Approximately 250 military and political leaders from NATO and Alliance Nations arrived to the small Belgian town of La Hulpe May 8 as Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (ACT) released the Final Report on its Multiple Futures Project (MFP) at a conference there.

The conference served to share the findings of the MFP final report, continuing the transparency and inclusiveness that has characterized the project from its inception; from the approach employed to the results achieved. The process involved representatives from 45 nations and more than 60 institutions, and brought more than 500 political, military, civil and economic experts to the table.

The necessity of a MFP-related study could not have come at a more appropriate time, explained NATO Deputy Secretary General the Honorable Claudio Bisogniero. “The timing of the project is very appropriate because it fits in perfectly with the work we are going to start on with the new Strategic Concept for the Alliance,” he said. “ACT could not have timed this project better. MFP does not pretend to be a crystal ball, but maps in a clear manner possible developments in order to broaden our understanding of what can happen in the world in terms of our collective security.”

“MFP is intellectually challenging,” said Italian Adm. Giampaola Di Paola, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee. “In the future, which such unpredictable challenges, we may not have the luxury of being able to adapt in time, so we need to be proactive and to position ourselves to minimize surprise. MFP provides the intellectual basis for us to move forward.”

The MFP study began in March 2008 as a comprehensive examination towards what the future could possibly look like in the year 2030. The study focused on four possible futures facing the Alliance:

  • Future One – Dark Side of Exclusivity. The Dark Side of Exclusivity describes how globalization, climate change, and the misallocation of resources significantly affect the capacity of states to maintain sovereignty.
  • Future Two – Deceptive Stability. Deceptive Stability highlights the requirement to manage the demographic shift resulting from aging populations and young migrants.
  • Future Three – Clash of Modernities. Clash of Modernities sketches a world where a strong belief in rationalism coupled with technological innovation has enabled advanced-network societies to connect virtually across the globe.
  • Future Four – New Power Politics. New Power Politics describes a growing absolute wealth, accompanied by the widespread proliferation of WMD/E. This future is characterized by power politics, but in a truly multi-polar world that is dominated by competing regional powers.

MFP examined common perceived threats to the populations of the Alliance, and found that the unpredictability and complexity of the future security environment will strain the Alliance’s most powerful tools: strategic unity of values and ideas, solidarity among Allies, burden-sharing, and commitment to its decisions. Additionally, the study found that no nation can meet the challenges alone, and the credibility and capability of the Alliance depend on every nation doing its part.

Full Report in PDF Format