Academy Forum | Assessing Futures Intelligence: Looking Back on Global Trends 2025
October 24, 2022
11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. ET
James J. Wirtz, Roger Z. George, and Gregory F. Treverton discuss futures intelligence. Moderated by Robert Y. Shapiro, with a welcome from Marylena Mantas.
“Despite the effort to develop futures intelligence and a growing literature dealing with the study of the future, intelligence scholars and practitioners have spent relatively little time identifying the factors that enable accurate estimates and forecasts, the factors that cause mistakes, and the reasons why some important developments escape notice altogether in futures intelligence” write authors James J. Wirtz and Roger Z. George. Their research offers an assessment of the forecasts contained in Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World, an unclassified report produced by the National Intelligence Council. They identify several analytical biases that shaped this effort at futures intelligence and one critical factor that is not adequately considered in U.S. futures estimates in general and Global Trends 2025 in particular.
JAMES J. WIRTZ has served as a professor, department chairman and dean at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, California. He played a pivotal role in creating the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at NPS, which educates state, local, federal and tribal officials to better respond to natural and deliberate threats. Professor Wirtz’s written work includes scores of books and articles on national security, intelligence affairs and foreign matters. His textbook published by Oxford University Press, Strategy in the Contemporary World, is in its 7th edition and has introduced thousands of students to the study of strategy and international security. During his career, he has served as a consultant to U.S. agencies and allied governments and has led mobile education teams in locations as varied as Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. A native of New Jersey, Dr. Wirtz graduated from Columbia University and the University of Delaware and was a recipient of an Olin Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2016, the International Studies Association honored him as a Distinguished Scholar.
ROGER ZANE GEORGE had a 30-year career as a political analyst at CIA, where he also served as a National Intelligence Officer as well as a policy planner in the departments of State and Defense. He has taught intelligence and national security at the National War College, Georgetown University, and Occidental College. He received his Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and recently published Intelligence for the National Security Enterprise: An Introduction (Georgetown University Press, 2019). He also co-edited with Harvey Rishikof The National Security Enterprise: Navigating the Labyrinth, 2nd edition (Georgetown University Press, 2016).
GREGORY F. TREVERTON stepped down as chairman of the National Intelligence Council in January 2017. He is a senior adviser with the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and a professor of the practice of international relations and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California. Earlier, he directed the RAND Corporation’s Center for Global Risk and Security and before that its Intelligence Policy Center and its International Security and Defense Policy Center. Also, he was associate dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He has served in government for the first Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. He has taught at Harvard and Columbia universities, in addition to RAND, been a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. He holds an A.B. summa cum laude from Princeton University and an M.P.P. (Master’s in Public Policy) and Ph.D. in economics and politics from Harvard.
MARYLENA MANTAS is Associate and Managing Editor of Political Science Quarterly and lecturer in the Department of Government at Sacred Heart University.
ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO is President of The Academy of Political Science and Editor of Political Science Quarterly. He is also the Wallace S. Sayre Professor of Government and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.
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