Doctoral Project Abstract
Integrating Strategic Foresight into Professional Military Education
F. Dennis Walters
Defense Futures Course
Throughout history warfare has evolved in response to technology. This paradigm is shifting with the advent of asymmetric warfare. The United States must now remain vigilant for the traditional nation-state threat while also dealing with a global insurgency fueled by religious radicals. Current strategic defense planning is divided along these lines with precious little effort being directed at defining other potential future threats.
Predicting the next future security threat is a unique and important challenge. Futures methodology and foresight skills taught within a security context would greatly assist in meeting this challenge. Unfortunately these techniques are not being taught at the service schools or in public universities. The Defense Futures Course is offered as a solution to this gap in military and civilian education. This course is a one of a kind course designed to be taught as a three credit hour elective within the Masters of Strategic Futures Program at Regent University.
The Defense Futures course explores how futures methods can be used by the military to pinpoint future national security threats, generate a range of possible security related futures and transform defense planning in view of the next generation of conflict. Students will develop and use anticipatory techniques to help policy makers grapple with an evolving national security landscape.
The Defense Futures Course is designed to be taught over four periods of three weeks each. Six dialog forums are included within the course. Dialog topics range from future security issues to the various doctrinal forms of warfare. Three minor projects are required and will challenge students to compare current and historical forms of warfare; assess organizational performance in response to environmental change; and evaluate transformational effectiveness in a defense context. One major project requires students to develop three future potential security scenarios and recommend a defense posture that adequately addresses the most probable scenario.
While the course is designed for military officers it will benefit the traditional student interested in defense and security related studies as well.