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May 19, 2016

“The Mad Scientist Initiative: An Innovative Way of Understanding the Future Operational Environment” (Torchbearer Issue Paper, May 2016) begins with a brief discussion of the myriad and growing threats facing our nation today: diverse current and potential adversaries, fiscal constraints and continually increasing avenues of danger as technology develops. Mad Scientist, organized by the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, provides a continuous dialogue with academia, industry and government on the innovations needed for the future operational environment. The Army organizes regular conferences that tap into a broad range of expertise about future trends in technology and the human dimension, resulting in key findings and recommendations that are then incorporated into Army concepts, documents and assessments to ensure superiority over potential adversaries. The driving principle behind this initiative is that thinking through the unfamiliar and the unlikely results in agile and adaptive solutions for a broad range of future contingencies. As the Army faces unparalleled complexities in the future operating environment, initiatives such as Mad Scientist—supported by the timely and predictable funding necessary to their success—can ensure not only the future readiness of the Army but also the future readiness of the entire joint force.