About our work
Forward Defense leverages innovative methodological tools to get at the heart of today’s most complex security challenges. Under the banner of The Art of War, FD uses wargaming, narrative fiction, and the creative arts to better understand, communicate, and animate issues at the center of alternative military futures. Through the futures we forecast, the scenarios we wargame, and the narratives we explore, Forward Defense always maintains a methodologically Forward approach.
Narrative and the arts
War Words is a work of documentary theatre that chronicles the funny, strange, heroic, and heartbreaking stories of men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. This Pulitzer-nominated stage play was written by award-winning playwright and Forward Defense Nonresident Senior Fellow Michelle Kholos Brooks based on her interviews with veterans of those wars and their families, and was produced by Senior Fellow Steven Grundman.
- In 2021, the Atlantic Council produced staged-reading performances of the play during the week of Veterans Day by professional theatre companies in six cities across the country: Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and Syracuse.
- In 2020, the Atlantic Council commissioned Arena Stage to adapt War Words into a short film, VETERANS DAY 2020.
- In 2019, the Atlantic Council facilitated a workshop production of War Words over eight evenings in Los Angeles.
Analysis from our wargames
Strategic Insights Memo Nov 30, 2021
After Kabul: US and allied policy options in Afghanistan
By Atlantic Council and DT Institute
On September 1, 2021, the Atlantic Council and DT Institute ran an expert-driven matrix wargame to: (1) explore major policy dilemmas on the horizon after the US-led coalition withdrawal; and (2) forecast state behavior and assess emerging risks in the wake of the crisis. This Strategic Insights Memo captures the key takeaways from that wargame and the implications for great-power competition, regional security, and humanitarian issues in South Asia and the Middle East.
Report Sep 28, 2020
Competitive strategy insights from wargames
By Benjamin Jensen, John T. Watts, Christian Trotti, and Mark J. Massa
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 Sep 6, 2019
Alternate cybersecurity futures
By John Watts, Ben Jensen, JD Work, Nina Kollars, and Chris Whyte
If the national security community continues to focus on immediate threats and managing current emergencies, it will never escape a cycle of crises, nor manage to impose a strategy to shape tomorrow’s environment.
Issue Brief Jul 30, 2019
Avenues for conflict in the Gulf: A matrix game simulation
By John Watts
Iran faces increasing pressure domestically and internationally, while simultaneously perceiving a historic opportunity to reshape regional dynamics through multiple regional conflicts. This convergence creates conditions that could lead to a strategic shock, and which warrant serious consideration.
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Art of the future
Forward Defense, housed within the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, generates ideas and connects stakeholders in the defense ecosystem to promote an enduring military advantage for the United States, its allies, and partners. Our work identifies the defense strategies, capabilities, and resources the United States needs to deter and, if necessary, prevail in future conflict.