Drones, hackers and mercenaries – The future of war | DW Documentary

Drones, hackers and mercenaries – The future of war | DW Documentary

A shadow war is a war that, officially, does not exist. As mercenaries, hackers and drones take over the role armies once played, shadow wars are on the rise.

States are evading their responsibilities and driving the privatization of violence. War in the grey-zone is a booming business: Mercenaries and digital weaponry regularly carry out attacks, while those giving orders remain in the shadows.

Despite its superior army, the U.S. exhausted its military resources in two seemingly endless wars. Now, the superpower is finally bringing its soldiers home. But while the U.S.’s high-tech army may have failed in Afghanistan, it continues to operate outside of official war zones. U.S. Special Forces conduct targeted killings, using drones, hacks and surveillance technologies. All of this is blurring the lines between war and peace.

The documentary also shows viewers how Russian mercenaries and hackers destabilized Ukraine. Indeed, the last decade has seen the rise of cyberspace armament. Hacking, sometimes subsidized by states, has grown into a thriving business. Digital mercenaries sell spy software to authoritarian regimes. Criminal hackers attack any target that can turn a profit for their clients.

But the classic mercenary business is also taking off, because states no longer want their official armies to go into battle. Former mercenary Sean McFate outlines how privatizing warfare creates an even greater demand for it. He warns that a world of mercenaries is a world dominated by war.

[This documentary was originally released in 2021]

#documentary #dwdocumentary


DW Documentary gives you knowledge beyond the headlines. Watch top documentaries from German broadcasters and international production companies. Meet intriguing people, travel to distant lands, get a look behind the complexities of daily life and build a deeper understanding of current affairs and global events. Subscribe and explore the world around you with DW Documentary.

Subscribe to:
⮞ DW Documentary (English): https://www.youtube.com/dwdocumentary
⮞ DW Documental (Spanish): https://www.youtube.com/dwdocumental
⮞ DW Documentary وثائقية دي دبليو (Arabic): https://www.youtube.com/dwdocarabia
⮞ DW Doku (German): https://www.youtube.com/dwdoku
⮞ DW Documentary हिन्दी (Hindi): https://www.youtube.com/dwdochindi

For more visit: http://www.dw.com/en/tv/docfilm/s-3610
Follow DW Documentary on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dwdocumentary/
Follow DW Documental on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dwdocumental

We kindly ask viewers to read and stick to the DW netiquette policy on our channel: https://p.dw.com/p/MF1G


  1. Kerry Marris on September 20, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    THAT just goes to show you,that humans are a flawed spieces, and we need to go extinct before killing the other species on mother earth. Profits over people, which should be, and will be nature over people.,..

  2. Joseph on September 20, 2022 at 8:51 pm

    ITS SORO!!!

  3. c v on September 20, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    Cybörgce n vvätchäir$. . ? lip kläuß schülzeh ^^

  4. JON Gergeceff on September 20, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    Scary stuff

  5. CshapedCouch withInternetAccess on September 20, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    the future of war is now!!!!

  6. david snedeker on September 20, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    This is bullshxt. The "tell" is at 12.38 and ff in the video, where if you listen carefully, the MATH equals 600 armed contractors, mostly body guards (ie 15% of 4000 are "trigger pullers") in other words 200 per 8 hour shift, spread between Iraq, Syria and Afgan (?). This is an example of a storyline encountering some MATH that does not fit the storyline. Very common for some documentary "journalists." Yeah, Blackwater is the devil’sown, BUT lying for your cause is dishonest. Shame on you DW

  7. Me Myself on September 20, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    Im i saposed to feel bad for these fools

  8. Tatiana Independent on September 20, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    It sounds ridiculous that Russian speaking warriors in Donbass were necessarily Russian mercenaries as most of Donbass citizens speak Russian, even Zelensky learnt to speak Ukrainian several months ago.

  9. Sab on September 20, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    Send BlackWater to get Putin and bring him to The Hague!

