August Cole is a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. He directed the Council’s Art of Future Warfare Project, which explored creative and narrative works for insight into the future of conflict, from its inception in 2014 through 2017.
A founder and managing partner at Useful Fiction and an author exploring the future of conflict through fiction and other forms of fictional-intelligence storytelling, Cole has given talks, written short stories, and led workshops that have taken him from speaking at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, to presenting at South by Southwest Interactive, to tackling the “Dirty Name” obstacle at Fort Benning. He also leads the strategy team for the Warring With Machines project on artificial intelligence at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo.
Previously, Cole reported on the defense industry for the Wall Street Journal, helping break many major national-security stories including foreign cyber spies hacking into the US Joint Strike Fighter program, major defense contractors doing “smart power” development work in Africa, US sales of F-16 fighters to Iraq, and a Blackwater civilian shooting incident in Afghanistan. Prior to that, he worked as an editor and a reporter for MarketWatch.com. Designated a “Mad Scientist” by the US Army, Cole is a former nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. With P.W. Singer, he is the co-author of a new type of novel, using the format of a technothriller to communicate nonfiction research. Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War was both a top summer read and led to briefings everywhere from the White House to the Pentagon. His latest book is Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution.