Saturday, April 09, 2011

Scenario Narratives, Systems Thinking and Complexity

The Woodrow Wilson Center has launched a new report that suggests a new national security strategic narrative for the 21st century as a way of rethinking US strategic priorities over the long term. Authored by two special assistants to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the narrative’s thinking is founded on systems thinking and complexity theory perspectives on future uncertainties and possibilities - which suggests to us that the narrative can be usefully thought in scenario planning terms. While the use of scenarios in military and defense strategic planning has a long history in the US, from RAND to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the connection between systems thinking, complexity theory and scenario narratives is a cutting-edge topic in futures studies today. It is, for instance, the overarching theme of this year’s Oxford Futures Forum at Oxford University, which is one of the world’s most prominent gatherings of professional and academic scenario planners and futurists. (Noah Raford, an external advisor to the Lab, has been blogging from the conference).

Image: Pentagon strategy map 2010 (public domain) from Wikimedia Commons

Posted by Zhan Li on 04/09 at 10:50 PM
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