The Future Faces of War
Population and National Security
by Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba
December 2010, 233pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36494-5
$54, £42, 47€, A74
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eBook Available: 978-0-313-36495-2
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The future of warfare is undeniably being shaped by demographic trends in fertility, mortality, and migration—for example the fact that, between now and 2050, 99 percent of the world’s expected population growth will take place in developing states. The defense community has begun to seriously consider the role of such trends in great-power politics, state stability and conflict, and humanitarian disasters and development.

This comprehensive and clear volume reveals the numerous ways demographic trends such as age structure, composition, and migration influence national security.

Population size, structure, distribution, and composition affect security in numerous ways, including national power, civil conflict, and development. The Future Faces of War: Population and National Security offers a comprehensive overview of how demographic trends can function as components, indicators, and multipliers of a state’s national security. Each chapter focuses on a particular demographic trend and describes its national security implications in three realms—military, regime, and structural.

Illustrating the mechanisms by which demography and security are connected, the book pushes the conversation forward by challenging common conceptions about demographic trends and national security. Key for policymakers and general readers alike, it goes on to suggest ways trends can provide opportunities for building partnerships and strengthening states. Focusing on multiple scenarios and the theoretical links between population and security, the insights gathered here will remain relevant for years to come.


  • A short glossary pointing out definitions of commonly used demographic terms
  • An index to direct readers to particular trends or implications, such as youth bulge or civil conflict
Jennifer Dabbs Sciubba, PhD, is a faculty fellow in the Department of International Studies at Rhodes College, Memphis, TN. Sciubba attended the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, and is a former demographics consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense. She received her degree from the University of Maryland.


"Sciubba has written an extremely important and timely book. With exhaustive research and the extensive use of real world examples, she explores the nexus linking demography – population growth rates, age structures, migration, and urbanization – to national security. More importantly, she breaks new ground in two areas: by showing us how the resiliency and capacity of individual states – their institutions, infrastructure, policy choices, and leadership – ultimately define the strategic implications of demographic trends; and by demonstrating a highly relevant analytic framework that employs external security, internal security, and structural security lenses to bring demographic issues into clearer focus. A must read for anyone attempting to better understand the future global security environment." —Ken Knight, Former U.S. National Intelligence Officer for Warning

"Jennifer Sciubba has written an absolutely indispensable work that should be on every policy-maker’s or scholar’s must read list. One does not need to believe that 'demography is destiny' to know that in the world we are entering demographic trends will have enormous effects on the nature of conflict, the locations where it is likely to erupt and the role US allies may or may not be able to play in dealing with those conflicts. Sciubba’s book ranges like no other across the entire gamut of demographic trends with potential to affect international security – youth bulges in the developing world, rapidly graying populations among American allies, the role of demographic transitions in rising powers like China, as well as the role of migration, refugee flows and urbanization. In a world where Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has identified failed or failing states as one of the key future security challenges understanding demographics will be crucial and Sciubba’s book provides a key to understanding the interactions among all these trends. One of the book’s special virtues is that the author is at home in both the relevant demographic and international relations literature and manages to synthesize the two streams of material in an easily accessible form. During my tenure as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from 2005-2009 I insisted that my policy and war planning experts pay attention to demographic trends. I only wish that Sciubba’s book had been available to us, it would have filled a huge intellectual void in defense planning."—Eric S. Edelman, Distinguished Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Visiting Scholar at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

"Sciubba’s book reflects her experience in both the scholarly and practitioner worlds and she makes key contributions to both the emerging demography and security research field and to the practical security policy world. Sciubba’s work provides a needed foundation for connecting traditional state security concerns with underlying human security and development priorities. It deepens our understanding of how neglect of the latter can contribute directly to problems in the former." —Geoffrey D. Dabelko, Director, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson Center

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