This article focuses on scenarios for war. It explains first why scenarios need to be mutually exclusive. Then it provides logical templates for building scenarios dealing with war. Finally it offers an updated bibliography of scenarios for Syria over time.

This text is part of a series that seeks to practically speed and ease the methodology to analyse future security threats, including scenario-building, yet without sacrificing quality. Throughout this series we thus share ways to fulfil the challenging criteria demanded by our time for future and risk analysis.

We clarified with the previous article the approach and mindset for the building of scenarios. Now, we address the practical part, how to concretely help speed the process of scenarios-building using logical ideal-type categories. Here, we focus on scenarios for war. With the next article, we move to scenarios for situations qualified as non-violent crises.

Mutually exclusive scenarios

As a preamble, it is necessary to emphasize a crucial rule. To quote Glenn and The Futures Group International:

“When a set of scenarios is prepared, each scenario usually treats the same or similar parameters, but the evolution and actual value of the parameters described in each scenario are different.”

Glenn, Jerome C. and The Futures Group International, “Scenarios,” p.4

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Featured image: 3 Possible scenarios of the Soviet invasion of Iran from the same CIA estimate 1985 by Central Intelligence Agency Office of Public Affairs Washington, D.C.  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Published by Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the President/CEO of The Red Team Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for international relations, national and international security issues. Her current focus is on the war in Ukraine, international order and the rise of China, the overstepping of planetary boundaries and international relations, the methodology of SF&W, radicalisation as well as new tech and security.

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  1. Thank you for this interesting assessment, very useful for a better understanding of war developments. You could also make a similar analysis for potential reasons for going to war.

  2. Helene hi, in your earlier posts, do you cover why you are doing this, for example, in order to force structure or to prosecute a campaign. It looks very useful but my interest lies in Australia’s situation where the development of scenarios might be used to test force structures that are developed to cover the unpredictable. Hope that makes sense. Rgds Jim

    1. Hi Jim,
      In the first post of the series I indeed explain why I am revisiting the methodology. Those scenarios are meant to uncover possible futures for specific issues. Thus you should be able – if i understand you well – to use the methodology to develop scenarios that will then be “used against” different force structures. This should give you weak and strong points. By force structure do you mean military? If yes, then it seems to me that the key point, before to elaborate the scenarios, is to identify all possible issues where forces could/should be employed, thus to use the Australian defense and security perspective etc.
      I hope I answered your question,
      All the best

  3. Helene: I really appreciate reviewing the work posted on this site. Today I was especially pleased to have been exposed to the work of Charles W. Taylor–very helpful to my research and approach to scenario development!

    Happy New Year!

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