My preliminary contributions to the NATO Strategic Foresight Online Workshop. I have no appointment or connection to NATO or the Transformation Command. This workshop is open to the public without restriction.
Characteristics of the Future Threats & Possibilities
Human Considerations I & II
Strategic Foresight I & II
In my view, the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change, reporting out in Decmeber 2004, remains the best threat statement, with these ten threats in priority order:
02 Infectious Disease
03 Environmental Degradation
04 Inter-State Conflict
05 Civil War
07 Other Atrocities (trade in woen, children, body parts)
10 Transnational Crime
Having said that, I believe that NATO must plan for the collapse of the USA as a world power, and a public rebellion in the USA that changes the political and economic system to the point that NATO is cut off from US funding and military units from the US are withdrawn completely.
On a much more positive note, I believe that the Open Source Everything revolution that I am cheering on is going to see extraordinary developments in free energy, clean water, aquaponics, and shelter, as well as communication and education. This is the center of gravity for the future of NATO in my view, as a command and staff element for whole of government strategy, policy, operations, and acquisition, in full partnership with all Member nations but especially France and Germany. NATO in my view must redirect itself away from an American instrument of war and toward being a European instrument of peace.
UN Paper: Beyond Data Monitoring – Achieving the Sustainability Development Goals Through Intelligence (Decision-Support) Integrating Holistic Analytics, True Cost Economics, and Open Source Everything
In my view 2015 is a linch-pin year in which the West, and the US-UK Wall Street – City of London axis in particular — completely lose control of the global economy and are replaced by a combination of the new financial and development system being created by the BRICS, a new radical Arab financial and development system, a new Indian system focused on open source everything, and a wide variety of localized alternatives such as are being tested by UNASUR.
Put most bluntly, sanctions no longer matter, and the West can safely be ignored by Ecuador and those other countries that are fed up with proprietary capitalist incursions backed up by virtual colonialism, covert operations including attempts at regime change, and elective wars based on lies.
Combined with the reality that military operations are not an option for all but a few backward countries where we have Arab backing, this means that the influence of the West — particularly political influence and financial influence — has peaked.
There is one singular fact and one stunningly interesting possibility.
The FACT is that 23% to 40% of all US adults are unemployed. The 23% U-6-ish number is the low end and comes from www.shadowstats.com. The 40% number is high end and comes from the Congressional Research Service. When combined with the acknowledged 25% or greater unemployment numbers in Span and other major countries, and of course across the Third World, what we have is a bomb waiting to explode, a bomb that all the digital money in the world cannot stop from going off.
The POSSIBILITY is that the elites are fragmenting and the brightest among them now understand that achieving 100% corrupt governments has led to the failure of capitalism and the long-term certainty of the rich becoming poorer if not simply assassinated one by one. From Lady Lynn Rothschild on Inclusive Capitalism to the Black Sheep Billionaires talking about Redemptive Capitalism to the Mars Family of Virginia sticking to its long-held principles of Mutuality Economics to Tom Steyer and Bill Gates recognizing that all the money they have spent on various causes has been ineffective, the way is now open for the emergence of an Open Circle Economy that optimizes holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering.
Put bluntly, if the 1% do not rapidly and for their own good embrace the decentralization of power and wealth, they stand to lose a great deal.
In my view, it is not possible for the EU to achieve its political and economics goals, or for NATO to be relevant going forward, unless the EU and NATO come together into a Whole of Government enterprise that is able to do strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations against all threats, across all policy domains, in all geographic areas, **as a whole.**
Most Important Publication: Beyond Data Monitoring – Achieving the Sustainability Development Goals Through Intelligence (Decision-Support): Integrating Holistic Analytics, True Cost Economics, and Open Source Everything
Today’s economy practices are best described by a mix of books including Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History. Scarcity is a contrived concept. Interest — especially interest on digital money that was created by banks without being rooted in anything tangible — is an illegitimate means of further enriching the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
Where we are headed is toward a world in which absentee landlords are no longer tolerated; communities own the land and the means of production and issue all credit; and democracy enters the workplace.
