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Forward Engagement Integrating Forecasting with Policymaking

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1 Forward Engagement Integrating Forecasting with Policymaking
Either the future is really murky Or, I must be going blind! Forward Engagement Integrating Forecasting with Policymaking Spring 2004 Elliott School of International Affairs The George Washington University

2 Section I: Introduction
Presented by: Steve Cahall

3 Introduction “A plan is nothing - planning is everything”
Why Think about the Future? Increasing rate of historical change. Governments need to anticipate and respond early in order to effectively manage change. Need to institutionalize forecasting as a regular part of policy making process. What is Forward Engagement? Systematically thinking about the future. Enabling public policy to engage the future sooner rather than later. Envision a desirable future and actively manage change. NARRATIVE STORY: Examine list Thirty years ago who anticipated the fall of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the seemingly infinite Grand Banks cod fishery, the development of AIDS, or the opening up of a vast hole in the stratospheric ozone layer over the Antarctic? Well-grounded psychological and social-psychological research shows that human beings have, on average, an optimistic bias when it comes to assessing both threats and our efficacy in response to those threats. In other words, we tend to underestimate the risks or threats in our surroundings, and we tend to overestimate our ability to respond to those threats. Forward Engagement is about long-term thinking and strategic planning  positioning

4 Introduction What are the stakes?
Global leadership of the United States Liberal democratic system Survival of the International State System Environmental Sustainability Societal Stability Survival of Humanity We can't possibly know the future's precise contours. Human affairs are too sensitive to serendipity and chance, to fad, to the whims of leadership and to the unexpected advent of new technologies. Within our complex and turbulent social, technological, and ecological systems, small events can have macro consequences, while big events can turn out to have far less consequence than we anticipated. Minimize costs and maximize benefits Stability is a worthwhile end because it accompanies prosperity and circumscribes conflict

5 Generate Policy Options
Introduction What have we done in Class? Practice Forecasting Identify FCIs COPY from other file Discuss four spheres as part of class: S & T, Econ, Security, Governance Generate Policy Options Build Institutions

6 Future Contingencies of Interest (FCIs)
New developments in any human endeavor with profound implications for society. Magnitude and velocity necessitate action now to affect their occurrence and outcome. FCI: 2 or 3 decades ago using an airplane as a missile of destruction would have been an FCI, Soviet collapse, etc.

7 Future Contingencies of Interest
Security Nanotechnology Genetics Environment Energy Disease Artificial Intelligence Economics High technology textiles Energy Rejection of Capitalism by developing world India China Environment Developing countries default on IMF loans Security Increased asymmetric warfare Geopolitical shifts and alliances Revolutionary weapons development Surveillance Demographics State disintegration Governance Internet governance Water Scarcity Mass privatization Space colonization Regionalism Disease State disintegration

8 Nodes Dynamic points of intersection among FCIs.
Developments in one area have ripple effects in other areas. Cause and effect operate in a positive feedback loop. NODES Humankind is creating economic, social, technological, and ecological systems that are planetary in scope. This is the true character of "globalization." It's not only about greater economic interdependence. It's a much broader phenomenon -- a relentless increase in the connectedness, complexity, pace, and scope of all humankind's activities. The systems we’ve created and now live within are often tightly linked in ways we don’t remotely understand. Taken together, they are potentially highly unstable.   We aren't thinking in terms of simultaneity, because we tend to stovepipe our problems, just as the class separation would suggest. The current system treats challenges -- from climate change to international economic instability to terrorism -- in isolation, and does not to see the whole picture. key institutions at the global and national levels may simply be overwhelmed by the rush of events; these institutions may not be able to stay on top of, let alone manage, the tangled and converging pressures they face. several of the FCIs will reach an effective activation point at the same time, causing entirely unpredictable cascades through our tightly coupled and hyper-complex global systems.

9 Key Nodal Players Technology Energy Demographics Environment Health
Multipolarity North-South Divide COPY from other file But we can still, I believe, sketch a vision of the future. Such a vision must be derived from clear assumptions about the deep trends and forces that will shape humankind's path and that will define the general boundaries within which our precise future will lie. We may not know exactly what things will look like, but we can have an intuition about what is probable and what is wholly unlikely.

10 Section II Institutionalizing Forward Engagement
Presented by: Melissa Nachatelo

11 Case for a Planning Institution
Increasing Interconnectivity of developments in Human Affairs. Future Planning within government highly disaggregated. Lack of strong directional pull that imparts coherence to US policies concerning the future. Government Policy lags development rather than lead.

