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Our Mantra

We contend here at New Wars that modern computer technology added to guided missiles has doomed the heavily armored, over-priced weaponry of the Cold War/WW 2 eras. With this in mind we could safely cut such complicated arms as the manned fighter, the heavy tank, and large surface warships. Their replacements would be unmanned aerial vehicles, light armored cars, plus submarines and light patrol ships.

The next major conflict in the air will not be a battle between jets, but of guided missiles and UAVs. The few costly stealth planes which might contend with the new generation of precision SAMs could conceivably weather such an aerial storm, yet be so few in numbers due to cost that their effectiveness will be minimal at best. UAVs which are increasing steadily in performance will perform all duties of their manned versions, from reconnaissance, to attack, and air superiority.

On land the anti-tank missile will rule all, and strategies will be designed around their capabilities. Modern battle tanks have become so huge, even if they could survive the new weapons, their defensive armament will be so great as to negate their mobility and effectiveness on the battlefield. Armored cars use much of the same defensive technology (slat armor, reactive armor) to defeat missile weapons, while still being mobile and affordable. Some also mount guns similar to the heavy tanks, with the ability to fire armor piercing shells.

At sea, the supersonic cruise missile will dictate the design and deployment of navies, and nothing is invulnerable to it save the stealthy submarine. Over the last century the U-boat has evolved to become cruiser, destroyer, and thanks to missiles, an aircraft carrier. There will no need for huge and overly-expensive surface warships which are bought in ever shrinking numbers (though patrol boats and small attack craft will still be vital), because such last-century warships only duplicate the submarine’s new missions, and not nearly as effectively.

Bottom line: The insurgency wars in the Third World will not only teach us how to defeat irregular forces, but thanks to the power of precision weapons, the same tactics can wean us off Industrial Age weaponry like manned planes, tanks, and large surface ships. Such weapons as these we can no longer afford and hardly even need.

About Mike Burleson

My full name is Michael Dewayne Burleson and I was born in 1965 just as the world was being turned upside down in Vietnam and on college campuses throughout the US. I was born in “Carter Country” in Americus, Georgia, raised in South Carolina and recently lived in downtown Charleston where I consider myself the “Holy City’s” longest residing tourist. I have worked for the Charleston Public Library and am currently taking time off to write and care for my aged parents in historic Branchville SC, home of the world’s oldest railroad junction. Last year I completed my first book also titled “New Wars-The Transformation of Armies, Navies, and Airpower in the Digital Age“, available for purchase from here. As a freelancer, my articles on military issues have appeared in The American Thinker, The Washington Post, Sea Classics Magazine, via,, and

75 Comments leave one →
  1. Leon permalink
    June 3, 2016 11:07 am

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  2. June 24, 2015 4:54 am

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  10. September 6, 2010 10:46 am


    Can’t find an e-mail address for you–you might like to look at this post on the Canadian Navy:

    “Joint Sometime Ship (JSS): At least five years late”


  11. Mike Burleson permalink*
    August 24, 2010 5:28 am

    Thanks Wendy! Interesting.

  12. August 23, 2010 9:50 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I am organising Underwater Battlespace APAC. There are some interesting articles available for download here

    Please feel free to use the content if you find them useful.

    Thank you.

  13. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 28, 2010 4:54 pm

    Anthony, thanks for your thoughts! I haven’t come to destroy the big decks, to coin a phrase, but to see it in its next evolution. The USS Gerald R Ford is definitely not it. If possible, we should reduce our numbers of these very costly and crew intensive weapons, which will be prime targets in the next war, and start depending on more affordable and newer technology. I still see a place for the large carrier, but increasingly in a supportive role in the fleet, rather than all our strategies, building plans, and funds going toward last century platforms.

    I think their ongoing usefulness in small wars has deceived us into thinking we can’t live without them, but with new ideas-UAVs, missile combatants and subs, plus small carriers, we will be just fine, plus with a bigger and better fleet, while saving our shipyards from extinction.

  14. Anthony Knific permalink
    July 28, 2010 4:13 pm


    I’ve been reading your blog for about 2 months, and have to admit I am now a convert regarding large deck carriers being unaffordable for the USN. Smaller is definitley the way to go, with heavier reliance on UAVs for recon and strike missions. We have the technology – why not leverage it to get more hulls in the water! I also agree that the SSGN’s offer interesting possibilities and hope that maybe a few more Ohios will be converted rather than scrapped, especially with more nuclear arenal cuts on the horizon. As far as smaller surface warships go, I cannot help but think that our adversaries really learned the lesson from the 2002 wargames the US conducted where General Van Riper used swarms of small craft to defeat the US Blue team. I suspect that’s where the Chinese got the bright idea – or at least confirmation – for swarms their Type 22 FAC against a USN battlegroup.

