the Joint Force Quarterly in October 2016.

Colloquium Topic: Power and Warfighting in the 21st Century

This presentation represents the culmination of four years of research on how the nature of power and the nature of warfighting are likely to evolve over the next 20-30 years. As Joseph Nye has predicted, power transitions among states and power diffusion away from states are both expected to occur. Demographic, economic, governance and other “drivers” will have potentially significant implications for various countries; and will greatly influence the relationships between nations, including among great powers such as the U.S., China and Russia.

Threats and national security challenges of vital importance to the U.S. will be difficult to address with our currently planned military and by traditional deterrence and projection of power measures. The threat is multi-faceted and extends well beyond nation state conflicts to include growing disorder/ instabilities in key regions, the emergence of super-empowered individuals and groups, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  Both state and non-state threats must be contained despite anticipated constraints on DoD spending, possibly reduced U.S. leadership roles, the democratization of potentially disruptive technologies across the globe, and associated ways in which the U.S. military is likely to be a “disadvantaged user” of particular systems/ technologies. This will require both transforming our military in fundamental ways and reconsidering how it is employed in coordination with allies/ partners, other elements of U.S. power, and various non-state entities that are growing in power and influence.