Group 18@2x

About Us

The mission of the Army Future Studies Group (AFSG) is to prepare Army officers and civilians to assume key leadership roles within the Army Future Force Modernization Enterprise (FFME).

The AFSG is an element of Headquarters Department of the Army attached to Army Futures Command (AFC) headquarters. Its mission is to educate officers in innovative methods for building high-performing teams, futures analysis, concept development, requirements generation and development of modernization strategies. It also familiarizes Fellows with the institutional structure and functions of the Army FFME.

The AFSG was originally established by GEN Raymond Odierno as the Chief of Staff of the Army Strategic Studies Group (CSA SSG) in the summer of 2012. Over the past six years the group has developed a variety of research and analysis products that have positively impacted the U.S. Army at many levels, most recently serving as the planning cadre for the establishment of the AFC.

2019 AFSG Academic Program

Hotspots Background

Administrative in-processing of the AFSG Fellows cohort, Introduction to agile process methods and Jira software. AFSG leadership introductions and overview of the academic program. Deloitte administers personality/strength instruments in preparation for Week 1.

Deloitte begins the process of building self and team awareness through group review of individual personality and strength instruments. Working sessions on innovation, disruption, and the future of work introduce key concepts that will recur throughout the academic program.

MIT Sloan professor Dr William Isaacs and the team from Dialogos facilitates their "Art of Thinking Together" program which builds proficiency in the practice of collective leadership and the principles of dialogue.

The cohort reads Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, to develop understanding of the processes of human thought. A workshop with Dr Dan Ariely's BEWorks team places thinking in the broader contex of behavioral economics and the pursuit of organizational objectives.

Hotspots Background

An introduction to Red Teaming methods through the work of noted author and UC Berkeley lecturer Bryce Hoffman. Also addresses the general challenge of analyzing complex adaptive systems and further development of the role of dialogue in Peter Senge's writings.

IDEO mission partern Experience Point presents the fundamentals of design and human-centered organizational approaches that maximize the scope for creativity and innovation.

Leading wargame designer and Columbia University professor Mark Herman provides an introduction to wargaming, including readings on the history and applications of wargaming, institutional uses of wargames, and playing historical wargames.

Introduces the analysis of global trends. Visiting experts analyze long term trends in the incidence and character of armed conflict, the growth and differentiation of national defense industrial bases, and developments in geopolitical competition.

Hotspots Background

Visits by subject matter experts for key long range trends including energy markets, demographics. and water security. Introduction to the Pardee Center's International Futures model, with facilitated exercises in generating global future scenarios.

Introduces methods for horizon scanning and technology watch activities, leveraging experts in OSD, the sister services, and the intelligence community along with key partners from industry.

Introduces methods for assessing future military force structures and capabilities. DIA/NGIC engagements will focus on the 4+1 threats prioritized in the NSS/NDS, while workshops with visiting experts from the International Institute for Strategic Studies will focus on U.S. allied and partner nations, wildcards, and other potential adversaries.

Explores the relationship between international relations theory and strategy. Historical vignettes illustrate how strategy drives the development of military concepts, investments, and force structure decisions, placing the Army's Futures & Concepts work in strategic context.

Hotspots Background

Continues the examination of historical vignettes illustrating the evolution of security strategy.

Examination of the current state of play and potential future developments in the national security strategies of the US, China, and Russia.

The cohort may schedule family leave during spring break; catch up on previous reading assigments and prepare for the strategy and net assessment blocks.

Introduces Fellows to the scenario development and writing process through engagements with the Office of Net Assessment and its UK counterpart.

Provides scientific perspectives on the human elements of war from leading experts in the fields of psychology, sociology, and neurobiology.

Hotspots Background

Visiting experts review the evolution of combined arms maneuver warfare from WWI to WWII, complemented by the play of historical maneuver wargames.

Visiting experts review the evolution of combined arms maneuver warfare from the end of WWII to the present, complemented by the play of historical maneuver wargames.

The cohort conducts an in depth wargame of future maneuver conflict with near peer adversaries. After a detailed AAR, the cohort presents analysis and conclusions to intelligence community experts for critical review and feedback.

A week-long workshop facilitated by experienced international security policy experts on competitive strategies, net assessment, and how the U.S. military's modernization enterprise performs in comparison to its competitors. The week culminates in a long range strategic competition wargame.
Hotspots Background

Provides a survey of DoD and Army Force Management, acquisition, force generation, equipping, and budgeting processes as well as how these are informed and driven by the National Security, Defense, Military, and Army Strategies.

Introduce the service-level policy & decision-making bodies that govern the Army Future Force Modernization Enterprise (FFME). Engagements with DA G-3/5/7, G-8, OBT and ASAALT.

Introduce the national-level policy & decision-making bodies that govern DoD/Army FFME. Engagements with the Joint Staff, Dept of State, DNI, HASC/SASC staff.

Provides a survey of the requirements and acquisition education domains. It includes guest speakers and several case studies of successful and unsuccessful historical Army programs.

Hotspots Background

Site visits to ARCIC and RDECOM HQ.

Site visits to CFTs, CDIDs, TRAC, AMSAA. 

Site visits to RDECs, PMs, PEOs.

Vist AFC HQ in Austin, TX for engagements with key leaders and HQ staff (CG, DCG, CoS, Directorate of Intel, Data Analytics, CIG, AAL).

Consolidate trip report observations from site visits during institutional environment block of the curriculum. 

In Other News


SSG Cohorts II and III devoted considerable effort to helping the Army frame and develop solutions for the challenges of combat in megacities and dense urban terrain.

Read More »

Standing Up Futures Command

On 27 August 2018, the U.S. Army activated the U.S. Army Futures command – an organization charged with integrating and leading the entire future force modernization enterprise.

Read More »


Our Values

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Invest in Human Talent

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The AFSG program develops change agents for the future. Innovation is a fundamental element of success for any organization; we believe that this requires investing in our people.

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All AFSG work is done in a team environment. We create a ‘group IQ’ which greatly exceeds our individual IQs by developing common understanding of problems and solutions, and through sharing our individual knowledge and experiences freely across the group.

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Open, Honest Dialogue

back side img In the AFSG ideas have no rank; we draw forth the best ideas from the group. Our concept teams refine their ideas through rigorous debate and professional critique, including internal and external reviews. It is vital that the group works together in an atmosphere of professional courtesy and respect; as professional colleagues we give and receive critical feedback without rancor.
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back side img Unconventional, and Unconstrained. A principal goal of the AFSG is to expand our team’s perspectives on a wide range of topics, allowing them to break out of personal and institutional biases and look for solutions to Army challenges wherever they may be found.

Collaboration Areas

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Continuing research and analysis on a key study topic of the CSA SSG; how will the Army meet the operational challenges of the urban future?

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Modern business practices for dealing with complexity and the promotion of innovation. The application of dialogue, design thinking, systems analysis, and behavioral economics to future Army challenges, working in interdisciplinary teams.

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Three critical areas of future studies: (1) intelligence-based threat futures, (2) technology watch and horizon scanning programs, and (3) global trends analysis using global systems modeling. The application of scenario analysis to understanding the FSOE.

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The relationship between national security strategy and military concepts, writing and critiquing military concepts, and the employment of wargaming for the critical evaluation of concepts and historical lessons learned.

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The organizations and processes governing the Army future force modernization enterprise at the Army, Joint Staff/OSD, and national levels.