12 National Commission on Strategic Planning (CSP)
CSP Mandate Identifying FCIs pertinent to U.S. interests Coordinating government efforts to implement a national strategy for U.S. policy. Provides input to executive and legislature to facilitate forward-leaning policy.

13 National Commission on Strategic Planning
Characteristics Centralized, Coordinative institution charged with long-term forecasting and policy planning. Joint Commission serves both the Executive and Legislative branches of government. Plays an advisory role. Composed of Political Appointees, executive staff and Subject Matter Experts Life of the Commission automatically renewed

14 National Commission on Strategic Planning
White House / NSC Executive Delegates $$$ Congress Commissioners Congressional Delegates External Relations FCI Generation and Analysis & Policy Options Government Dept / Agencies INPUT / COORDINATION INPUT / COORDINATION Think Tanks, NGOs, etc.

15 Key Functions of the CSP
Identify FCIs. Robust understanding of the issues and interactions. Identify policy options. Provide coherence to overall U.S. Policy by working with Executive and the Legislative. Conduct periodic review of policy options and assess impact of policies. Participates in the executive budget and program review process.

16 Section III: CSP Structure
Presented by: Sean Connell

17 To Think Tanks, NGOs, Gov’t Depts & Agencies, etc.
CSP Organization Board of Commissioners Executive Staff Executive Staff FCI Generation and Analysis & Policy Options Task Forces Task Forces Task Forces To Think Tanks, NGOs, Gov’t Depts & Agencies, etc.

18 Board of Commissioners
Chief Commissioner “I’m the Big Boss Lady” Nine Commissioners 5 appointed by President Only 3 from the same party At least 2 private citizens 2 appointed by Senate 2 appointed by House 3 year terms Staggered appointments 8 Commissioner

19 Functions of the Board of Commissioners
Chief Commissioner Appointed by the President Commissioners Responsible for crystallizing issues Conceptualizing policy options for congress and the executive

20 Executive Staff Executive Director Deputy Director
Director of External Relations General Counsel Congressional Liaisons Govt. Agency Liaisons

21 Functions of Executive Staff
The Executive Director Reports to the Board of Commissioners Responsible for managerial, operational and administrative aspects The Deputy Director Reports to the Executive Director Represents the Commission in the budget and program review process Director of External Relations Reports to the Deputy Director Main point of contact for all Executive, Legislative and Government Agencies Public outreach coordinator

22 Functions of Executive Staff (Cont.)
General Counsel Advisor on Legal issues Government Agency Liaisons Works with the Director of External Relations Liaise with Executive Agencies Congressional Liaisons Reports to the Director of External Relations

23 Task Forces Public Health Deputy Director Science & Tech T.F.
Governance T.F. Economic T.F Security T.F.

24 Presented by: Emily Waechter
Section IV: Case Study Presented by: Emily Waechter

25 A Case Study in Genetics
Objective To trace an example through the Commission’s policy-making process. Step 1: Identify the Issues Uses roundtables, Delphi method, expert consultations to generate ideas. Perceives that developments in Genetic Engineering could have positive and negative consequences. Illustrate how the Commission operates Trace genetic engineering as an FCI through the process by which it is extracted from the cacophony of issues and then brought to the attention of policymakers Step 1: Identify the Issue Using forecasting methods such as Delphi Method, Roundtable discussions, and consultations genetic engineering is identified as an issue of significant magnitude—meaning it has far-reaching consequences—to merit closer attention.

26 Understanding the Issues
Step 2: Research Generates a report based on input from think-tanks and research institutions. Considers socio-economic benefits and fallout of genetic engineering. Report projects current trends, such as population. Also considers possible wild-card scenarios, like new forms of biological weapons. Allows commission to develop a full understanding of issues. Step 2: Research Goal is to develop in-depth knowledge and provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue. Draw think-tanks, research institutions and private companies into the process—their participation essentially forms the backbone of ongoing analysis/discussion and the final output of policy recommendations. Their contribution leads to a thorough, scientific study and report of genetic engineering. The report includes projections, scenarios, and potential wildcards. It also addresses economic, social, ethical, environmental and security implications (both positive and negative) including: In terms of health there is the potential for genetic engineering to cure diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS At the same time, tt could be used as a tool of discrimination The report will also elaborate on the ethical implications of human cloning and germ-line engineering; the security implications of the development of new biological weapons (and their use, which could be considered a wild-card scenario) In addition, it will discuss the potential for advances in the biotech field to enhance the economy, but also to change the fabric of society and alter the economy with the increase in the human lifespan that could be created (demographics). The relative gains of advances in biotech in terms of the North-South divide also be considered. Overall, scenarios are developed that indicate possible future impacts of genetic on international and domestic societies and governance.

