Forecasting Future National Security Needs and Capabilities

This is the module I will be teaching at Kings College, War Studies Department beginning in the fall 2013.

Forecasting Future National Security Needs and Capabilities

The aim of this module is to teach students to construct and analyze possibilities of what the future might bring for intelligence and national security.  The concept of a nation state is changing.  Globalization, regional alliances, global and regional environmental and economic issues, telecommunications, changing demographics, and integrating social value systems are altering the nation state.  The idea of what it means to “defend ourselves” decades from now will be dramatically different from what it is today.  New constructs for national security necessitate new intelligence and military capabilities.  Forecasting national security needs is a critical function for the modern nation state.

This module is an element in the MA in International Security.  It provides a basis in conceptual and contextual themes in the study of forecasting future intelligence and national security requirements.  A particular emphasis will be on UK and US defence forecasting assessments to include comparative scopes, methodologies, and conclusions.

  • Analysis – assumptions and analytical processes
  • Key Themes – The applications of key themes (e.g. globalization, demographics, technology, etc.) considered by each nation state.
  • Conclusions – implications for emerging threats, future intelligence collection and analysis, military force projection, and national security.


The aims of the module are to provide:

  • a conceptual framework in which to understand US and UK defence forecasting methodologies and assessments and the implications for intelligence, national, and international security
  • a critical dimension to the understanding of the spread of scientific knowledge, non-linear technology development, and the implications for emerging threats
  • an analysis of future needs for intelligence collection and exploitation
  • an understanding of future requirements for military and security forces capabilities

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

  • understand future needs and requirements for intelligence and military capabilities
  • explain the impact of technology development on emerging threats, future Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, and military capabilities
  • understand US and UK defence forecasting methodology for national security decision making

4 thoughts on “Forecasting Future National Security Needs and Capabilities

  1. Nick,

    That is a wonderful thing for you to do. There used to be some great people doing that, e.g., Wohlstetter, Kahn, Marshal, Pfaltzgraff, etc. Most are dead, and I don’t see any fill-in. You have the stuff to do it.


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