"...Against this backdrop, the 90 page document sets out the future of international conflict for the next 30 to 40 years - as the US military sees it - and outlines the manner in which the military will sustain its current operations and prepare and "transform" itself for future "persistent" warfare.
The document reveals a number of profoundly significant - and worrying - strategic positions that have been adopted as official doctrine by the US military. In its preamble, it predicts a post cold war future of "perpetual warfare".
According to its authors: "We have entered an era of persistent conflict . . . a security environment much more ambiguous and unpredictable than that faced during the cold war."
It then goes on to describe the key features of this dawning era of continuous warfare. Some of the characteristics are familiar enough to a world audience accustomed to the rhetoric of the global war on terror.
"A key current threat is a radical, ideology-based, long-term terrorist threat bent on using any means available - to include weapons of mass destruction - to achieve its political and ideological ends."
Relatively new, "emerging" features are also included in the document's rationale for future threats.
"We face a potential return to traditional security threats posed by emerging near-peers as we compete globally for depleting natural resources and overseas markets."
This thinly-veiled reference to Russia and China will, perhaps, come as little surprise given recent events in Ossetia and Abkhazia. The explicit reference in this context to future resource wars, however, will probably raise eyebrows among the international diplomatic community, who prefer to couch such conflicts as human rights-based or rooted in notions around freedom and democracy.
The document, however, contains no such lofty pretences. It goes on to list as a pre-eminent threat to the security of the US and its allies "population growth - especially in less-developed countries - [which] will expose a resulting 'youth bulge'."
This youth bulge, the document goes on to state, will present the US with further "resource competition" in that these expanding populations in the developing world "will consume ever increasing amounts of food, water and energy". ..."
~ The Irish Times ~