Operational Art

The future ain’t what it used to be | The Interpreter

By The Cove April 1, 2020

"When we get through this present crisis, let’s not plan for futures we do not intend to meet, to produce long-term fig leaves for business-as-usual, plans written at such a level of generality that avoids responsibility, promising faulty futures that we know we will never see. By all means set long-term plans. But better to know what concrete actions you will do this year and then the next to get there."

The act of planning is part of the Army's DNA. We plan for current events and we plan for distant futures. Currently, much of the Army's future planning is focused on what it will look like in around 2028-2030. Yet, those of us who have been around long enough will remember when 2020 was the distant future. 

In this thought provoking article, The future ain’t what it used to be from The Interpreter, Gordon Peake and Christian Downie look back to some of the planning assumptions made in 2008 and explore just how unpredictable the future can be. A great read for planners and futurists alike.



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

Add new comment

Cove App


Fast access to The Cove anywhere, anytime. Additional feature of receiving notifications for new content.

Reflective Journal


Record your reflections in a structured way to improve your performance.