Military Power Reimagined: The Rise and Future of Shaping

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 7-1-2021

Publication Title

Joint Force Quarterly

Document Type



The belief that the U.S. military finds itself in a “complex environment”—one in which conventional war is rare, but Great Power competition has returned, coupled with the persistent threat of violent nonstate actors—is so commonplace that it can now be considered a truism. The United States, China, and Russia are engaged in a security competition below the threshold of open violence, yet scholars and practitioners struggle to articulate how these states’ militaries attempt to achieve their goals through ways other than warfighting or coercion. This article better conceptualizes a type of military operation that is often misunderstood and understudied and that has the potential to become one of the most frequent tools of interstate competition in the coming decades.

First Page


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