Small Wars Journal

Mad Scientist Science Fiction Writing Contest 2019

Sat, 02/09/2019 - 8:27am

Mad Scientist Science Fiction Writing Contest 2019


Background: The U.S. Army finds itself at a historical inflection point, where disparate, yet related elements of an increasingly complex Operational Environment (OE) are converging, creating a situation where fast moving trends are rapidly transforming the nature of all aspects of society and human life – including the character of warfare. It is important to take a creative approach to projecting and anticipating both transformational and enduring trends that will lend themselves to the depiction of the future. In this vein, the Army Mad Scientist Initiative is seeking your creativity and unique ideas to describe a battlefield that does not yet exist.

Task: Write about the following scenario – On March 17th, 2030, the country of Donovia, after months of strained relations and covert hostilities, invades neighboring country Otso. Donovia is a wealthy nation that is a near-peer competitor to the United States. Like the United States, Donovia has invested heavily in disruptive technologies such as robotics, AI, autonomy, quantum information sciences, bio enhancements and gene editing, space-based weapons and communications, drones, nanotechnology, and directed energy weapons. The United States is a close ally of Otso and is compelled to intervene due to treaty obligations and historical ties. The United States is about to engage Donovia in its first battle with a near-peer competitor in over 80 years...

Three ways to approach:

1) Forecasting – Description of the timeline and events leading up to the battle.

2) Describing – Account of the battle while it’s happening.

3) Backcasting – Retrospective look after the battle has ended (i.e., After Action Review or lessons learned).

Three questions to consider while writing (U.S., adversaries, and others):

1) What will forces and Soldiers look like in 2030?

2) What technologies will enable them or be prevalent on the battlefield?

3) What do Multi-Domain Operations look like in 2030?


- No more than 5000 words

- .doc or .docx format

- Conventional formatting (e.g., no columns) and have images “in line” with text

- Submissions from Government and DoD employees must be cleared through their respective PAOs

- MUST include attached release form

- CANNOT have been previously published

Selected submissions may be chosen for publication or possible future speaking opportunity.

Contact: Send submissions to:

Categories: Mad Scientist

About the Author(s)

The U.S. Army TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist Initiative is a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) program that continually explores the future through collaborative partnerships and continuous dialogue with academia, industry and government. Through this initiative, the Army helps shape future land operations in its role as a thought leader in the future of warfare. The program consists of an All Partners Access Network (APAN) community of interest, a monthly online speaker series, and conferences with world-class experts at the nation's premier academic institutions.