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NDC - Research NDC Web site – Research –About the Research Division

About the Research Division

Just like NATO as a whole, the NDC Research Division has entered a new era. As NATO’s think tank, we boost Alliance capacity to assess the future through both innovative content and stakeholder engagement, by teaching strategic foresight, supporting “futures literacy” in NATO, and organizing scenario-based exercises.  To continue our mission assisting NATO’s leaders in their decision-making, we are adapting what we work on, how we work on these things, and how we deliver them to our audience.

What we work on is becoming more actionable. As such, we are moving from academic knowledge production to policy-oriented strategic analysis. We aim to increase NATO’s range of policy options, prepare for unavoidable issues, and alert audiences to problems that are overlooked.

How we work is changing, too. We are leveraging artificial intelligence and new types of data to provide for novel methods, enhance collaboration and widen the scope of our research ambitions. We are a small team covering a wide range of uncertainties facing the Alliance. In this effort, we use in-house expertise on Russia, the Middle East and cyber issues, deploy strategic-foresight methods, and pursue AI-assisted research, big data solutions and scenario wargaming.

Finally, we are adapting how we deliver our findings. Those who we serve are immersed in a dense information environment, driving our efforts towards innovative approaches to communication through new accessible formats and digital outputs that can effectively deliver our research.

Our research contribution

The NDC Research Division has identified a niche within NATO’s broader community of reflection focused on the time horizon from four to seven years out, set at the strategic level, and with a sharp emphasis on serving officials in NATO and its member states, first and foremost.

Our research is forward-looking, NATO-actionable, original and evidence-based. We contribute to NATO’s 2030 agenda by utilizing foresight techniques, evaluating future scenarios and supporting Alliance preparedness. Our role is to advise, to enlarge the array of policy options and to draw attention to aspects hitherto neglected.

Our role in education

We also have an essential educational role within the NDC: we assist in the development of curricula, we lecture, and we support College activities. The NDC, its staff and its Course Members are as much our audience as leaders across the Alliance.

When we equip Course Members with a strategic-foresight toolkit, we are assisting their skills development, enabling future NATO leaders with new ways of problem-framing and problem-solving to handle the issues that the Alliance is yet to face. When we support NATO’s decision-makers, present and future, we help make the Alliance safer.

What we work on

The War Series The Strategy Series The Future Series The Hindsight Series

The War Series: focuses on possible trajectories of ongoing or possible future conflicts, including how and where actors fight.

The Strategy Series: provides the platform for concepts, doctrines, strategies, or other frameworks that leaders and states use to make sense of how to deal with a larger goal or problem.

The Future Series: zeroes in on possible future developments that matter to NATO outside of specific wars and conflicts.

The Hindsight Series: looks at past futures and what we can learn from them to inform our own foresight analysis.


Florence Gaub (FRA/DEU), PhD
Director, Research Division

Rome, May 2024