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Emerging Threats and Opportunities

This edition of ETOs seeks to promote readings the AARC team recommend for assisting Army to adapting to future threats and opportunities. We deliberately span a range of topics and aim to provide enough time to order books of interest prior to the Christmas holidays. Happy reading!


Cover - Losing the Long Game


Philip H. Gordon, Losing the Long Game: The False Promise of Regime Change in the Middle East, Oct 2020.

This book is a clinical review of United States’ efforts to affect regime change in the Middle East since World War II. Its importance lies in highlighting the inherent resilience within societies to external pressures. Further, by reviewing past efforts, future policy decisions might be informed.


Cover - Call Sign Chaos-Learning to Lead

Jim Mattis and Bing West, Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, Sep 2019.

This book doesn’t need explanation. It covers the lessons Jim Mattis takes from his wide-ranging leadership roles, contextualised into broader implications for the military practitioner.


Cover - Deterrence

Lawrence Freedman, Deterrence, May 2004.

Examination of deterrence must defer to the master. Lawrence Freedman writes with an eloquence that can make even dense topics like deterrence accessible to a broad audience. This classic is the best place to start for the new reader in this space.


Major Power Competition

Cover - A Savage War-A Military History of the Civil War


Williamson Murray and Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh, A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War, 2016.

The study of the American Civil War remains of relevance to the military practitioner as new ways of waging war emerged from the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution. This book profiles key leaders within the conflict in the context of their leadership, judgement and roles affecting the conduct of hostilities. 

Cover - Command of the Sea-The History and Strategy of Maritime Empires

Clark Reynolds, Command of the Sea: The History and Strategy of Maritime Empires, 1974.

With the clear return of a period of major power competition, revisiting lessons pertaining to historical lessons help inform the military practitioner that what seems new may, in fact, have deep historical roots.

Cover - The Wolf-How one German Raider Terrorised Australia and the Southern Oceans in the First World War

Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen, The Wolf: How one German Raider Terrorised Australia and the Southern Oceans in the First World War, Jul 2010.

The story of the commerce raider, The Wolf, is a useful reminder of historical means used to impose costs upon Australia’s war-making capability. In a globalised world, the story of The Wolf is a pertinent reminder of the breadth of challenges Australia may face in a major power conflict. 


Cover - The Spymasters-How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future

Chris Whipple, The Spymasters: How the CIA Directors Shape History and the Future, Sep 2020.

The Spymasters recounts seven decades of CIA activity and elicits predictions about the issues – and threats – that will engage the attention of future operatives and analysts. This is a timely, essential, and important contribution to understanding current events.

Information Warfare and Cyber

Cover - Active Measures-The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare

Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare, Apr 2020.

Thomas Rid brings a balanced review of the history of disinformation and political warfare to counter the breathless narrative of this “new” threat to Western democracies. A superb read.

Irregular Warfare and Terrorism

Cover - The Islamic State in Khorasan: Afghanistan, Pakistan and the New Central Asian Jihad

Antonio Giustozzi, The Islamic State in Khorasan: Afghanistan, Pakistan and the New Central Asian Jihad, Aug 2018.

Giustozzi expertly illuminates the rise of Islamic State in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2014, charting its funding and logistic support, the local political dynamics that empowered the movement and efforts to counter Islamic State Khorasan’s expansion. This study educates about the dynamics of ‘small wars’ for the military practitioner.  

Cover - The Burning Shores-Inside the Battle for the New Libya

Frederic Wehrey, The Burning Shores: Inside the Battle for the New Libya, Apr 2018.

Wehrey examines the path of the Libyan post-2011 civil war and its changing dynamics as Islamist influence began to compete with other Libyan factions. As the Libyan Civil War continues, this book illuminates the pathway that has led to the mired situation faced today.


Cover - The Creativity Code-How AI is Learning to Write, Paint and Think

Marcus du Sautoy, The Creativity Code: How AI is Learning to Write, Paint and Think, Feb 2019

This book examines the future potential for AI through the lens of what it means to be creative. It encourages the read to move beyond fear of AI through understanding its basis in mathematics, to think disruptively, and to see AI’s creative potential.

Cover - Power to the People-How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists

Audrey Kurth Cronin, Power to the People: How Open Technological Innovation is Arming Tomorrow’s Terrorists, Jan 2020.

Charting the availability and employment of dynamite and the AK-47, Cronin demonstrates how the ‘means’ to engage in political violence are a critical component. She then charts the trends of open technological innovation to demonstrate how a future convergence is likely to empower the future terrorist.



The views expressed in this article and subsequent comments are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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