We are headed toward a world in which true cost economics and open source everything engineering combine to empower the larger public. A basic income is almost certainly inevitable and is already being discussed among some European countries.
When combined with free energy and unlimited clean drinkable water, as well as free Internet communications and computing, the world will change radically for the better.
This a strictly speculative commentary based on years of observation but no direct expert access. I do offer several book reviews below that shed some light on what others say.
a) The primary Chinese direct investment worldwide is going to be men, not money. China’s population control has worked internally, and I believe they are now in the business of systematically exporting men to achieve in other countries what they are about to achieve in Argentina.
b) Unlike the Americans, the Chinese understand corruption and will sharply limit loose cash investments, instead providing construction equipment, military equiplment, and other tangibles. Generally they will import their own labor for these projects rather than hire locally.
c) Although the Chinese are clearly investing in energy and mineral resources, I expect them to shift soon toward achieving self-sufficiency in energy much sooner in their life cycle than the USA, which still has not done so. Others have a better grip on actual trade now and going forward.
As a long-term strategic trend, I expect China to focus on financial and military “influence” just short of domination across Asia in the 2010-2020 time frame, and on population and technical influence across the Southern Hemisphere with equal emphasis on South America and Africa, in the 2020-2040 timeframe.
I do not know, and would be extremely interested in understanding, Chinese views on where the Arab dictatorships might be going, and what should be done about the unemployed youth bulge and the Islamic fundamentalists. On balance I expect the Chinese to respect and work more closely with the Shi’ite Iranians rather than the Sunni Arabs.
Water is the central issue of our time. Now that solar energy is virtually free and the Tesla Powerwall Battery makes it possible to achieve both 24/7 operations and transfer solar energy to mobile units, water must be our next focus.
There is a need for a “Manhattan Project” to create open source water desalination capabilities that can be established very 10 to 25 kilometers along all coastlines, and adjacent to inland waters that are now heavily contaminated and need cleasing.
It costs roughly $25 million to create a proprietary water desalination plan capable of producing five million gallons per day. Using open source manufacturing and all related forms of open source (e.g. software and infrastructures) it should be possible to drop this price down to a tenth of what it would be if buying form commercial vendors trapped in old paradigms.
One could even go so far as to suggest that the 3mm rise in sea level could reasonably be stopped by a massive global water desalination program.
When “Foreign Policy” is directed by the 1% and focused on elective wars, regime change, and the manipulation of oil prices, water availability, land capture, and so on, it inevitably destabilizing countries and forces migrations. I addressed this in my second book, The New Craft of Intelligence, pointing out that water scarcity combined with traditional ethnic fault lines were made worse by external interventions focused on profit for the few instead of peace and prosperity for the many.
It is my hope that immigration will drive home to both the European Union (which has a foreign policy) and NATO (which does not) that they need to create a joint Multinational Decision Support Centre, and start doing holistic analytics with integrated true cost economics. The day must come when both the EU chair for foreign policy and the secretary general of NATO are sharing the same ethical evidence-based decision-support, and able to agree that only Whole of Government future-oriented programs will have good effect at home and abroad. Eventually the top people are going to realize that foreign policies of commerce and peace promote stabilization and stabilization stops immigration at the unmanageable level.
Immigration is one of the twelve core policies in the Earth Intelligence Network holistic analytic model that integrates the ten high level threats to humanity, twelve core policies, and the eight major demographics that are already shaping the future. If NATO is to do strategic foresight to the best of its ability, it must begin with a holistic analytic model and embrace true cost economics over time and space in its calculations.
As the model below suggests, immigration is connected with everything else, including particularly economy, education, family, health, justice, and society — it is central to the threats of poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation, and of course radically increased by inter-state conflict, civil war, genocide, and other atrocities (trade in women & children.
Immigration is an excellent starting point for teaching narrow-minded political and financial personalities that the truth at any cost lowers all other costs — they must get a grip on the truth at the ground level, or they will never be able to cost out the true costs over time and space, or devise affordable scalable solutions that stop the negatives of immigration in time to preserve the cultural and financial integrity of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Caucausus, and other points of interest.