    I have so many thoughts… but there is not enough space. Thanks for writing and making me think!


  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    July 22, 2010 3:56 pm

    David, feel free to use anything on the blog, with accreditation and a link back, please. And thanks for your interest in our work!

  16. July 22, 2010 2:06 pm

    Dear Mike,

    I would like to use some of your scholarship on my site,, but find no email to contact you. I know, folks usually just copy and paste and call it good. Call me old fashioned.

    I do not wish to pollute the signal to noise ratio with is post, so feel free to remove it.


  17. Redactor permalink
    July 20, 2010 9:31 am

    As a Navy novice, I’d be interested in hearing reaction (rolling-on-the-floor laughter?) to this article in the latest Joint Force Quarterly:

  18. June 28, 2010 7:20 pm


    Me make a Boo Boo!

    While I still enjoyed it, copying, pasting and editing it to send to the 400 some I share things with, I found it was not as well written. Something my very fast read did not catch.

    SO, I apologize for my disagreement with
    Campbell’s comments.


  19. June 28, 2010 3:18 pm



    To me, it WAS Great Fiction!

    And I while I sure wish I would live long enough to see if it comes about, unless some medical miracle happens, I will be luck to see 2020.

    As a 75 year old who has been reading more than most for 70 years and who reads at nearly double the speed of 1950 colleage grads, I think I know a bit about what is interesting reading. And I disagree it was poorly written.

  20. Mike Burleson permalink*
    June 28, 2010 9:42 am

    Thanks Campbell! And as you predicted, airships are in widespread use.

  21. June 28, 2010 9:11 am

    Hello Mike

    I’d wanted to email you, as others have wanted; but, could not discover an address. I expect that you’re preserving your privacy, and would not want to interfere.

    Please read at:

    a FICTION, (and poorly written at that!) but hopefully entertaining; and perhaps revealing;
    in light of your “Navy in 2050” upcoming blog entry….

  22. June 16, 2010 4:00 am

    Thanks Ben for your interest! Thats what we are all about, getting militaries to rethink how they design forces, to contend with light and lethal threats in a new century.

  23. Ben Turley permalink
    June 15, 2010 8:12 pm

    hi mike id just like to say that this blog is great and although im a post grad student in NZ meaning my study focus tends to look at things closer to home i have found your ideas very interesting. Theyeven got me thinking differently about the problems we have with our navy down here.


  24. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 22, 2010 4:53 am

    Thank you Neil !

  25. Neil C. Reinhardt permalink
    May 21, 2010 9:46 pm

    Hi Mike,

    Just found your blog. GREAT STUFF! I will both be back and spreading the word about it.


    As far as POOR Bob Pyrodex Wilson, his idiot comments prove he is eiher totally ignorant of the facts or is just too stupid to be able to comprehend them. Just another typical Clueless Clod of the Loony Left!

    So says me, a 75 yr. old Agnostic Atheist Activist and Vet. (101st Airborne)

  26. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 18, 2010 6:33 pm

    Sorry I wasn’t much help Joe! Not all that tech savvy myself!

  27. Joe permalink
    May 18, 2010 2:56 pm

    Thanks, Mike, but that isn’t what I was asking. By visiting this site, other interested readers will find a (possibly) comprehensive listing of the all tags that should be permissible on “Vigilance” within wordpress.

    It seems wordpress is coy about giving this listing itself – for some reason. This link comes from a WP user and his experiences over time.

  28. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 18, 2010 3:22 am

    Joe here is a link showing you how to embed another link in WordPress comments, which is what most of the guys use. It’s not difficult:

  29. Joe permalink
    May 18, 2010 12:21 am


    When we read beneath the comment boxes that “You can use basic XHTML in your comments”, which tags does that include? Is there a master wordpress listing of what “basic” means?

  30. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 2, 2010 2:07 pm

    An accidental omission which I’ll rectify. Thanks Joe!

  31. Joe permalink
    May 2, 2010 1:42 pm


    Is the “search” feature a permanent casualty of the stylistic changes you’ve made this year? I might be missing it but do not see it on any page.

