NEWPORT, R.I. – U.S. Naval War College (NWC) held its second annual Future Warfighting Symposium earlier this week for students, faculty and staff in the college’s Pringle Auditorium August 6-8.
Peter W. Singer, strategist and senior fellow at New America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, gave the keynote address on Monday. He discussed how the widespread use of all forms of technology is dramatically changing the landscape of warfare.
“The internet at its 50 year mark is about to change,” said Singer. “So over the next five years, we’ll see a tripling in the number of things linked up to the internet but most of those things coming online are not going to be laptop computers and smart phones used for humans to communicate back and forth [with], but rather smart trucks, smart bases, smart Barbie toys, smart refrigerators, all of them latching up. And the internet moves from being about merely communication between humans to operations of systems. It’s an incredibly powerful change.”
The Symposium was initiated last year after the Chief of Naval Operations mandated NWC to further its training and education on new emerging forms of war, covering all areas such as nanotechnology, cyber and biological warfare, along with robotics and artificial intelligence. The three-day event also addressed the international security environment, which the 2018 National Defense Strategy characterized as affected by rapid technological advancements and the changing character of war.
Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley, president, NWC, in his opening remarks pressed the students to not just depend on emerging technologies but to also realize the importance of their own innovative thinking. “To successfully and effectively operate in all domains, we need to emphasize intellectual leadership and military professionalism in the art and science of warfighting, deepening our knowledge of history while embracing new technology and techniques to counter competitors,” he said.
All of the nearly 500 students taking the master’s level courses at the school are taking part in the Future Warfighting Symposium, which launched NWC’s academic year and convened subject-matter experts to enrich the existing curriculum and to provide resources to students and faculty. Two additional sessions will be held at the end of the fall trimester and the spring trimester.
NWC students come from all branches of the military, federal agencies and international militaries.