IRPP Event

The future of national security in the world of the “n-block war”

In the late 1990s, the US Marine General Charles Krulak came up with the concept of the “Three Block War” to illustrate the complex spectrum of challenges likely to be faced by soldiers on the modern battlefield. The idea was that the future of warfighting would be in urban environments in failing states, where soldiers might be doing humanitarian assistance in one block, peacekeeping in another, and actual combat in another.

With the “Freedom Convoy” of truckers, followed quickly by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, we are witnessing the rise of what we can call the “n-block war,” a multi-dimensional combat environment that sees the collapse of the traditional distinctions between  soldier and civilian, state and nonstate actors, information operations and news reporting, mercenaries and insurgents, all of it thrown into, and mediated by, the constantly shifting and evolving real-time information environment.

This panel, moderated by Andrew Potter, looked at the future of national security in the world of the n-block war, it addressed questions such as: How should we prepare? What should we prioritize? With whom should we ally?


This talk is part of the IRPP’s 50th anniversary event series, What should be on Canada’s policy radar?  Held throughout the spring and fall of 2022, these panel discussions will help us to identify the challenges that our decision-makers will face in the coming years, and examine ways in which Canada can promptly address these issues. The events are offered free of charge and are open to anyone with an interest in the topic.



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Presenting sponsor

Date and time
September 13, 2022
5 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET
Online via Zoom Webinar
In person: Max Bell School of Public Policy, McGill University
Event Type
Online or In-Person
Registration is closed