To succeed, decision makers should look behind the headlines of the day to ask the right questions about what will affect their organization in the future. This requires considering the deeper underlying trends that will reshape the strategic landscape in the years ahead. Foremost among them is the shift in global economic power. Although often commented upon by economists and pundits, many strategists focused on defense issues have not fully internalized this historic shift and its implications.
The strategic landscape reshaped, 1991-2012
Continuity and change in military operations
The power shift begins
Glimpses of the future
An economic-scenario approach
Defense-spending scenarios to 2022
From using scenarios to framing the right question
- What does it mean for the United States when the defense spending of its traditional treaty allies will continue to decline in relative, and perhaps absolute, terms? What capabilities might these allies be able to deploy in the future? What new security relationships might be needed to manage the shifting balance of defense power? What might be the implications of such shifts for US force structure, overseas basing, and diplomacy?
- What does it mean for European countries’ role in the world as their relative share of defense power shrinks? Will NATO’s role in the world correspondingly retract? Will NATO’s “out of area” operations become a thing of the past? Will individual European countries have effective expeditionary forces in the 2020s, or will limitations force them to decide among increased dependence on US support (for example, logistical and lift support), increased defense cooperation within Europe, and disengagement from traditional areas of influence such as Africa? What might be the implications of these different scenarios for the future affordability of independent nuclear-deterrence forces in France and the United Kingdom?
- What does the wide range of possibilities for US defense spending in 2022 mean for Asian countries? How will such uncertainties shape their defense postures and diplomacy toward the United States, and one another?
- What does it mean for emerging countries that for the next decade the United States will remain the global leader in military spending and R&D investments despite those countries’ rapid growth? How relevant will European powers be in their strategic calculus? What security relationships should they prioritize to cope with the shifting strategic landscape?
- Which markets will matter most for a company’s growth in the next ten years? What should be the relative balance among developed and developing markets in its portfolio?
- What does the possible emergence of India and Saudi Arabia among the world’s top five defense spenders suggest for a company’s strategic priorities?
- How should a company manage the diversity of regulations and laws related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and local content provisions as it seeks to expand into specific developing markets? How should it manage its defense and civilian aerospace businesses in such markets in light of other diplomatic and commercial considerations? What innovative joint ventures, mergers, or other collaborations will fuel growth among aerospace and defense companies based in different countries?
- How should a company leverage the continued robust R&D base in Europe, Japan, and the United States to serve both developed and developing aerospace and defense markets?
- How will developing countries’ aerospace and defense industries “go global” and compete directly against more established Western players in defense markets around the world in the coming decade? What are the implications for Western companies’ strategies, operations, and costs if many systems are produced for emerging markets?
- What should be a company's global manufacturing footprint in light of these trends and uncertainties in the coming decade?
- What skills and talent will a company need to succeed in the changed global defense landscape?