  32. April 29, 2010 4:09 pm

    Thank you Mr. Mike Burleson,

    I enjoy this forum and find it interesting.
    As one of my hobbies, I like to study history.
    What got me started on Military history and
    capabilities, Was my Granddads adventures,
    or near miss adventures in a bottom ball turret
    on a B-17. during WW2. After reading his journals
    I started building model airplanes and got really
    interested in air craft engineering.
    great site

  33. February 24, 2010 11:16 am


    My name is Luke Larson, I’ve written a historical fiction novel based off my two tours to Ar Ramadi, Iraq as a Marine Corps Infantry Officer during the time of, “The Awakening.” I’m writing because I would be greatly honored if you would review the book on your blog. Check out other reviews on AMAZON.

    To be specific I could either send you a selected section of chapters in a PDF, or if you send me a physical address I could send you an advance copy of the book.

    I would greatly appreciate an honest, “No bullshit” review on the strengths and shortcomings of the book and its relevance to our current COIN conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks you for your time and opinion.

    Semper Fidelis,


    FACEBOOK- Luke S Larson


    SENATOR’S SON: An Iraq War Novel (K.E., Inc; Published: February 2010)

    “The Senate would vote in a few days on a joint resolution that could launch the country into a major military action that would either secure peace or be the igniter of the next world war. The House was overwhelmingly in support of the President’s joint resolution and the Senate favored it but would need the only undecided senator’s vote to secure the majority needed.”

    Senator’s Son begins fifty years in the future with an aging senator casting the deciding vote on whether to send the nation to war. The senator flashes back to his Iraq combat experience and labors in weighing the country’s interests against his personal convictions. Experience battle with the young lieutenants and NCO’s as they struggle to transition from operating conventionally, in a war with no unified strategy, to operating unconventionally using guerrilla tactics to defeat the insurgency.

    Three warriors plunged into the urban chaos of the Iraq war. They went in naïve not knowing what awaited them. John was a legacy. Bama wanted to prove he could out do his doctor father. Cash wanted a way out of the blue-collar world. Nothing could have prepared them for the moral dilemmas they would face. Baptized by fire, the three men are born again with new identities. They soon realize to win a counterinsurgency they must not focus on the enemy, but focus on the people.

    “Read Luke Larson now because you’re going to be reading his stuff a lot in the future. Senator’s Son is just the start of a noteworthy career, or I’ll eat my camo jacket. When you finish Senator’s Son, you will feel like you’ve lived several lifetimes as a Marine lieutenant in the Snake Pit and on Route Michigan–and you’ll have an understanding of the Iraq war that can only come from standing inside USMC boots on Sunni insurgency ground.” — Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire, Tides of War and the Legend of Bagger Vance

    “Luke Larson has provided an outstanding–if thinly-veiled–personal account of the decisive event in the successful turnaround for U.S. forces in Iraq, the Sunni Awakening. He also provides an unflinching and unromanticized account of the costs paid by the junior Marines and Soldiers who made that turnaround possible–often only by their sheer force of will.” — Major Adam Ake, Iraq War veteran, former Rhodes Scholar

    “Reading this book is like walking the streets of Iraq or Afghanistan in real time. When you are there, you will have been there.” — Major General Ron Beckwith, USMC Ret

    “Larson, a Marine combat veteran, vividly captures the challenges facing our men and women in uniform today. Although fiction, it is very evident the story is full of truths learned the hard way through real life tragic sacrifices. The lessons are surprising paradoxes: The more you protect yourself with firepower the less secure you become. If you kill an insurgent or create collateral damage the action could end up creating 50 more insurgents. After reading Senator’s Son I could not shake the thought that sometimes not shooting is the best action.” — Rick Smith, CEO and founder TASER International

    “Larson’s novel rings with the gritty street cred of a man whose scenes and prose have been grounded by the investment of his own blood and sweat. The first authentic work of fiction to emerge from the cauldron of the Iraq war.”— David J. Danelo, author of Blood Stripes and The Border

    “This novel hits you right in the face with the new realities of counterinsurgency. Everyone who reads it will have a new appreciation of the challenges our men and women face in Iraq and Afghanistan.”— Alex W. “Pete” Hart former CEO MasterCard

    “A terrific case study for deploying troops. Classic case of a novel being a truer account of war than non-fiction—no punches are pulled.”— Owen West, former Marine Recon Officer and author of Sharkman Six and Four Days to Veracruz

  34. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 13, 2010 7:14 pm

    Tangosix, I will get back to you on that. I have some books on the subject which I have misplaced somewhere.

  35. February 13, 2010 4:10 pm

    Hello Mike Burleson,

    I have just been reading the history of Branchville.
    How old exactly is that railway junction,it wasn’t clear in the article I read?
    I know a little railway station built in 1833 at a junction on a railway line built in 1830!


