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Unified Quest is the Army Chief of Staff's annual Title 10 Future Study Plan or FSP designed to examine issues critical to current and future force development. It is the Army's primary mechanism for exploring enduring strategic and operational challenges and operations in the future environment. The annual study integrates issues and insights into concept and capability development programs through seminars, workshops, symposia, and wargames. Outcomes inform the Army, the Training and Doctrine Command, and Army Capabilities Integration Center campaign plans, the Army Strategic Planning Guidance, and CSA initiatives. In addition, the FSP develops regular input to Army Warfighting Challenges.

UQ 12 Intent

Assist Army leaders to direct efforts to ensure the Army remains prepared for current operations while transitioning to a force prepared for national security challenges of 2020 and beyond.

Key Tasks

- Evaluate the Army Concept Framework in alternative futures for sufficiency and recommend revisions for subsequent concept updates

- Examine and refine the Strategic Narrative for the Army based on a 2020 operational environment assessment and national strategy demands

- Determine how to improve future Army capabilities for combined arms maneuver and wide area security in the context of Unified Operations and a strategy of prevention

- Determine ways and means the Army can develop future enabling capabilities (e.g., robotics, operations energy) to meet operational demands of 2020 and beyond

- Assess home station training and readiness challenges, and explore capabilities for a "revolution in training" for an adaptable Army fighting as part of a joint force in expeditionary conditions

- Examine the issues and challenges in adaptability and "excellence in small tactical units"

Alternative Futures Symposium

The Alternative Futures Symposium provided the Army the opportunity to think broadly and develop a plausible strategic landscape out to 2028, through waypoints in 2015 and 2020, utilizing key indicators that might shape the direction of the future. Working groups evaluated trends to create this landscape using multidisciplinary teams (academic, U.S. and foreign military, U.S. government civilians) and assessed the potential risks and opportunities to U.S. national interests in this future.


- Stagnant western economies and stronger Asian economies will cause changes in the world alignment.

- The Chinese economy overtakes that of the United States, and India gains on both.

- Full U.S. economic recovery will occur no earlier than 2020.


- The rise of Brazil, China, and India, as well as accelerating global population growth, will continue to tax the finite supply of natural resources (water, timber, agricultural products, minerals, and fossil fuel).

- Disproportionate lack of resources in countries experiencing accelerated population growth.

- Increased competition will precipitate ad hoc coalitions.

- Environmental exhaustion will spur mass migration resulting in societal instability.

- The demand for energy will increase in the future as populations migrate to urban areas.

Information Technology

- The emergence of social media and the ability to deliver an organization's message from any location makes information operations increasingly complicated and more critical.

- Social media allows groups with concerns about global conditions to be heard worldwide.

Religious and Political Alignments

- The impact of the Arab Spring will result in the emergence of new democracies around the world.

- The variable will be whether the emerging democracies from the Arab Spring survive or devolve into radical theocracies such as the Iran model, causing further instability.

Key Take-Aways

- As the world population grows, increased global competition for affordable finite resources, notably energy and rare earth materials, could fuel regional conflict.

- Water is the new oil. Scarcity will confront regions at an accelerated pace in this decade.

- Super-empowered individuals will have the capacity for wide-spread influence and the ability to change local and state events.

- Tight monetary policy, infrastructure enhancements, and advanced technology investments will set conditions for economic recovery in 2020-2028.

- U.S. retrenchment, if it occurs, will be a transient state.

- The United States will retain relative supremacy but by a smaller margin, requiring selective strategic choices.

- Land power is required for sustainable solutions, to pursue national interests, and to demonstrate resolve.

- Technological advancements through 2028 are expected to increase and impact all facets of life.

- Dynamic changes in the Islamic world will continue.

What This Means to the Army

- Impact to operating and training budgets with significant decline in force structure increasing demand on Special Operations Forces and General Purpose Forces and requiring greater efficiency.

- High operational tempo for Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves.

- Increased emphasis on engagement to preserve access and prevent conflict.

- Partnerships expand from traditional allies to include non-traditional non-state partners.

- Increasing use of information technology and virtual training with associated Research and Development.

- Increased personnel costs strain acquisition and modernization efforts.