Visions of Warfare: 2036
(Source: NATO Allied Command Transformation; posted May 03, 2019)
One of the future battlefield scenarios offered by this report as subjects for further debate and investigation; each one, described in one or two pages, is followed by questions intended to open new lines of thinking about future warfare. (ACT image)
This anthology of stories was developed as a proof of concept that futurist prototyping would be a useful tool to advance our thinking around the future. Many inventions and innovations were described in stories many years be-fore they became a reality. Advanced submarines, flying to the moon, flip phones, iPads and the Internet itself were foretold decades before the under-lying scientific challenges were solved. That futurist literature informs or inspires product design has become an established practice.

The foundational hypothesis for this project is that leveraging the rich tradition of futurist storytelling will assist innovative and transformational thinking. I hope that the broader and imaginative ideas provided here can be assessed by those at the cutting edge of technology delivery and conceptual thinking and will be useful in postulating possible future evolutions of technology and the environments enabled by them.

SciFutures brought together a group of talented futurist authors and gave them a profile of the future developed from Allied Command Transformation’s broad library of futures work including the Strategic Foresight Analysis, Framework for Future Alliance Operations, Technology Trends Survey and Long-Term Aspects of requirements.

With this profile in mind, but unbounded by military strictures or the subliminal requirement to be “realistic”, the authors began a journey of envisioning the future, and exploring and imagining how technology and trends could affect future operations. This anthology is the result of that journey. These stories will incite inventive thinking and discussion about future possibilities and add to the toolbox that the Alliance military and others can leverage to imagine and contemplate how NATO will undertake operations in the coming decades.

Insights ranging from human enhancement to advanced weaponry, robotics, artificial intelligence and atypical soldiers will enlighten and colour how we think about future military engagements, and inform new iterations of intellectual thought on long-term military transformation within Allied Command Transformation.

This project has literally taken on the challenge levied by Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, who said, “If what we are doing is not seen by some people as science fiction, it’s probably not transformative enough.”

Allied Command Transformation offers this anthology to provoke a rich debate on the future. I hope that you enjoy reading these stories and I encourage you to engage actively in coming discussions.

Jeffrey Lofgren
Lieutenant General, United States Air Force
Deputy Chief of Staff Capability Development

Click here for the full report (65 PDF pages) on the NATO ACT website.


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