Peter Singer, one of Washington’s pre-eminent futurists, is walking the Pentagon halls with an ominous warning for America’s military leaders: World War III with China is coming.
In meeting after meeting with anyone who will listen, this modern-day soothsayer wearing a skinny tie says America’s most advanced fighter jets might be blown from the sky by their Chinese-made microchips and Chinese hackers easily could worm their way into the military’s secretive intelligence service, and the Chinese Army may one day occupy Hawaii.
The ideas might seem outlandish, but Pentagon officials are listening to the 40-year-old senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank.
In hours of briefings, Mr. Singer has outlined his grim vision for intelligence officials, Air Force officers and Navy commanders. What makes his scenarios more remarkable is that they are based on a work of fiction: Mr. Singer’s soon-to-be-released, 400-page techno thriller, “Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War.”
Pentagon officials typically don’t listen to the doom-and-gloom predictions of fiction writers. But Mr. Singer comes to the table with an unusual track record. He has written authoritative books on America’s reliance on private military contractors, cybersecurity and the Defense Department’s growing dependence on robots, drones and technology.
The Army, Navy and Air Force already have included two of his books on their official reading lists. And he often briefs military leaders on his research.
Here is a bio of Mr. Singer, who was the founding director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution (which Think Tank Watch calls a "Mini-CIA"). He was the youngest person named senior fellow in that think tanks 100 year history.
A copy of the book Ghost Fleet, co-written by August Cole, can be found here. Mr. Cole is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
Here is a Popular Science Q&A about Singer's new book and a possible future war with China. Here is what Brookings scholar Michael O'Hanlon, a friend and former colleague of Singer, says about the new book.
In related think tank/war news, Michele Flournoy and Richard Fontaine of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post entiteld "Go Big to Destroy the Islamic State."