Warfare has always been about exerting political will--and technology has always played a key role in doing that. Today, science and technology are being used to exert political will far from the traditional battlefield. Adversaries are exploiting space, cyberattacks, biology, and other emerging technologies to significantly disrupt the systems underpinning our society--including telecommunications infrastructure, power grids, public health systems, transportation systems and financial institutions. In short, an adversary can gain advantage without ever firing a shot. Are we prepared for the future of warfare?
In a leaked military manual on “unconventional warfare” recently highlighted by WikiLeaks, the U.S. Army states that major global financial institutions — such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) — are used as unconventional, financial “weapons in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war,” as well as in leveraging “the policies and cooperation of state governments.”
The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks on Twitter in light of recent events in Venezuela as well as the years-long, U.S.-led economic siege of that country through sanctions and other means of economic warfare. Though the document has generated new interest in recent days, it had originally been released by WikiLeaks in December 2008 and has been described as the military’s “regime change handbook.”