On March 12, 2034, US Navy Commodore Sarah Hunt is on the bridge of her flagship, the guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, conducting a routine freedom of navigation patrol in the South China Sea when her ship detects an unflagged trawler in clear distress, smoke billowing from its bridge. On that same day, US Marine aviator Major Chris “Wedge” Mitchell is flying an F35E Lightning over the Strait of Hormuz, testing a new stealth technology as he flirts with Iranian airspace. By the end of that day, Wedge will be an Iranian prisoner, and Sarah Hunt’s destroyer will lie at the bottom of the sea, sunk by the Chinese Navy. Iran and China have clearly coordinated their moves, which involve the use of powerful new forms of cyber weaponry that render US ships and planes defenseless. In a single day, America’s faith in its military’s strategic pre-eminence is in tatters. A new, terrifying era is at hand.
2034: A Novel of the Next World War asks the reader evocative questions about how America will fight in the future. What happens in the book is not beyond the realm of possibility. Pearl Harbor, 9/11 and even COVID one could say were failures of imagination – a failure to imagine what could happen and therefore be unprepared for it. Today, imagination is a national security imperative. As such, Ackerman and Stavridis have fired a warning shot for what could happen if current and future administrations do not anticipate future challenges.
Elliot Ackerman is the author of several novels, most recently Red Dress In Black and White. His books have been nominated for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal in both fiction and non-fiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize among others. His writing often appears in Esquire, The New Yorker, and The New York Times where he is a contributing opinion writer, and his stories have been included in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Travel Writing. He is both a former White House Fellow and Marine, and served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He divides his time between New York City and Washington, D.C. Learn more about Elliot Ackerman and his work on his website here and follow him on Twitter here.
Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) spent more than thirty years in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of four-star Admiral. He was the Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and previously commanded U.S. Southern Command, overseeing military operations in Latin America. At sea, he commanded a Navy destroyer, a destroyer squadron, and an aircraft carrier battle group in combat. He holds a Ph.D. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he recently served five years as dean. He has published nine previous books and hundreds of articles and is a frequent national and international television commentator as well as a Bloomberg Opinion weekly columnist, and a monthly columnist for TIME Magazine. He is chairman of the Board of Counselors of McLarty Global Associates, an international consulting firm, and an operating executive of the Carlyle Group, an international private equity firm.
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