All of the preconditions for revolution across the major domains (political-legal, socio-economic, ideo-cultural, techno-demographic, natural-geographic) exist in the West today, and especially in Greece, France, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and the US.
Fragmentation occurs in the absence of good governance that provides for the essential needs of humanity.
The US “way of war” that has been imposed on NATO — and to a lesser extent on the EU — is one that stresses technology over thinking, death over life. Bombing the boats of the illegal immigrants is a perfect illumination of the foolishness of this prevailing approach to “strategy.”
Human Intelligence (HUMINT), and policy-level understanding of the real-world pressures on humanity in every clime and place, are abyssmally deficient. There is a need for a “Grand Study” that brings together all possible experts across all possible domains, to calculate the true costs of what we are doing now, and the return on investment of a totally new turn toward making NATO an instrument of peace rather than a vehicle for selling US arms to Eastern Europe and others.
If NATO is to be useful going foward, it must be the primaray instrument for shaping the future. Dilitants and journeymen focus on linear predictions of the future on the basic of legacy foundations that are rarely challenges. In the 21st Century, masters challenge the future by illuminating how we can do the right things instead of the wrong rhings righter (Russel Ackoff).
It is not just the West that is in decline, but government as well. The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and such countries as Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey, have created an alternative financial system including a new development bank, an alternative to SWIFT, and new currency concepts. The West is being pushed out of the South (UNASUR, CELAC, AU) and elsewhere.
What may not be well understood by the governments of the west is that they are now largely irrelevant so long as they persist in avoiding reality. There are eight major information “tribes” or networks that are essential to achieve multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making (M4IS2), they are shown below. Only by bringing all information together in a transparent, truthful, and therefore trust-inspiring manner, can we do future-oriented hybrid governance.
In my view the single most important new idea to come out of the Innovation Hub in its earlier efforts was the idea of “Alternative C4ISR.” For me Alternative C4ISR is about assuring that NATO has access to all relevant information from all eight tribes shown below across all countries, all languages, all mediums — and all of it geospatially and time tagged. Since NATO does not have its own intelligence community, and its information technology community is severely constrained by traditional constructs, there is an opportunity for NATO — working closely with the EU — to create a new form of hybrid intelligence-operations centre and network that can do holistic ethical evidence-based decision-support across the four major analytic levels (strategy, policy, acquisition, operations).
There are three aspects in relation to technology that NATO should consider going forward.
01 Retardation and Vulnerability. NATO C4ISR is severely retarded in relation to its ability to do advanced information-sharing and sense-making across all boundaries, ie with civilian counterparts in the EU, with elements of the Member nations, and with non-member networks includng the African Union. NATO C4ISR is severely vulnerable to a wide variety of non-state as well as state actor interventions both in relation to electromagentic jamming and attack (e.g. electromagnetic pulse bombs), hacking of antiquated source code built by vendors who compromised all their systems to NSA and Israel, among others, and in relation to single points of failures including antenna farms, power sources, and C4ISR choke points. In my view there is no more urgent requirement than for NATO and the EU to agree to come together to create a Multinational Decision Support Centre and network that can address all ten high level threats, all twelve core policies, and all democgraphic/operational areas **as a whole**. At the same time, NATO has to wean itself from dependence on proprietary software and hardware and legacy assumptions about access to spectrum, and learn how to operate in a new world where security must be earned, not assumed.
02 Alternative C4ISR. There is a *major* opportunity for NATO, ideally in alliance with the EU and in my view also with the National Geospatial Agency of the US, to commit deeply to creating a multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information sharing and sense-making network (see my earlier work for NATO on Alternative C4ISR including the human factor).
