Notes from the Edge
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Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory / Futures Directorate
Quantico, VA

Provide assessments of plausible future security environments; generate ideas that inform the development and implementation of concepts, capabilities, and requirements; and provide recommendations for service consideration IOT guard against strategic surprise, shape the future force, stimulate thought and debate, and inform senior leadership of the Marine Corps.

Mission Essential Tasks:

  1. Provide assessment of plausible Future Security Environments (FSEs) on a rolling time horizon  15-30 years into the future
    1. Focus on “Long-Term” Future; coordinate w/ internal and external agencies and institutions
    2. ID and assess emerging threats, opportunities, challenges, technologies, patterns, and trend
    3. Develop forecast of baseline and alternative futures
  2. Generate ideas that influence, shape, and inform development of concepts, capabilities, and requirements across the DOTMLPF spectrum
    1. Develop Ideas, Influence Concepts and Inform Capability requirements of future force
    2. Stimulate thought and debate
  3. Provide recommendations for service consideration / action
    1. Leverage SME insights, knowledge, and experience
    2. Propose alternative solutions to military problems
    3. Assist senior leaders w/ decisions (concepts, force development, capabilities, etc.)

The Marine Corps Science Fiction Futures project that began earlier this year in coordination with the Atlantic Council Art of the Future Project.  This product is the work of many people, both in and out of uniform, who generously donated their valuable time and creative talent to see it to completion.

The difference with this effort, when compared with other similar efforts, is that the primary authors are uniformed service members with coaching from professional writers. Not only does this process make the authors better writers, but it gives the reader a focused lens through which to imagine the future. We did not contract writers to conjure a series of stories. These stories are written by your brothers and sisters in arms. We at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab think there's something significant in that.

The 2015 MCSEF provides a current snapshot of Futures Directorate's continual examination of the deep future. Capitalizing on strategic foresight techniques, the MCSEF examines global patterns and trends, develops insights on the character of future conflict, and outlines variations of the future security environment. Analysis of patterns and trends in seven categories, including demographics, technology, resource competition, environmental stresses, globalization, governance, and urban littorals, enables projection 15 to 30 years into the future of four plausible world futures: a baseline future, two alternative futures, and a "preferred" future.

The MCSEF is fundamentally a document for planners and decision makers. It aims to identify and analyze the principal patterns and trends shaping the future security environment; describe and assess plausible future security environments; generate ideas that inform the development and implementation of institutional concepts, capabilities, and requirements; offer recommendations for service consideration to guard against strategic surprise; shape the future force; and stimulate thought; and ultimately inform senior leadership's vision of the future.

"Notes From the Edge Newsletter" is suspended indefinitely.


Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory