Small Wars Journal

A Vision of Alternative Futures Symposium

Fri, 08/20/2010 - 11:10am
A Vision of Alternative Futures Symposium (via STAND-TO! e-mail)

What is it?

The Army Capabilities Integration Center's Future Warfare Division is sponsoring a symposium entitled "A Vision of Alternative Futures," Nov. 3-4, in McLean, Va. The symposium will focus on challenges facing the military and how they might affect the future of armed conflict. In doing so, Future Warfare Division is seeking a diverse group of participants from academia and industry who are —to write papers on grounded projections of future armed conflict and submit them for possible presentation at the symposium.

Why is this important for the Army?

Theories about the character of future warfare must be grounded in knowledge of emerging threats to national security. For example, prior to 9/11, national defense concepts were based on an assumption that conventional threats would come from hostile nations. In hindsight, this assumption was flawed; the real and emerging threats to national security were coming from non-state actors.

But the character of future warfare is not limited to emerging or sudden threats to national security, it is also affected by the underlying assumptions the military operates within. In a future where defense costs and response timelines will likely be constrained, the Army must continually examine assumptions governing its concepts and long-term planning; as well as "weak signals" developing in a global operating environment to better prepare for future strategic surprise.

What will the Army do?

A thorough study of contemporary conflict in an historical perspective is needed to help frame future challenges to national and international security, analyze underlying assumptions, and identify "weak signals" in a global operating environment to build relevant capabilities to meet those challenges.

Potential areas for study could include expanded globalization and evolution of science, technology, and engineering developments; what "weak signals" futures analysts got right (or wrong) in the past; where conflicts are likely to rise and where stability is likely to take root; social, economic, or environmental trends likely to affect future armed conflicts; the changing global demographics and generational values and their impact on future conflicts and forces.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The symposium will seek to explore factors that may impact armed conflict in the future. Outcomes drawn from the presentations will be used to help guide Army concept, capability, training, and leadership development. Following the symposium, papers will be posted online. Some travel funding may be available. For further details email the point of contact.

Categories: Army