“Foresight isn’t a mysterious gift bestowed at birth. It is the product of particular ways of thinking, of gathering information, of updating beliefs. These habits of thought can be learned and cultivated by any intelligent, thoughtful, determined person.” – Philip Tetlock
With this quote by Philip Tetlock in mind, I offer this next release of Leadership Library additions to cultivate our thinking. Being a huge fan of the Freakanomics podcast, I came across an episode anticipating the future through a framework called “superforecasting.” Superforecasting is a versatile and data-driven methodology that helps us analyze risk, create prediction models, and understand how our experiences and intellect produce bias.
On a related note to “superforecasting,” watch Challenger: The Final Flight through the lens of Action Order B. This docuseries is about avoiding groupthink and the very real danger of not empowering people. Consider how NASA’s culture and bureaucratic processes made sense of risk and cultural biases and how that contributed to the space shuttle catastrophe.
Superforecasting is also helpful in making sense of and predicting the behavior of our strategic competitors. A Short History of Russia: How the World’s Largest Country Invented Itself, from the Pagans to Putin, provides a concise account of Russia’s history that will equip all Airmen with historical insight into our strategic competitor. Similarly, Laying the Foundation-Competition with China, hosted by the Air Force’s own China Aerospace Studies Institute (CASI) Director Dr. Brendan Mulvaney, provides another critical foundation that helps us understand competition with China through a comprehensive framework of history, theory, and doctrine.
This past summer, I traveled to France to meet with the Chief of Staff of the French Air and Space Force. While there, I was presented with a painting of Eugene Bullard, America’s first African American military pilot. Eugene Bullard fought and flew as an American for France in the Lafayette Flying Corps during World War I. The inscription on Bullard’s SPAD VII C1 plane, written in French, is particularly profound: “Tout le Sange qui coule est rouge,” which in English translates to “All Blood That Flows Runs Red.” His courage, determination, and resilience in overcoming a lifetime of challenges resonate with me deeply–I hope it does with you as well.
You can find this media and more on my newly updated CSAF Leadership Library website.
CHARLES Q. BROWN, JR.
General, U.S. Air Force
Chief of Staff