Peter Warren Singer is Strategist at New America, a Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, and Principal at Useful Fiction LLC. Described in the Wall Street Journal as “the premier futurist in the national- security environment,” he has been named by the Smithsonian as one of the nation’s 100 leading innovators, by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues, by Foreign Policy to their Top 100 Global Thinkers List, and as an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. No author, living or dead, has more books on the professional US military readings lists. His non-fiction books include Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Children at War, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century; Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know and most recently LikeWar, which explores how social media has changed war and politics. It was named an Amazon and Foreign Affairs book of the year and reviewed by Booklist as “LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.” He is also the co-author of a new type of novel, using the format of a technothriller to communicate nonfiction research. Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War was both a top summer read and led to briefings everywhere from the White House to the Pentagon. His latest is Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. It has been described by the creator of Lost and Watchmen as “A visionary new form of storytelling—a rollercoaster ride of science fiction blended with science fact,” and by the head of Army Cyber Command as “I loved Burn-In so much that I’ve already read it twice.”
Singer has served as a consultant for the US Military, Intelligence Community, and FBI. He was coordinator of the Obama campaign’s defense policy task force, named to the US Military’s Transformation Advisory Group, NATO’s Innovation Advisory Board (for unmanned maritime systems), the NSA’s Advisory Board, and is an Associate with the US Air Force’s China Aerospace Studies Institute. In addition to his work on conflict issues, Singer was a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy, and an advisor to IDS and Zignal. In the entertainment sector, he has advised a range of programs, including for Warner Brothers, Dreamworks, Universal, HBO, Discovery, History Channel, and the video game series Call of Duty, the best-selling entertainment project in history. He has received awards/ support from the Tribeca Film Institute, Sloan Filmmakers Fund, Film Independent, and FAST Track at the L.A. Film Festival.
His first book Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry pioneered the study of the new industry of private companies providing military services for hire, an issue that soon became important with the use and abuse of these companies in Iraq. It was named best book of the year by the American Political Science Association, among the top five international affairs books of the year by the Gelber Prize, and a “top ten summer read” by Businessweek. Singer advised the Defense Department, CIA, and the European Union on the issue and helped bring to light the role of private contractors in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal and the Halliburton controversies in Iraq.
Children at War was the first to comprehensively explore the tragic rise of child soldier groups and was recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book of the Year Award. Singer served as a consultant on the issue to the Marine Corps, and the recommendations in his book resulted in changes in the UN peacekeeping training program. An accompanying History Channel documentary, “Child Warriors,” won a CINE Golden Eagle Award for excellence in the production of film and television.
Wired for War examined the implications of robotics and other new technologies for war, politics, ethics, and law in the 21st century. Described as “awesome” by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show, Wired for War made the NY Times non-fiction bestseller list in its first week of release. It was named a non-fiction Book of the Year by The Financial Times and featured at venues as diverse as all three US military academies, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas, TED, and the royal court of the UAE. The book was made an official reading of the US Air Force, US Navy, US Army, and Royal Australian Navy.
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know explores the key questions we all face in the cyber age (how it all works, why it all matters, and what we can do?). It was described by the Chairman of Google as “an essential read” and by the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO as “the most approachable and readable book ever written on the cyber world.” The book has been added to the US Navy and US Army professional reading lists and featured at venues like the Microsoft CEO Summit and South by Southwest festival.
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War (June 2015) is Singer’s debut novel. It melds nonfiction style research on emerging trends and technology with a fictional exploration of what the future of war at sea, on land, in the air, space, and cyberspace will be like in the future. Described as “a modern-day successor to tomes such as The Hunt For Red October from the late Tom Clancy.” (USA Today) and “A Wild Ride” (The Economist), it went through 6 print runs in its first 6 weeks of release. Its new model of “useful fiction” has been endorsed by a unique group that ranges from the head of the US Navy to the writer of HBO Game of Thrones and the producer of Hunger Games.
LikeWar (Oct 2018), which explores how social media has changed war and politics, and war and politics has changed social media. It was named an Amazon book of the year, a NY Times “new and notable,” and reviewed by Booklist as “LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.”
His latest book is Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. Out on May 26, 2020, it has been described by the creator of Lost and Watchmen as “A visionary new form of storytelling—a rollercoaster ride of science fiction blended with science fact.” and by the head of Army Cyber Command as “I loved Burn-In so much that I’ve already read it twice.”
Prior to his current position, Dr. Singer was the founding Director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution. He was the youngest scholar named Senior Fellow in Brookings’ 101-year history. Prior to that, he was the founding Director of the Project on US Policy Towards the Islamic World, where he was the organizer of the US-Islamic World Forum, a global leaders conference. He has also worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a contributing editor at Popular Science, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. Singer received his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard and a BA from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.