  10. Me Myself on September 20, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    Guys playng camando deserve what they get

  11. ThePaulHealy on September 20, 2022 at 9:00 pm

    just a shadow of the truth

  12. AlexanderB on September 20, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    The overweight former NSA employee is just too funny

  13. Maverick Milo on September 20, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Bitcoin is a trillion-dollar asset. The first and largest cryptocurrency set a new high of $56,739.48 Friday morning, the magic number at which the market value of all bitcoins in circulation is worth $1 trillion.I did some research and I have been benefiting from investing with William by gaining 8X my funds invested…

  14. Mike Varga on September 20, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    Dw docs are great

  15. Srijan Bhattarai on September 20, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    DW is way better than any American news channels.

  16. Overnity on September 20, 2022 at 9:06 pm

    another great job by DW…

  17. sinsick1196 on September 20, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    Well what would you do if your country shit on you publicly and tarnished you and your name and made it so you can’t work I. Your own home

  18. Viva 1 on September 20, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    14:55 . We all knew he’s gay..I hope he came out. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a persons sexuality. I know it was being judged back in the day. It’s ok being gay brothers and sisters .

  19. Francis Marcoux on September 20, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    What ‘s to stop them from acting in europe or north American countries

  20. Joe Ruiz on September 20, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Too bad Snowden chose to go down the path he chose. He and other genius or high intellect American hackers could help protect & prevent foreign cyber invaders.

  21. Mike Oak on September 20, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Isn’t our world already dominated by war? Who is paying the american army to do its bidding? Who is profiting? the government?

  22. KB GIREL on September 20, 2022 at 9:13 pm

    One sided bluff

  23. Wonder Nine on September 20, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    I hope today’s situation with Russia and China shows how Mr. McFate and his “last war” weapons show that you must prepare for the worst case, and that he is saying that we need to prepare for the “last war” against low tech insurgencies.

  24. LAST TEMPLARS on September 20, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    Mr. Edward Snowden ,Is that you ?, you prankster!!🤪😜😝🍺🍺🥳

  25. Motorbronx on September 20, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Again some doom and gloom that fits the politically correct indoctrination of gullible viewers. Don’t believe anything on DW as they are activists. You don’t want hacking? Use anything but Windows.

  26. Janis Skerstins on September 20, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    This I can say shows small target of hackers in war I was played game Red Alert Renegade on EA shop Origin I was finished game it’s 3D game you was been able to hack enemy army high level houses like barracks, tank house etc. that was been minimum damage I was been able to done in game all hacked army houses never was been able to use like to made tanks mirage like and so on. For example in England is disallowed to use drons at all if you try you will not be able to use it again on UK that is for human security against drons so if you live in England you won’t be able to be see by spy drone eye.

  27. Alex Boros on September 20, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    That’s what I said. I had a dream over & over & over again! Is that called a vision? I’m FIGHTING MANDATORY LAWS. Sounds like talking to robots to me.
    Terminator meets Elysium.
    Pack of spastics making garbage & collecting trinkets running the WORLD. In2 the ground, it stinks.

  28. Citadel Chase on September 20, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    24:46 🇺🇸Broken Arrow 🇺🇸

  29. meanbeats on September 20, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    So this is what die hard 4 a movie from 2006 was right about

  30. Sab on September 20, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Drones are helping Ukraine win the war, especially the ones that drop munitions they are lethal.. Turkish drones are the best.(Bakyata) or something to that effect. Also Javelins and Himars are making a huge difference in The War. If Putin doesn’t accept defeat and instead uses Nuclear Weapons then he is a coward that can’t act like an adult and accept the fact that he made a mistake.

  31. Me Myself on September 20, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    Yeah chinna live mexico becouse of its drugs sure

  32. Trekker on September 20, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    In my book, these hackers, are pieces of excrement, and should be hunted down and terminated like the vermin that they are! No mercy to these pieces off filth!

  33. Bran on September 20, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Phenomenal documentary, well done !

  34. Laylow Longer on September 20, 2022 at 9:27 pm

    Evil truly has no bounds! This "Have Gun, Will Travel" is a very serious issue.

