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: The Atlantic Council’s work of documentary theatre

The Atlantic Council celebration of Veterans Day 2021: War Words across America

To celebrate Veterans Day 2021, the Atlantic Council is producing staged readings of the Pulitzer-nominated play War Words, by Michelle Kholos Brooks, at professional theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Syracuse, and Fort Worth. Walk with us…

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.

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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.