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Activity title

Establishment of a NATO Scenario Repository

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System Analysis and Studies

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Defense Planning, Scenarios


A scenario is a description of potential future conditions produced to inform decision-making under uncertainty. Originally developed to study military and security problems, scenarios are now widely used for strategic planning and assessment in businesses and other organizations, and increasingly to inform planning, analysis, and decision-making for environmental issues, including climate change (1) . A scenario is a coherent, internally consistent, and plausible description of a possible future state of the world (2) . A scenario is a story that describes a possible future. It identifies some significant events, the main actors and their motivations, and it conveys how the world functions. Scenarios can serve many purposes. They can help inform specific decisions, or can provide inputs to assessments, models, or other decision-support activities when these activities need specification of potential future conditions (3). Building and using scenarios can help people explore what the future might look like and the likely challenges of living in it (4). The term “scenario” is familiar to those involved in forecasting, but too few people are aware of what exactly a scenario is, or how it can best be developed and applied. Scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures. Each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold. A set of scenarios assists in the understanding of possible future developments of complex systems. Scenarios are possible future states of the world that represent alternative probable conditions under different assumptions. 1- Global – Change Scenarios: Their Development and Use, University of Michigan Law School, 2007 2- IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), 2001b: Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerability [McCarthy, J.J., O.F. Canziani, N.A. Leary, D.J. Dokken, and K.S. White. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 3- Global – Change Scenarios: Their Development and Use, University of Michigan Law School, 2007 4- Shell International, 2003: Scenarios: an Explorer’s Guide. Global Business Environment. www-static.shellthe .com/static/royal-en/downloads/ scenarios_explorersguide.pdf.


The objective of this research is to develop a repository of future scenarios with different detail levels that have common characteristics (including threats) for use in defense planning and capability development by NATO and nations. The analyst who uses this scenario repository may also find a chance to compare his or her analysis results. The proposed task group will first survey the current initiatives in this field (EU (6) , NCIA, ACT, etc) and develop some scenario standards for the scenario repository . The proposed task group should also develop a criteria framework for scenario management in the repository by providing some rules and information about the scenario context, who may use it, how the scenario may be used and with each aim. The task group should also provide advice on the environment that they use for scenario repository as well as an advice on how to setup such capability within NATO. 6 -


The activity will: • Review the current available repositories across NATO and the Nations • Develop a criteria for developing and establishing new Scenarios that would benefit the Nations based on the analysis of the existing repositories. • Explore the possibilities for sharing scenarios and creating this capability within NATO

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