Complex [environment] is defined as an environment that is not only unknown, but unknowable and constantly changing. The Army cannot predict who it will fight, where it will fight, and with what coalition it will fight.
TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1; The U.S. Army Operating Concept: Win in a Complex World 2020-2040, 31 October 2014
Download the PDF
U.S. Army TRADOC Mad Scientist Initiative
FWWP Submission Guidelines
The Army cannot know nor predict its next fight but it can imagine the future of warfare. Fiction is a tool of the imaginative process. Fiction allows us to imagine the details of reality-as-it-might happen in order to understand potential consequences of decisions that we need, or might need, to make. It helps us imagine how current trends might play out or how new innovations might have an impact. As a tool, fiction is cousin to war-gaming. It creates opportunities to play out potential scenarios and prepare for them.
The Army University Press publishes the Future Warfare Writing Program (FWWP). This venture seeks to answer the question: What might warfare look like in the latter half of the 21st Century? Works of fiction and nonfiction should address the addresses multiple dilemmas as outlined in the Army Operating Concept. Submissions are open to current and former members of the DoD (active, guard, and reserve) and their dependents. Others may submit on a case-by-case basis based on expertise and writing skill (please query).
Consider the following guiding examples of subject matter as you compose your original works:
– How might the Army respond to sudden increases in aggression of state actors and how might budget cuts affect this?
– What role will information operations take in shaping or manifesting the climate of warfare?
– How will the Army handle humanitarian campaigns such as virulent outbreaks, natural disasters, or displaced persons in the next 20-80 years?
– What changes to values, health, and knowledge can we expect in light of Army University, an increasingly technologically advanced population, and reactions to changing social norms?
– How will the focus and capability of Army medicine and Army acquisitions change in 15-90 years?
– What technologies will shape the battlefield and the warfighter in the foreseeable future?
FWWP welcomes works of valid and sound speculative fiction; well-written essays; and any combination between the two addressing the questions above or related concerns. The intent behind this program is to give creative thinkers at all levels and positions—both within and outside the Army—the space to contribute to the conversation by generating ideas about the possible complexities of future warfare. The Army is at a critical time that requires reflection on its recent history, examination of its present reality, and exploration of its near and mid-future.
All submissions must include the publication agreement available for download. Submissions will be evaluated by the Army University Press and FWWP editorial board for relevance, writing quality, and ability to engage the reader. Review the links below for insights into what the board considers operationally and strategically relevant. The Army University Press and FWWP offers no compensation for publication. Works appear online in a blog format only, but FWWP retains the right to print or reprint published works. When possible, FWWP provides personalized feedback on all pieces.
Ideal works will be future-looking but grounded in a plausible reality. They will not address intergalactic conflict but very well could address the role of Army space operations in terrestrial conflict. There is much unexplored space for creative thinking in Defense Support to Civil Authorities missions before reaching the boundary of the post-apocalyptic. The works do not need to be technology-centric. Works should inform as well as engage the reader. Exposition should support the narrative and vice versa; avoid information dump.
Though there is no limit to length, pieces will ideally be less than 5,000 words. Query first for any work over 10,000 words. Authors may request a longer, book-length work be serialized provided: a) at least one draft is complete, b) portions to be published individually generally stand on their own, and c) the work as a whole generally supports the theme. FWWP will accept previously published work as long as the author maintains rights to republish. Please inform editors of previous publications upon receipt. FWWP accepts simultaneous and multiple submissions.
No specific rules for formatting exist. Double-spacing is preferred, and authors must use a standard font (Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New, etc.). Submissions should be generally free of spelling and grammar errors according to standard style and usage. Standard Manuscript Format (SMF), MLA, APA, or any reasonable style is acceptable. Preferred file format is .doc or .docx. (.rtf and .odt are acceptable, but will be converted to .doc files).
Include a cover page with your name, unit, and a short bio. To aid anonymous review, do not include your name anywhere else in your work. Due to the nature of these publications, authors may choose to include a short editorial at the end of a piece. Send your original piece and the publication agreement as an attachment to email@example.com with "FWWP" and your name in the subject line.
Essays should show research and original thought regarding issues relevant to the theme. Arguments and conclusions must support the thesis. FWWP does not as a rule publish pure editorials or letters to the editor. Your work should maintain an academic tone throughout.
No specific rules for formatting exist. Double-spacing is preferred, and authors must use a standard font (Arial, Times New Roman, Courier New, etc.). Submissions should be generally free of spelling and grammar errors according to standard style and usage. Citations should follow the Chicago Style and use only endnotes (no footnotes). Preferred file format is .doc or .docx. (.rtf and .odt are acceptable, but will be converted to .doc files).
Include a cover page with your name, unit, and a short bio. To aid anonymous review, do not include your name anywhere else in your work. Send your original piece and the publication agreement as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with "FWWP" and your name in the subject line.
FWWP currently has no open special calls for submissions..