  36. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 29, 2010 3:32 pm

    Thanks Matt! Your feedback is much appreciated. It does take diverse views to form an opinion and its OK to disagree sometimes.

  37. Matt DeZurik permalink
    January 29, 2010 2:26 pm

    While I am an not much more then an observer of defense technology, military evolution and defense policy/politics I am very impressed with your site as well as your methods, research and conclusions. Even when I don’t share your conclusions I am impressed by the scope and dept of the research and resources you provide.

    Well Done.

  38. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 16, 2010 9:37 pm

    Wow! Thats how to put on a show, at least on a naval perspective. Great lineup!

  39. January 16, 2010 7:59 pm

    Drop me an email. Bostonmaggie at yahoo dot com

    We lost the opportunity with my fav flag, but they are trying to scare us up something else.

    BTW, tomorrow’s Midrats blogtalkradio has Jerry Hendrix, Bryan McGrath & Galrahn of Information Dissemination, CDR Salamander, and Eagle1 of Eagle Speak…who needs a Flag?

  40. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 16, 2010 3:59 pm

    Sounds interesting. Tell me more?

  41. January 16, 2010 11:38 am

    Are you interested in a bloggers roundtable with my favorite Flag?

  42. Mike Burleson permalink*
    January 12, 2010 2:31 pm

    Bob I disagree that America hasn’t learned how to fight insurgents. I think we have been quite successful fighting them in more wars than the few losses we have, which always make better headlines. The problem is, after the lessons are well learned, the generals say “now we can get back to real war fighting” and dust off the old tactics learned in World War 2 and fighting the Germans. Then, when the next war comes and our enemy doesn’t fight fair like we plan for, its the same old grueling lessons we learn all over again, after much loss of life and treasure spent. It is a brutal cycle.

  43. Bob Pyrodex Wilson permalink
    January 12, 2010 2:19 pm

    It will be amusing when America’s enemies learn how to seize control of an armed drone and turn it on its former controllers. As for your statement that US forces will learn how to fight insurgents: they haven’t done so well in the past 50-odd years; I see no reason to believe that’s going to change. The USA is real good at dropping bombs on buildings and killing enemies who stand around in uniform waiting to be shot. But as soon as the enemy gets sneaky, US forces are screwed. Iraq and Afghanistan should have taught you that. Then again, US forces have never been too good at learning from experience. Here’s to another generation of American youth sent to die so American corporations can make a profit.

  44. December 1, 2009 9:37 am

    Dear Sir,

    My apologies for using this Comments function for this purpose, but I couldn’t find an e-mail address on the blog. Could you please drop me a message at n [dot] ottens [at] gmail [dot] com? I would like to ask you something in relation to your blog.

    Thank you!

    –Nick Ottens

  45. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 20, 2009 5:10 am

    Yeah, I thought I saw those figures there too. Good luck!

  46. Joe permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:20 pm


    When you said I.D., I slapped my forehead and found what I was looking for. Not meaning to advertise for the competition, but the link is here.

    You have posted on that same general topic more than once, hence how it seemed like I’d read it here.

  47. Mike Burleson permalink*
    November 19, 2009 9:53 pm

    “You had listed the refit dates for all of the Nimitz carriers ”

    Joe, are you sure that wasn’t the Information Dissemination blog? But I will check for you, no problem!

  48. Joe permalink
    November 19, 2009 7:11 pm


    I’m looking for a posting that is seemingly evading me. You had listed the refit dates for all of the Nimitz carriers over the next X number of years. I thought that was a late Sept/early Oct posting but I cannot find it to save my life.

    If you know where I should look, feel free to post that here or email me – whichever is more convenient for you.

  49. G-man permalink
    October 29, 2009 8:07 am

    Give me a shout via email. I’m in Charleston as well.

  50. October 22, 2009 11:53 am

    Mike – I don’t know any other way to contact you…but would you email me? I’m the USNI blog moderator – Mary

  51. Mike Burleson permalink*
    October 19, 2009 11:15 am

    Again, my regrets on the article, but I won’t be accused of slandering the Marines. The aircraft carriers are free fodder here but I won’t touch the Corps, even inadvertently.

  52. Jerry Hendrix permalink
    October 19, 2009 9:22 am

    Concur with Ryan. Even though I disagreed with the post, it is part of a necessary discussion we need to have within the naval services in order to recalibrate ourselves for the 21st century. There were tidbits in the messages that I had hoped to mine for my next article and I regret that the post has been removed.

