The Secure Tomorrow Series is a strategic foresight capability focused on anticipating future risk drivers, critical uncertainties, and trends—such as aging infrastructure, global pandemics, and emerging technologies— to help enhanced organizational resiliency to be robust against future uncertainties. The second installment of the toolkit was made available this month.
The OODA team has participated in “wargame” and red team exercises for over 25 years ranging from traditional DoD Office of Net Assessment games to scenario planning for the Fortune 500. We have personally witnessed these exercises’ impact on establishing appropriate frameworks for thinking about future risks and opportunities. During one of our OODA Network monthly calls in 2021, members proposed that the OODA Network could be utilized for rapid wargaming on critical issues, with members suggesting the first be on the global computer chip supply chain.
In November 2021, A report was the outcome of our first OODA wargame, which we have branded as a Stratigame (Strategic Game), focusing on the global computer chip supply chain issues. Over 25 members of the OODA Network of Experts participated in this Stratigame where the OODA research team developed four scenarios and then led a structured discussion in which experts provided unique insights into potential impacts of these scenarios, adjacent risks, and opportunities, and recommended actions that would allow us to avoid the negative effects of a particular scenario or nudge us into a more favorable scenario.
Since the Stratigame report, we have returned to the foresight strategy and wargame disciplines, providing our membership with research and analysis from the global community of practitioners and thought leaders using these strategic foresight framework and methodology as their organization’s strategic toolkit for decision intelligence and risk awareness and mitigation.
In our monthly OODA Network Member meeting on a variety of issues of concern for our membership, OODA Network members express concern for the resources available to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to meet the challenges at hand. Having worked in both the federal government and the private sector, they know that cybersecurity tools available at scale matter. What are SMBs to do if they are cybersecurity resource-poor?
So too in the world of foresight strategy and scenario planning. Royal Dutch Shell and the U.S. Department of Defense are legendary purveyors of scenario planning tools and methodologies – but, again, at the corporate strategy and DoD budget scale. Done properly, foresight strategy can be time-consuming and, more importantly, requires a time commitment of human resources in a commitment to cross-functional insights. For SMBs, the tools feel out of reach in a very corporate sort of way.
In this context, we recognized instantly the level of sophistication and the value of a resourced first released in April 2022 by CISA’s National Risk Management Center. This first installment of the Secure Tomorrow Series Toolkit was designed “to assist stakeholders across the critical infrastructure community to self-facilitate and conduct strategic foresight activities that will enable them to derive actionable insights about the future, identify emerging risks, and develop risk management strategies that, if taken today, could enhance long-term critical infrastructure security and resilience to implement now.”
Central to the Secure Tomorrow Series effort is the selection of topics that are likely to have a highly disruptive impact across multiple National Critical Functions. To this end, the National Risk Management Center worked with subject matter experts from academia, think tanks, the private sector, and the National Labs to help build and refine the knowledge base that underlies the toolkit activities.
These free voluntary resources are available to stakeholders in every critical infrastructure sector. More specifically, the Toolkit will assist users in identifying and examining risk mitigation strategies, managing uncertainty, and encouraging strategic foresight methods in their long-term planning.
This first iteration of the Toolkit focused on three areas, which are very on topic for OODA Loop membership:
- Anonymity and privacy: Maintaining the balance between identity verification—for purposes such as voting, disease-related contact tracing, and law enforcement—and protecting anonymity is becoming increasingly challenging.
- Trust and social cohesion: Exploring how emerging risks to critical infrastructure and cybersecurity and potential mitigation strategies affect social cohesion—a sense of belonging within a community.
- Data storage and transmission: Accelerating rates of data creation and transmission places increasing importance on secure data storage and transmission.
The second installment of the toolkit was made available this month: “The Secure Tomorrow Series is a strategic foresight capability focused on anticipating future risk drivers, critical uncertainties, and trends—such as aging infrastructure, global pandemics, and emerging technologies— to help enhanced organizational resiliency to be robust against future uncertainties. Central to the effort is the selection of topics likely to have highly disruptive impact to multiple National Critical Functions (NCFs) in the next 3 to 7 years.
After the successful launch of the first iteration of the Secure Tomorrow Series Toolkit in 2022, CISA’s National Risk Management Center expanded the Toolkit by adding three new risk topics:
- Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs): BCIs provide a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device, for the purposes of either “reading from” or “writing to” the brain.
- Synthetic biology: The redesigning and harnessing of biological organisms to impart new or improved abilities and produce products.
- Quantum technologies: Technologies associated with understanding and manipulating quantum phenomena (such as entanglement and superposition) for acquiring, communicating, and processing information.
The Toolkit is a diverse array of interactive and thought-provoking products designed to assist critical infrastructure stakeholders understand how to use strategic foresight methods to identify emerging risks and potential risk management strategies to secure critical infrastructure systems in the long-term.”
Download/share the Secure Tomorrow Series Toolkit.
To learn more, visit the Secure Tomorrow Series webpage.
Additional OODA Loop Resources
Computer Chip Supply Chain Vulnerabilities: Chip shortages have already disrupted various industries. The geopolitical aspect of the chip supply chain necessitates comprehensive strategic planning and risk mitigation. See: Chip Stratigame
Embracing Corporate Intelligence and Scenario Planning in an Uncertain Age: Apart from traditional competitive challenges, businesses also confront external threats, many of which are unpredictable. This environment amplifies the significance of Scenario Planning. It enables leaders to envision varied futures, thereby identifying potential risks and opportunities. All organizations, regardless of their size, should allocate time to refine their understanding of the current risk landscape and adapt their strategies. See: Scenario Planning
Decision Intelligence for Optimal Choices: The simultaneous occurrence of numerous disruptions complicates situational awareness and can inhibit effective decision-making. Every enterprise should evaluate their methods of data collection, assessment, and decision-making processes. For more insights: Decision Intelligence.
Proactive Mitigation of Cyber Threats: The relentless nature of cyber adversaries, whether they are criminals or nation-states, necessitates proactive measures. It’s crucial to remember that cybersecurity isn’t solely the responsibility of the IT department or the CISO – it’s a collective effort that involves the entire leadership. Relying solely on governmental actions isn’t advised given its inconsistent approach towards aiding industries in risk reduction. See: Cyber Defenses
The Necessity of Continuous Vigilance in Cybersecurity: The consistent warnings from the FBI and CISA concerning cybersecurity signal potential large-scale threats. Cybersecurity demands 24/7 attention, even on holidays. Ensuring team endurance and preventing burnout by allocating rest periods are imperative. See: Continuous Vigilance
Track Technology Driven Disruption: Businesses should examine technological drivers and future customer demands. A multi-disciplinary knowledge of tech domains is essential for effective foresight. See: Disruptive and Exponential Technologies
Planning for a Continuous Pandemic Landscape: COVID-19’s geopolitical repercussions are evident, with recent assessments pointing to China’s role in its spread. Regardless of the exact origins, the same conditions that allowed COVID-19 to become a pandemic persist today. Therefore, businesses must be prepared for consistent health disruptions, implying that a substantial portion of the workforce might always operate remotely, even though face-to-face interactions remain vital for critical decisions. See: COVID Sensemaking
The Inevitable Acceleration of Reshoring and its Challenges: The momentum towards reshoring, nearshoring, and friendshoring signals a global shift towards regional self-reliance. Each region will emphasize local manufacturing, food production, energy generation, defense, and automation. Reshoring is a complex process, with numerous examples of failures stemming from underestimating intricacies. Comprehensive analyses encompassing various facets, from engineering to finance, are essential for successful reshoring endeavors. See: Opportunities for Advantage