Representatives from NATO nations, partners and contributing nations gathered in Berlin, Germany at the start of November to discuss future trends and the new realities facing the Alliance. This event showcased the importance of NATO ACT Strategic Foresight in an age of uncertainty. The event demonstrated the effectiveness of pluralistic foresight initiatives, and that NATO Allies are stronger together.
The series of Strategic Foresight Workshops within the new Strategic Foresight Cycle focused on new realities which include substantial changes to world order that have taken place in recent months. For the first time ever, the workshop's first order of business was addressing climate change, which may induce disruptive changes like climate terrorism or geoengineering.
The thesis from NATO experts emphasized that the most important drivers of future trends will be climate change, technology and their impact on societies, states and armed forces. Societies are increasingly central platforms for innovation and resilience, but they have to be protected, employing human security.
States need to step up to inspire and utilize innovation, while the armed forces have to keep transforming to continue to be prepared for dynamic future developments. Future war will take place within multi-domain settings with space and cyber as decisive factors, but the centre of gravity for future conflicts will be society, which has increasingly been targeted with violence.
The key for success in future conflicts is adaptation, resilience, deterrence, and the will to fight, if called upon to do so. Without these crucial factors aligning with the ability of the Alliance to fight and win as a team, success will be challenging.
The revived NATO strategic foresight community opens up new opportunities to improve our understanding of future scenarios and trends, to support development of Allied capabilities. These capabilities will allow the Alliance to remain fit for purpose even under disruptive changes and strategic shocks. NATO ACT serves as a platform to foster knowledge within this diverse community, including planners, futurists, think-tanks and industry experts. The greatest strength of NATO is its unity and Strategic Foresight demonstrates this by utilizing maximum diversity of thought from around the Alliance and its partners.
Strategic Foresight was re-established by NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Philippe Lavigne in July 2022 and concluded 4 workshops since that time including 300 experts in Washington, Norfolk, Helsinki, and Berlin. The new Strategic Foresight Analysis, the first since 2017, is due next year. This product will be developed with the input from a diverse, cross-cutting, and highly informed group of experts from throughout the Alliance. Using these insights NATO will continue Improving today, shaping tomorrow, and bridging the two.