Back to the Future: Counterfactuals and Scenarios in Defense Research and Planning


Defense planning and research has to engage with questions about future developments quite often. Solutions to these questions tend to be hazy due to (I) the missing data, or due to (II) the necessity to build long-term prognoses, which are – by their very nature – only remotely related to any current or historical empirical cases. Under these conditions counterfactuals and their specific – future- oriented – form: scenarios, offer a valuable tool. Nevertheless, counterfactuals and scenarios, due to their limited empirical embeddedness, demand explicit and rigorous application of a theory. The article highlights often overlooked resemblance of scenarios and counterfactuals and derives from this fact some methodological implications for scenario building enterprise. Beyond that, it aims at demonstrating possible contributions as well as obstacles inherent for the use of scenarios and counterfactuals in our defense policy debates.

Jan Kofroň, PhD, born in 1984, graduated from the faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague (2008), where he also earned his PHD (2012) in the field of political and regional geography. He works as an assistant professor and deputy head of the department of Political studies at the faculty of Social sciences at the Charles university in Prague. His research and pedagogical activities revolve around geopolitics, methodology and military affairs.


Country: Czech Republic


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