  53. Mike Burleson permalink*
    October 19, 2009 8:38 am

    You may be right, Ryan, but rather than be seen as belittling the Marine mission, and I can see where some would think that, I chose to drop it. I’m not a politician, I don’t make policy, I don’t even pay for this free blog! It wasn’t worth the trouble.

  54. Ryan permalink
    October 19, 2009 8:08 am

    Shouldn’t have deleted the Marine post. I disagree with your argument, but it was a conversation worth having. But saying something like that about the Marine Corps was sure to stir up a hornets nest…full of angry, armed, and well-trained jarhead hornets.

  55. Mike Burleson permalink*
    October 1, 2009 7:39 am

    Thank you! Unless you’d rather not say, what is your name? I was going to give you article credit but I couldn’t find it anywhere on your site.

  56. dalyhistory permalink
    October 1, 2009 7:07 am

    Hi Mike, very interesting website. I’ll be sure to check back regularly!

  57. NavHist permalink
    September 3, 2009 8:25 am

    Do you have an email where people can contact you directly?

  58. Mike Burleson permalink
    July 3, 2009 6:42 pm

    You’re welcome David! Thanks for stopping by!

  59. July 3, 2009 5:34 pm


    Thanks for linking my ASBN-carrier post on your very fine blog. I’m adding your blog to my blogroll and my must-read daily list. While my own blog is eclectic, I’m very interested in defense matters – by way of background, I’m both a mil-brat and a third-generation Bath Iron Works employee, so naval shipbuilding is in the blood. Thanks again.


  60. charbookguy permalink
    October 13, 2008 10:07 pm

    Any relation to Vantus (Papaw) Burleson of Bowman, SC?

  61. Mark B permalink
    October 13, 2008 4:47 pm

    hehe, another Burleson who openly displays their patriotism, pride and opinion when they feel reform is needed.

    My hat is off to you good sir.

    Sadly, I was sent to your op-ed piece/blog today (really haven’t read much of it yet) because I was in Charleston this past week.

  62. charbookguy permalink
    August 26, 2008 7:52 pm

    Thanks DesScorp, but as an American citizen I feel it my duty to support the candidate of my choice in the upcoming elections. Time prohibits the second blog, BELIEVE ME I TRIED!

  63. DesScorp permalink
    August 26, 2008 5:34 pm

    I enjoy the blog, but can I make a suggestion? Reserve it for military matters only, and do a separate blog for politics.

  64. charbookguy permalink
    July 15, 2008 9:30 am

    Thanks Andrew! I believe this is the era of the regional powers who can’t afford the expensive military establishments of the Great Powers and must choose carefully the type of weapons they buy. Rather than building armed forces which are similar to the US, but in miniature, they could easily create local superiority by taking advantage of the new precision weapons and buying basic platforms, like submarines, uavs, armored cars, to launch them. Such weapons like cruise missiles and smart bombs do not require an stealth jet or supercarrier to make them effective, they just need a ride to the target.

  65. AndrewD permalink
    July 15, 2008 12:11 am

    Hi Mike.

    I’m the author of the Australian paper you just wrote about. For the record, I hadn’t seen your blog before, but it’s no surprise that we came to the same conclusions. Defence budgets only stretch so far, and it’s a matter of picking the right technologies for the job. Keep up the good work.


  66. charbookguy permalink
    June 19, 2008 6:42 pm

    Certainly Jyoung! The info you asked for is on its way, and thanks for your interest.

  67. June 19, 2008 5:47 pm

    I’d like to add you to our blog media contact list and keep you updated on the research we do. If you’re interested, please email me your contact info. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  68. charbookguy permalink
    June 13, 2008 7:37 pm

    Thanks, John, for those kind words from a great writer himself!

  69. John Burtis permalink
    June 13, 2008 10:52 am


    Your site is one I visit every day for news on current topics in the defense industry and for the latest in today’s transitional sea systems in particular, especially given your views on the aircraft carrier vs. today’s supersonic cruise missile threats and the increasingly stealthy diesel submarines. Keep up the fine work. Oh, yes, I purchased your book today.


  70. charbookguy permalink
    May 29, 2008 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the link!

  71. leesea permalink
    May 29, 2008 7:33 am

    New role for former HSV-1X Joint Venture


  72. charbookguy permalink
    May 28, 2008 1:15 pm

    Thanks leesea! I know its an old picture but I always liked it. I’ll let you know.

  73. leesea permalink
    May 28, 2008 6:00 am

    Hey Mike I like the nice cat you have on your banner, BUT she is no longer in US service. I have several good shots of HSV WestPac Express which is under charter to MSC and has been serving the Marines for over 5 years now. Interested?


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