Strategic Foresight: Addressing Uncertainty in Long-Term Strategic Planning

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The space domain and the policy issues surrounding it provide a key opportunity for the application of strategic foresight. Space is an increasingly complex physical, political, economic, and threat environment, with significant and rising uncertainty. Many space systems involve capabilities that are on the bleeding edge of technological development in a field rife with surprise from both forward leaps and setbacks.

Future uncertainty in space is not just about technology, however. The geopolitics of great power competition in space, rising questions about the civil and commercial regulatory environment, and the state of the space workforce all pose challenges for future planning due to complex interactions, long lead times, and high costs of miscalculation. Strategic foresight can help because it takes a holistic approach to considering and preparing for what is possible instead of relying on existing conditions and trends to predict the future. Long-term vision is needed to navigate the toughest issues in space policy and help the United States proactively shape the path toward its preferred futures.