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War's Changed Landscape

'This book is not just a primer into these themes and concepts; it is a primer into both contemporary warfare and how we think about modern warfare.  Both need to be understood, to understand how we have reached this point in time.  As the authors say, the conduct of warfare has changed very little if you take a pragmatic and clear-eyed view of proceedings.  This a refreshingly honest assessment of how we have thought about war and how people have fought wars in recent history.'

The Wavell Room


'...essential reading for anyone with an interest in military matters; prospective students at

Sandhurst; and anyone interested in the long-term survival of the West, including the UK.'

★★★★★ Rumour Service Book Club


'Prior to the war in Ukraine, defence professionals delighted in trading claims about the revolution in conflict and how it was changing the character and perhaps even the nature of warfare irrevocably. Those who demurred were written-off as cold war warriors incapable of keeping up with the effects of modern technology. This outstanding book decisively debunks such thinking. It explains that mass as well as technology must continue to determine the shape, size and training of our armed forces. Not to mention the need for raw human courage and resilience. The authors rightly conclude that 'the conduct of war has changed very little regardless of one's 'timeline'.

I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. Read it and re-learn some very old lessons!'

General The Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, GCB CBE DSO DL

Formerly Chief of the UK Defence Staff


''Context is everything' - the last words of this excellent book - capture how our ministers, officials and generals are a danger to us all if they stick with the certainties about war espoused so stridently over the last 30 years. This primer illuminates the path to surviving and winning in the wars of the hardest century Homo Sapiens has ever faced.'

General Sir Richard Lawson Barrons, KCB, CBE

Formerly Commander, Joint Forces Command


A refreshingly honest, brave, and insightful book drawing from thinkers at the top of their game. Challenging and prescient, War’s Changed Landscape demands to be read – and discussed.’

Professor Lloyd Clark, Director of Research, Centre for Army Leadership, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst


‘A clear-eyed unsentimental analysis that challenges many comfortable western assumptions about modern warfare. This book should be on the reading-list for every military planner and defence analyst.’  

Rt Hon Sir David Lidington, KCB 

Formerly Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office

Chairman, Royal United Services Institute


'What are the enduring, the changing, and the novel features of warfare? This thoughtful study has as its forte its understanding of the impact of new technologies and resulting operational dimensions, war in its most concrete forms, a compass to war’s changed landscape for the practitioner.'

Professor Beatrice Heuser

Chair, International Relations, University of Glasgow


'In this timely primer, Walker and Roberts present a fascinating vision of changes in the relationship between international conflict practices, emerging military technologies, and the norms of war.'

Christian Enemark, Professor of International Relations, University of Southampton


'This is such an important read, and one I will go back to again and again as we seek to understand the constants, and accelerants of conflict in the Land Domain, and meet them.’

Major General Chris Barry, CBE, Director Land Warfare Centre, British Army


 ‘This book asks important, and sometimes inconvenient, questions about the future of war and warfare. A must-read for everybody who is interested in this topic.’

Professor Matthias Strohn, Director, Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst


In late 2021, the new means of warfare were confidently being described by political and military leaders alike using phrases such as ‘grey zone’, ‘sub-liminal’ and ‘below the threshold of outright conflict’, a mix of hybrid strategies that would no longer involve the messy, noisy use of sticks and stones and bombs and gore. Future warfare was to be political warfare. Cyber and influence tools were the future and many academics agreed. In difficult retrospect, this was actually a narrative based on hubris and a simple extension of commentators’ own experiences over what had been twenty years of failed interventions.


But by February 2022, everyone had changed their tune. War was suddenly 20th century redux, a tapestry of trenches, bayonets and massed artillery that would have been quite familiar to participants of that century's two World Wars. The picture, of course, is more complicated and nuanced. Technology is disrupting practices and doing so right across battlespace. But hybrid warfare has very much not disappeared and political warfare in its many forms remains the overt strategy of several states notwithstanding unprecedented expansion in the means available to parties to undertake meddling and conflict.


It is quickly evident, moreover, that contemporary war is actually less defined by technical innovation than armchair experts would have you to believe. And disruptions today are too often tomorrow’s old news. Empirically, war’s norms and behaviours are quite slow to change with each shiny new driver for that change often giving rise to compelling versos and points of friction that combine to dull material transformation. This book unpicks the arguments made pre and post 2022 and, based on interviews with experts from around the world, seeks to dissect battlecraft’s enduring themes and how these may affect conflicts’ current norms.


236 pages I Size: 234 x 156mm

Publication date: 13th November 2023

ISBN: 978 1912440 498 pbk / 978 1912440 481 hbk / 978 1912440 542 EPUB / 978 1912440 559 PDF


War's Changed Landscape

  • Preface



    Chapter 1: Context's Continuum; Traditionalists, Pragmatists and Futurists

    Chapter 2: Information and the New Importance of Data

    Chapter 3: How Will Militaries Fight Wars? Realities, Ethics and Other Empirics

    Chapter 4: How Will Conflict be Waged?  The Dynamic of Conventional and Asymmetric Warfare

    Chapter 5: Acquisition and Integration of Novel Systems into Legacy Force Design

    Chapter 6: Autonomy and Thresholds of Supervision in Lethal Engagement

    Chapter 7: Battlespace Fighting: Changes to Operations in Rear, Deep and Close Quarters

    Chapter 8: Change Agents in Behavioural Norms



    Executive Summary

    Appendix; Participants


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