All Content

Mon, Sep 28, 2020

Competitive strategy insights from wargames

Warfighting eclipses the moment of battle. This report assesses the results from a series of competitive strategy wargames in order to explore how US military-modernization investments can shape adversary decisions long before the battle ever begins.

Report by Benjamin Jensen, John T. Watts, Christian Trotti, and Mark J. Massa

China Conflict

Mon, Aug 17, 2020

Primer on hypersonic weapons in the Indo-Pacific region

Hypersonic weapons are nearing maturation, but debates about their military relevance are often defined solely by technology. This primer situates hypersonic weapons within the regional context of the Indo-Pacific to provide a foundation for strategic analysis.

Report by John T. Watts, Christian Trotti, and Mark J. Massa

China Defense Industry

Tue, May 26, 2020

The 5×5—Is it a game or is it real? Simulations and wargaming in cyber

Greater insight into risk and response allow public and private sector organizations to better prepare for crisis before it happens and rerun history to stave off defeat in future. Wargames can be complex live events or low-cost simulations. They can even be the basis for major reforms to policy and doctrine, giving us much to understand about them. Shall we play a game?

New Atlanticist by Simon Handler


John T. Watts is a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

Watts has spent more than a decade and a half working across military, government, and industry, focused predominantly on the nature of future warfare and implications of complex emerging security risks. At the Atlantic Council, he has created the Emergent Futures Lab to develop new insights into future threats by combining experimental approaches and non-traditional perspectives with established expertise. Through the Lab, he has led numerous war-games on Baltic and Middle East security issues, countering irregular threats and developing future military concepts. He has also led research efforts on strategies for 5G adoption, disinformation, Indo-pacific security and alternate futures resulting from emerging technologies.

Previously, as a senior consultant with a Washington-based consulting firm, he advised international, military, federal, and local government agencies on a range of issues. Through this work, he improved strategic planning and technology evaluation approaches; exercised emergency management teams; facilitated non-traditional interagency initiatives; developed new operating concepts; and analyzed the impact and opportunities of emerging, disruptive technologies and threats. There he supported the US Office of the Secretary of Defense, US Marine Corps, Department of Homeland Security, National Institutes of Health, International Monetary Fund and US Environmental Protection Agency among many others.

Prior to moving to the United States, Watts was a staff officer at the Australian Department of Defence, working in a variety of strategic planning, implementation, evaluation, and management roles. His primary focus was organizational capacity building, the development and implementation of strategic guidance and military preparedness. Watts also spent more than a dozen years in the Australian Army Reserves, where he held command, training, officer development, and emergency management positions. His most recent position was as a liaison officer with the Virginia National Guard.

Watts holds an Honours of Arts (International Studies) from the University of Adelaide, Australia, and a Masters of International Law from the Australian National University.