One of the key tasks of the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) is to lead NATO’s military transformation and develop capabilities to address defence and security challenges by providing future military estimates, perspectives and advice. ACT has developed an enduring capability to meet this task. The Strategic Foresight Analysis (SFA) Report, published in 2013, is the initial component of the Long-Term Military Transformation (LTMT) and will serve as the foundation for the Framework for Future Alliance Operations (FFAO), a blueprint for how the Alliance might transform to anticipate a future that is difference from today. Both the SFA and the FFAO will support and inform the NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) and other future-focused processes. The SFA builds upon the principles described in NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept as the basis for ensuring Alliance security in the future. It is based on recent national and international studies that address the 2030 and beyond timeframe. Through the sharing of perspectives, it is essential to achieve a common understanding of future challenges and opportunities.
The SFA 2013 Report identifies trends that will shape the future strategic context and, from these trends, derives defence and security implications for the Alliance. While each implication is identified under a single theme, they are not mutually exclusive; any number of multiple accelerating trends could interact in unforeseen ways and increase complexity with unknown consequences and implications not listed in the findings. The SFA is an iterative process that will be updated regularly. An update will be provided in 2015 with a complete new version following in 2017.
The report concludes that the future is neither completely predictable nor predetermined and, moreover there is always the possibility of strategic shocks. The SFA does however deduce that the current period of transition will become even more complex and uncertain, presenting threats as well as opportunities which are fuelled by an accelerating rate of social and technological change, and combined with the pervasive effects of globalisation. It is important that the Alliance continues to observe the global security environment in order to build a common understanding of trends and inform its continuing efforts.
The SFA is organised into five broad themes: Political, Human, Technology, Economics/Resources, and Environment. The trends and defence and security implications were identified through thorough academic study and extensive consultation with communities of interest, such as NATO and Partner Nations, NATO HQ, NATO Command Structure and Agencies, academia, think tanks, and research centres. The intention of this forum is to expand the scope of this consultative process, and to encourage a wide range of feedback on the SFA process and deliverables. Through this collaborative process the 2015 Update Report will be more comprehensive and as relevant as possible. Please click on one of the themes below to contribute to the discussion.