Over The Horizon

Sailors assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit One,  launch an underwater unmanned vehicle in the Arabian Gulf during routine testing operations Sept. 28th, 2016. CTG 56.1 conducts mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal, salvage diving, and force protection operations throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

“He glanced back at his team. The graduate students were craning to see out the tiny side windows, giddy with excitement, recording everything in their optics. They seemed oblivious to the risks they were taking. His older colleagues, who had left spouses and children behind on just a few hours notice, looked more sober. They could die out here. The administrators at Stanford would be having kittens right about now, especially when parents started calling. The team had left suddenly, in the dead of night, on a government helicopter. There was no time for a debate.”

– “Fitness Function,” by Mark Jacobsen

This week the Art of the Future Project and the Center for Maritime and International Security are publishing short stories exploring the future of naval warfare in an era of AI and autonomous machines. Not only did the finalists submit exceptionally insightful stories  but the entire field of 15 entries are of such high quality that CIMSEC will be publishing them all. The winner and runner-up will be announced November 8; they will receive a cash prize of $500 and $250, respectively.

Judging was conducted in two rounds. The first round was done by Sally DeBoer, President of CIMSEC; James Hasik, a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council; and Claude Berube, an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy and author of the Connor Stark series of novels. These judges submitted their top choices for a final round of judging by August Cole and Peter Singer, co-authors of Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, and Larry Bond, co-author with Tom Clancy of Red Storm Rising and the author of numerous bestsellers, including this year’s Red Phoenix Burning and Fatal Thunder: A Jerry Mitchell Novel.

To read “Fitness Function” and the other stories, check out the CIMSEC contest page.