All Possible Wars? Toward a Consensus View of the Future Security Environment, 2001-2025   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Theoretically, there should be no shortage of futures studies that could be used to form the basis for deriving the future security environment assumptions of QDR 2001. A recent survey identified over 50 academic or professional studies conducted since 1989, the approximate end of the Cold War. As in ancient Rome, the future is a popular topic for serious speculation. However, there are severe problems in attempting to apply the results of these futures studies to effective policymaking. Among the difficulties are the lack of coordination between these studies; the significant differences in their methodologies and the time periods viii ALL POSSIBLE WARS? examined; the broad and divergent scope of topics; the presence of underlying and often unidentified biases; and the wide range of contradictory results. Many studies begin with a clean slate, taking scant interest in previous, related work. An unedited compilation of these studies would constitute a modern Sibylline oracle, capable of generating much debate, but not a basis for policy. To construct a policy requires some sort of baseline consensus from which implications and issues can be examined in an analytical context. This survey attempts to derive such a baseline for the years 2001--2025. The methodology adopted is straightforward, but apparently unique among futures assessments. Thirty-six existing studies concerning the future security environment were selected based on the criteria discussed in chapter one. Conceptually, these studies are representative of views from the range of organizations involved with or interested in national defense issues."

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McNair Paper, No. 63
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