In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s historic “Day of Infamy” speech to Congress on December 8, 1941 — a day after Japanese forces struck Pearl Harbor — rallied the nation and set a high bar for generations of speechwriters to come.
Those who entered this Art of Future Warfare seven-day war-art challenge delivered deadline-driven entries reinterpreting a presidential address to Congress in the 2040s in the wake of a future surprise attack. The entries explored a spectrum of threats to America, at home and abroad.
One of the project’s goals is to bring new voices into the national security conversation. These entries were sent in from far beyond Washington, including Oregon, Mississippi and France. Former Army Ranger Jared Smith and a student at University of Oregon explored the ramifications of a surprise Chinese strike against the aircraft carrier USS Gerald Ford and other naval forces patrolling sea lanes in a volatile Pacific. Ben Dagan, who studies international security at Sciences Po in Paris, described a world in which an Asia-Pacific terrorist group used drone-delivered biological weapons in a US attack that leaves the president calling for national resolve and questioning whether technology has taken mankind too far.
Ashley Henley, an adjunct history instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College, wrote the selected entry for this war-art challenge. It explores the interplay of ultimatum diplomacy, alliances among adversaries and catastrophic cyber operations against America’s bedrock systems and infrastructure. In a separate piece, Henley discusses the creative inspiration and process for this entry.
The following is Henley’s future address to Congress:
Yesterday, December 7th, 2041, egregious acts of terrorism by the Federation Alliance of Socialist, Communist, and Islamic State Members against the United States of America marked the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the modern world. The story being written as we speak is one of the renewal of American resolve in its role as the exemplary leader and champion of free republics around the globe.
As the Federation Alliance of Socialist, Communist, and Islamic State Members consciously infiltrated and discriminately dismantled our nation’s key electronic infrastructure sites under the guise of a rogue hacker nation, the Cyber Terrorism Division of our nation’s Central Intelligence Agency concurrently identified the true identity of our attackers, thus necessitating the immediate implementation of our nation’s constitutionally prescribed course of action.
As Commander in Chief of our nation’s military and the elected leader of this great nation, working in conjunction with our Cyber Terrorism Division, I established a direct line of communication with the current overlord of F.A.S.C.I.S.M. in order to extend an “olive branch” and send our request for immediate shutdown of the dismantling operations exposed by our Cyber Terrorism Division.
A clear declaration of our nation’s position to maintain peaceful and cooperative relations with the Federation was drafted and delivered to the current overlord and to each of the six leaders of the Federation nations, with clearly specified routes to immediately restore peaceful relations and halt the ensuing American military response, as well as detailed consequences as required by the 28th and 29th amendments to our Constitution, collectively known as our Terrorism Response Plan, if they chose to ignore our nationally sovereignty and existence as a free nation.
As we approach the closing minutes of our 24 hour “olive branch” to the members of the Federation Alliance, our electronic infrastructure remains unrestored and no response has been given by any member. So it is with unwavering dedication to the values and freedoms of our great nation and my duty as President of these United States of America to ask the American people to support my decision to immediately initiate targeted, simultaneous “lightning strikes” against key infrastructure, both electronic and otherwise, against all members and demand Congress to approve an Official Declaration of War between the United States of America and the Federation Alliance of Socialist, Communist, and Islamic State Members.
To all citizens of our beloved nation: Now is not a time for panic or fear. Rest assured that we, the greatest nation in the history of modern civilization, have already begun our renewal process and are secure in our ability to fully restore our electronic infrastructure. I ask for your confidence in our nation’s enduring strength, your understanding and willingness to adapt to our current circumstances, and your commitment to make the necessary sacrifices in the coming days. As we write our new history, let us fill the pages with our unending strength and conviction, our unfaltering faith, and with the ever-enduring American spirit that will continue to inspire all future generations until the end of time. God Bless the United States of America.