  35. YVO on September 20, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    This Video’s hacker’s Naive  YouTube’n…! Hackers already have a common hacker narrative…!  YouTube’n…! Hack already common hacker fare beware…! PLANET WIDE Common everyday everywhere from profiteers to malicious  and seditious Canadian feminists who build and blackball any  who’ll stand up in what was our supreme court rooms but are now no more than agenda purchased theaters to your neighbors who are racially motivated and that of on mass limiting of our common Canadian families vs the small & remote one industry towns…. Ruthlessly demanding political unfair  advantages which highly prejudice our daily lives and communication like human toys for entertaining the sickly minded neighbors whims….  Never again find enough quarter to call home ever again. Gratefully YVO

  36. Zach Bartell on September 20, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    this is really crazy though, huh, guys? RIGHT, guys? what are we gonna do about it? guys? GUYS.

  37. Deniselee28 on September 20, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    Politicians, gotta love them. Awards Hollywood ?

  38. USA Latino on September 20, 2022 at 9:31 pm

    Hey, remember the Somali pirates? These very primitive agents caused major headaches for the world. Well now, internation , highly educated crooks, could threaten shipping via " hacking" shipping and commerce… cripple economies…. the world is globalized big time! What are we going to do when world shipping is crippled all at once?
    Armageddon, ?

  39. chris rodriguez on September 20, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    Automated weapon systems robotics soldiers drones icbms pmcs motionaries Hit Men gangsters assassins partisans hackers AI ai-controlled heavy vehicles are going to be the future of warfare as well as cyber viruses.

  40. Citadel Chase on September 20, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    12:33 Hindsight 20/20 I think we should have had a draft.

  41. Citadel Chase on September 20, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    06:54 Robert Lee lol fighting on the side of America.

  42. M W on September 20, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    The most insane parts. "NSO Group develops it’s products to fight terrorism. BUT who is and isn’t a terrorist is something determined by its customers". AND, "Who the enemy is is determined by surveilance data and there is plenty of that… The most important data source is cellphones and the SIM cards inside them… They are giving designations to SIM cards without knowing who the people are, so are essentially engaged in a kind of creative extra judicial legal process that could lead to the death penalty".

  43. Me Myself on September 20, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Thats not deserted

  44. Charles Wallerdiemont on September 20, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    Why is it that the United States cannot hack into the Chinese or Russian computer systems.
    Are we so dumb that we have no capable people to hack the Russian or Chinese computers.

  45. Viva 1 on September 20, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    This video is 4 months old. So 2 months after russia threatened democracy and freedom in Europe. That’s why we spend money on military. We wouldn’t need military if it wasn’t for countries with extremists views….

  46. Nulled Rust on September 20, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    Ukraine is a Evil and Corrupt place. Do Not be misled, do your own researxch. Stop supporting such EVIL Places like blind sheep.

  47. Rohit Kumar on September 20, 2022 at 9:43 pm

    LOL………… Just like the Russians have the Wagner Group, the US has mercenaries. We sanitize the language and call them “Contractors”. Call them for what they are mercenaries.

  48. Will S on September 20, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    10:30 the 1.5 trillion dollars is a bad strategy all round, too many dollars in one program. While having some controversy the F 16 that is being replaced in the Air Force, the F 35 is unneeded there because of other existing aircraft ( the A 10, F 16, F 15 Strike Eagle ). The Navy and Marine Corps *do need* their version of the F 35, because they have already retired older aircraft in this role. It is a stress on the economic flow for future programs to allow costs to go so high to grow the F 35 and its technology. The costs of putting so many defense suppliers in so many congressional districts raises costs and neglects putting funding into innovations for our future defense. Eisenhower warned about increasing spending on the "military industrial complex" , for good reason.

  49. WillBrink on September 20, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    Mercenaries used to fight all the major wars up to fairly recently in human history BTW.

  50. Coby Gogarty on September 20, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    Mercenaries’ have changed the path of countries more than people want to know. 100$ hr for normal trigger pulling, $300hr for taking out this leader or that group.

Leave a Comment