Defense Technology Foresight

Futurology for Defense and Security

Developing and procuring defense equipment can take years, or even decades. Nevertheless, this equipment still needs to be state of the art. Comprehensive foresight into possible future technological developments can make it significantly easier to overcome this contradiction in defense research and technology (R&T) planning.

Since its foundation, the main aim of Fraunhofer INT has been to support decision-making for the German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) and its subordinate departments — the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and the German Bundeswehr Planning Office (PlgABw) — in all matters relating to technological development and its implications for R&T planning. All work within the scope of this basic mandate is bundled into the Defense Technology Foresight (WZA) business unit.

The business unit’s technology-oriented futurology generates decision-making knowledge about probable scientific and technical future developments and their potential relevance to defense and military applications. In particular, this includes the early detection of new technological developments within a technology scanning and monitoring system designed as a 360° technology radar, as well as the identification of associated opportunities and risks for defense and security.

The team is made up of researchers from all relevant scientific and technical disciplines with many years of practical experience in futurology. Thanks to just as many years of close cooperation with the BMVg and its subordinate agencies, WZA also has in-depth knowledge of structures, processes and requirements in the defense sector. This means that research results can be optimally tailored to client needs. Regular exchanges of information through national and international cooperations, as well as internal peer review procedures, ensure the quality of our own processes and results. As WZA staff are always participating in relevant national and international R&T committees (EDA, NATO) and working on projects for the BMVg, BAAINBw, PlgABw and for the EDA, EU Commission and comparable European cooperation partners, the business unit’s services are nationally established and internationally recognized.

The business unit’s central product is the “Defense Technologies Forecast (WTV)”, which continuously reports on current technology topics, focusing on research status, future potential and implications for R&T planning for BMVg and BAAINBw.

Qualitative future research in the business unit is supplemented by quantitative analyses where necessary. In particular, the development and use of the IT-supported research, bibliometrics and literature analysis system “Knowledge Analytics for Technology and Innovation (KATI)” at Fraunhofer INT should be mentioned here.

An overview of all services

  • Technology forecasting and foresight across the entire technological spectrum
  • Analysis of the potential defense and military relevance of new technologies, including, where appropriate, those for civil security
  • In-depth analyses of individual technology topics (description/demarcation, forecast, environment, consequences, recommendations for action) through desk research and using the KATI analysis tool developed at Fraunhofer INT.
  • Brief expert reports/ad hoc statements on individual technological topics
  • Technological evaluation/contributions to the development of capability requirements (military or relevant to civil security)
  • Technological assessment together with clients using various workshop methods (assessment gaming, war café, expert-moderated focus group workshops)
  • Analyses of international R&T planning and strategies, as well as international collaborations and cooperation opportunities, planning assessment of technologies, R&T country reports
  • Customized result transfer formats (report formats, workshops, lectures) for optimal further processing of our results within client processes