In This Review

The New Face of War: How War Will Be Fought in the 21st Century
The New Face of War: How War Will Be Fought in the 21st Century
By Bruce Berkowitz
Free Press, 2003, 272 pp

This is yet another book on the future of war, examining how it might be fought rather than by whom and for what. In this version, both the United States and its enemies operate on a global scale using decentralized units, each exploiting information technology to sustain communications and get ahead of the other's decision-making. The style is rather jaunty, but there is real value in Berkowitz's ability to identify many prominent concepts that influence current thinking. He refers to key figures and the strategic debates in which they were engaged, often stretching back into the Cold War, showing their interaction with emerging technologies and institutional structures. For example, he details how John Boyd conceived of the observation, orientation, decision, action (ooda) loop, why Andrew Marshall began to focus on asymmetries, even when dealing with the Soviet Union, and how David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla hit upon the idea of cyber-warfare and networked armies. This contributes to our understanding of the development of strategic thought. There is an effective demolition of the notion that attacks on information systems alone, however strategic, can ever be sufficient. Berkowitz shows sympathy for those attempting to push innovative projects through large bureaucracies.1