Last year, the Naval Academy made two distinct changes in how it operates—one that’s a natural progression in cyberwarfare, the other a clear response to how thoroughly we rely on that technology.
“First, they’ve created a cyberwarfare center and created the first class of midshipmen who will be cybersecurity majors,” cybersecurity and military expert Peter W. Singer recently told me. “Second, they required that every midshipman learn how to do celestial navigation like they did back in the 1700s. We’re preparing both for a world of cyberwarfare and, ‘oh my goodness, what if I have to go back to navigating by the stars?’”
Singer and his coauthor August Cole explore that curious dichotomy in Ghost Fleet, a novel that rings as a startlingly plausible look at what would happen if the United States and China truly went to war.
When we talk about future wars now, we talk about drones and robots, enhanced soldiers, hacking and space capabilities, terrorism and insurgency. And all of those aspects of war are in Ghost Fleet, but unless you’ve thought deeply about how these complicated parts would play together, you’re probably imagining something totally different than what these authors came up with. I know I was.