The Modern Character of War: A Reexamination of the Law of Armed Conflict

  • David Micah Stark


Italian Air Marshall Giulio Douhet once prophesied that “Victory smiles on those who anticipate the changes in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur.” Although the quote, forever burned in my mind from freshman year at the Academy, rings true for strategists, the laws which govern warfare respond painfully slowly to evolutions in its character. Therefore, as new domains of conflict, such as space and cyberspace, are opened and warfare shifts increasingly towards these non-kinetic methods of exercising power between rival actors, the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) ought to be revised to encompass these threats. This paper will advocate for a reexamination of the terminology used in the statutory implementation of LOAC as well as compare how these new adaptations will fit within Just War Theory. Furthermore, we see an increase in cybercrime as acted by states yet do little about it statutorily. Ultimately, I conclude that as state-sponsored kinetic warfare becomes less and less common, LOAC ought to include focus on non-state and non-kinetic policies, such as cyber warfare or civilian outsourcing, enabling state sponsored kinetic or non-kinetic retaliation and deterrence, while maintaining the spirit of the law in pursuit of more stable peace on the global order.

Keywords: LOAC, cyber warfare

Download PDF
View PDF



Published on
26 Apr 2023
This article has not been peer reviewed.