03 Open Source Provisioning. Neither NATO nor the EU appear disposed to come to grips with the fact that illegal immigration will continue to be a problem as long as the USA is best pals with 42 of the 44 dictators on the planet and tolerates the extremism of both the Arab Sunni zealots (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE) and the Zionist zealots (the government of Israel, not its people, and neoconservatives in the USA), while also doing nothing to enable prosperity to be affordable and achievable for the five billion poorest. Open Provisioning is one of nine Open Source Everything subcategories, and includes in particular free energy, free clean desalinated and decontaminated water, organic food without poisons, and affordable zero-energy shelters, generally from compressed bricks — the Global Village Construction Set is a Nobel-level first step in the right direction. I myself calculated how to resettle 1 million Somalis in an uncontested corner of Somalia with just three things: dirt, sunlight, and seawater. For $500 per person I created a notional complete settlement with brick houses, solar energy, desalinated water, compost sewage, and an aquaponics industry, throwing in free Internet and cellular. A pilot project with South Africa as well as Nigeria, under the joint auspices of the EU and AU, is recommended.
# 2013 Robert Steele: $500 Million to Resettle 1 Million on a Moonscape with Sun, Dirt, & Salt Water….Exploring the Practical Edge of Intelligence with Integrity — Call for Substantive Ideas 2.0 Habitat Cost Sheet Posted
The traditional intelligence model is largely worthless — a failure — and NATO is better off thinking about how to develop, with the EU and perhaps the UN and AU, a completely new approach to intelligence that is open and holistic. Global Trends 2030, to take one example from the US secret world (but unclassified), recommended fracking as part of the energy solution, and was generally torn apart by thoughtful observers as being a classic empty vessel.
The point is not to extrapolate from existing negative trends that are themselves exacerbated by corrupt governments, predatory corporations, and elective wars. The point is to SHAPE the future in positive constructive ways that reflect all that can be known through the new craft of applied collective intelligence that leverages holistic analytics, true cost economics, and open source everything engineering to make possible multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making (M4IS2) that in turn makes possible peace and prosperity for all.
The EU and NATO should becoming together to create an Open Source Agency that includes a Center for Comprehensive Architecture, a Multinational Decision-Support Centre and Network, and a School of Future-Oriented Hybrid Governance. Below are two depictions for discussion.
Includes:2012 Robert Steele: Practical Reflections on United Nations Intelligence + UN RECAP28 January 2013 0830-1000 Elliot School Washington DC Leon Fuerth and Thomas Pickering, “Anticipatory Governance: Upgrading Government for the 21st Century” + Past References40 Signals of Russian Collapse?4see model for future insight from past dataBerto Jongman: 54 Trends for 2013 + 20 IT TrendsBerto Jongman: Brennan Gores CIABerto Jongman: Jorgen Randers Global Forecast for the Next Forty YearsBerto Yongman: Red (Team) Analysis SocietyBerto Jongman: Stephan De Spiegeleire 10 Trends in Strategic Foresight for Defence and SecurityDavid Isenberg: IARPA Trys to Predict FutureEvent: 11 April Amsterdam – The World in 50 Years, a Foresight ExerciseEvent: 11-15 Apr Den Hague NL World Foresight ForumForesight Engine & Breakthroughs to CuresIntroducing Open ForesightJean Lievens: Forget Sharing — Go Circular EconomyMichel Bauwens: The Future of Cities, Information & InclusionNIGHTWATCH: India Begins Military Support for Afghanistan — Robert Steele CommentsPatrick Meier: Stages of Resistance to Innovation — From Naval Gunfire to Blind SpysRamez Naam: The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet (Video and Book)Reference: 2010 Global Foresight CommonsReference: Italian Military Strategic OutlookReference: VISION 2015: A Globally Networked and Integrated Intelligence Enterprise [Suddenly Popular]Review: Out of the Blue–How to Anticipate Big Future SurprisesReview (Preliminary): Reflexive Practice–Professional Thinking for a Turbulent WorldRobert Steele: PhD ProposalTom Atlee: Participatory Wisdom & SustainabilityVenessa Miemis: Social Media and the Evolution of ConsciousnessWho’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Alex SteffenWho’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Jerome GlennWho’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Karl SchroederWho’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Sam RoseWho’s Who in Intelligence (Decision-Support): Robert David Steele – Hispanic Robert David STEELE VivasWho’s Who in Public Intelligence: Carol DumaineWorth a Look: Journal of Future StudiesYoda: When Intelligence Loses It’s Integrity, It Is Not Intelligence