Sean McFate, a former paratrooper in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and now professor at the National Defense University and Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.:
’Why are we doing things like buying more Ford-class aircraft carriers, or F35s? That stuff should be slashed. I would cut away the expensive conventional weapons, and beef up the things that are very effective in modern war: political warfare, strategic influence, lawfare, economic might, and deception. Want to blunt Russian encroachment in the Baltics? Forget shows of force—military deterrence is obsolete. Instead, start a “color revolution” on their border. Moscow is paranoid and would shift resources to squashing it. Want China out of the South China Sea? Stop throwing carrier groups into the region. Instead, covertly support the Uighur insurgency. Internal regime security will steal Beijing’s attention away.
Militaries can no longer kill their way out of problems in a global information age, and this is driving war into the shadows. Today, plausible deniability is more potent than firepower: winners and losers are no longer decided on the battlefield, but by those who can discern truth from lies. The best weapons today don’t fire bullets.…’