Prize Winner, International Navies Essay Contest
The 20th century has been an era of continentalist powers—Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Communist China—but the conditions associated with maritime dominance are again in place, and may signal the beginning of a new Columbian era.
It has become conventional wisdom that the events of 1989-1991 marked the end of one strategic era and the start of another, as yet ill defined. That this should coincide with the end of a century, let alone a millennium, has led to much speculation on the nature of the future strategic environment. In terms of warfare practice, we are fascinated by the possibilities of information dominance and digitization. At the operational and military strategic levels, we struggle to develop means to conduct asymmetric engagement and to meet the challenge of proliferation, while at the grand strategic level, we try to negotiate the novel theories of the End of History and the Clash of Civilizations, where "the Velvet Curtain of culture has replaced the Iron Curtain of ideology as the most significant dividing line in Europe."