The Art Of The Future Project


A world in which artists — writers, illustrators, directors, videographers — and creativity enjoy a valued place in the international security establishment’s planning and preparation for the future of technological, social, political and economic change; in which unconventional, imaginative thinking and expression contribute meaningfully to the study and professional conduct of diplomacy, the creation of technology and domestic policy and national engagement abroad; in which future-oriented fiction, film and games hold a regular place on official reading lists.


The Art of the Future Project is driven by the Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center on International Security’s mandate to advance thinking and planning for the future international security environment. The project’s core mission is to cultivate a community of interest in works and ideas arising from the intersection of creativity and expectations about how emerging heroes and antagonists, disruptive technologies, and novel cultural and economic concepts may animate tomorrow’s world. The online platform for this community is The Art of the Future website. The project will curate artistic renderings of the future through crowd-sourced creative challenges, and will publish  these works to inform official perspectives on emerging international security issues. The project also will cultivate an audience within the traditional international security community for this creative approach to understanding, and preparing for, an increasingly uncertain future.


In 2017 and 2018, the project will:

  • Develop and support the community of future-oriented writers and creative talent in and around the US and allied national security community.
  • Support the Atlantic Council Transatlantic Security, Middle East Peace and Security, and Foresight, Strategy and Risks (FSR) initiatives.
  • Engage government and military programs to develop foresight and creative programming, including the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, the Air Force Air University, the US Army TRADOC Mad Scientist program, among others.
  • Host live events in Washington to connect policymakers and creative professionals.
  • Moderate a website and engage in ongoing social media outreach with new audiences.
  • Employ regular crowd-sourcing initiatives for creative visual art and writing contests.


Atlantic Council Non-Resident Senior Fellow August Cole directs The Art of the Future project. He is a writer, consultant and analyst. His first novel, GHOST FLEET, co-written with Peter W. Singer, was published in 2015. He is a former journalist who covered the defense industry for The Wall Street Journal. See full bio.

The Art of the Future Project is supervised and guided by Steven Grundman, the M.A. and George Lund fellow for emerging defense challenges with the Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. His practice addresses over-the-horizon challenges facing the transatlantic defense establishment, its militaries, ministries, and industries. He is the former head of the aerospace and defense practice at Charles River Associates, and has served in senior civilian Defense Department positions, as a foreign service officer in the State Department, and as an officer in the US Army. See full bio.

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