Carnegie Mellon University

Center for Informed Democracy & Social - cybersecurity (IDeaS)

CMU's center for disinformation, hate speech and extremism online

IDeaS Center for Informed Democracy & Social-cybersecurity

84405  The Future of Warfare
Units: 9.0
Instructors: Dunigan, Molly
Schedule: T 7:00-9:50PM GHC 4215


Warfare is constantly evolving. In the contemporary conflict environment, irregular actors and tactics are prominent within an overarching context of great power strategic competition that is in many ways reminiscent of the Cold War. Hybrid actors and proxy groups wage war in an asymmetric and irregular manner, relying on ambiguity, strategic surprise and deception to accomplish their objectives. These activities often occur within the so-called gray zone, an area of neither declared nor undeclared hostilities where U.S. adversaries like Russia, China, Iran and others are gradually allocating resources. This course will examine and historically contextualize various new trends in warfare, including operations in the information environment, the development of violent non-state actors with conventional military capabilities, and state support of mercenary forces to achieve strategic gains without attribution. Case studies examined in this course will include Russian mercenary activities across the Middle East and Africa, Chinese cyberwarfare and information operations, Iranian sponsorship of proxy militias in Syria and Lebanon, and a range of other emerging trends in areas such as technology, demographics, and social media, all of which are combining to characterize the way wars are fought today.