Twenty-First Century Military Innovation

Technological, Organizational, and Strategic Change beyond Conventional War
Marcus Schulzke
How the military actively reengineers for success on and off the battlefield


Contemporary war is as much a quest for decisive technological, organizational, and doctrinal superiority before the fighting starts as it is an effort to destroy enemy militaries during battle. Armed forces that are not actively fighting are instead actively reengineering themselves for success in the next fight and imagining what that next fight may look like. Twenty-First Century Military Innovation outlines the most theoretically important themes in contemporary warfare, especially as these appear in distinctive innovations that signal changes in states’ warfighting capacities and their political goals.

Marcus Schulzke examines eight case studies that illustrate the overall direction of military innovation and important underlying themes. He devotes three chapters to new weapons technologies (drones, cyberweapons, and nonlethal weapons), two chapters to changes in the composition of state military forces (private military contractors and special operations forces), and three chapters to strategic and tactical changes (targeted killing, population-centric counterinsurgency, and degradation). Each case study includes an accessible introduction to the topic area, an overview of the ongoing scholarly debates surrounding that topic, and the most important theoretical implications. This book can be read as an overview of the themes that run throughout innovations of varying types or it can be used by readers who are interested in particular topic areas.

Marcus Schulzke is the author of Simulating Good and Evil: The Morality and Politics of Videogames (2020), The Pursuit of Moral Warfare: Ethical Theory and Practice in Counterinsurgency Operations (2018), Combat Drones and Support for the Use of Force, with James Walsh (2018).

Praise / Awards

  • “Schulzke, with his concise and organized style, provides a meaty read full of stimulating facts, insights, and speculations . . . well-done and enjoyable. It is crisp and tailored, yet with reference to substantial concepts and important events.”

    —Brian Orend, author of The Morality of War

  • “How are military, technological, organizational, and strategic innovations transforming 21st century warfare? Twenty-First Century Military Innovation addresses exactly this question. An original, thoughtful, and ambitious piece of work, it tackles a vast topic with great sophistication and style. Spanning the domains of military ethics, technology, bureaucracy, culture, and tactics, it not only showcases Marcus Schulzke’s remarkable range, it also sets the standard for studies of 21st century warfare.”

    —Cian O’Driscoll, Australian National University

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 288pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2022
  • Forthcoming
  • 978-0-472-13313-0

  • $70.00 U.S.

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