27 Translating Issues into Policy
Step 3: Developing Policy Options Science/Technology Task Force forms suggestions for addressing issues. Genetic Engineering Policies could include: Complete ban on all cloning Increased federal funds for R&D in genetics Constructing a regulatory agency to govern genetically-modified foods. Increasing the retirement age if life expectancy increases Step 3: Developing Policy Options The Science and Technology Task Force works collaboratively with the other Task Forces to review implications of genetic engineering and develop sets of policy options (along with their attendant scenarios). The “attendant” scenarios are important because they eventually provide the Commissioners and policymakers with visions of what tracks policies could take. Potential policies for genetic engineering could include: A ban on human cloning and germ-line engineering coordinated and enforced universally. (Positive scenario—able to control science; negative scenario—this could be developed in the “black market” so to speak with no controls, which could make it more dangerous. Additionally, other countries may surpass the U.S. in these capabilities—U.S. loose any lead it enjoys in sci-tech. An increase in federal investment in research and education to support genetics research (positive scenario—maintain or reclaim U.S. leadership in the field; enable U.S. to shape research and guidelines to a greater extent; negative scenario—the research ends up fruitless, waste of money and research, U.S. funds tied to negative developments in genetics) Reconsider the retirement age and the system of social welfare (positive scenario—with longer life, keep workforce in service longer, especially with declining birth rates; negative scenario—employer responsibility to workers increases, drawing on their resources, longer-life not necessarily mean healthier life, so employers may be faced with higher insurance premiums) Install a regulatory framework to oversee research in genetically enhanced plants and animals to ensure there is no irreversible damage to the environment (positive scenario—research that could harm the environment is undertaken under extreme regulated atmosphere; negative scenario—people operate outside the boundaries) Other policy options could be: Modification of intellectual property rights laws to encourage private investment in genetic research Submit legislation preventing discrimination based on genetics, similar to ban on discrimination based on nationality, sex, race, or ethnicity

28 Enhancing Policies Step 4: Infusion into the Policy Process
Recommendations considered by Congress and President to develop legislation. Policies should “sunset” to promote periodic review President can work to achieve international support for policies. Step 5: Research Continues Commission monitors progress in genetic engineering. Has policy had the desired effect? Are new issues emerging? Continuous process of updating policies. Step 4: Infusion into the policy process Commissioners interact with government agency and congressional liaisons and Agency heads to discuss results and solicit feedback (side note: External relations gets fed issues from liaisons, but commissioners can still work with these liaisons, one method of interaction could be hearings…) Need to assess political and institutional restraints Commissioners present policy options to Congress (in this case targeting science, health and foreign relations committees) and Executive Branch (mainly through the NSC, Science Council would also be included. Desirable Outcome: Development of forward thinking, yet flexible legislation that includes sunset clauses (it is important to periodically reevaluate the issue as well as the policy that has been implemented) The President can work on an international level perhaps to secure a universal ban on human cloning or to establish universal guidelines. Respective agencies also receive the policy options with the supporting material generated by the Task Force so they can build awareness of future trends and interactions, and thus flexibility, into their organization and processes. Step 5: Continuing Research Science & Technology Task Force conducts periodic review of developments in genetics/genetic engineering The goal is to stay ahead of the curve, help policymakers lead/anticipate developments rather than react to them Always looking to question assumptions and see how new issues are impacting genetics Look for unintended consequences of policies Ongoing monitoring and activity may lead Commissioners to offer mid-course options for policy modification

29 Section V: Conclusion

30 Challenges Commission will require policymakers to buy into the benefits of long-range planning. There also must be some public support for the establishment and maintenance of the Commission. Long-range planning may be overshadowed by more immediate issues. CSP must remain non-partisan CSP’s recommendations may create disdain in agencies who are having budgets or programs cut. Liable to be ignored because of the lack of enforcement capabilities. As a high-profile government entity, the Commission will create a reputation. Establishment of a Commission must be preceded by a dynamic, educational PR/public information campaign to “sell” this type of organization and show that the benefits outweigh the costs (this campaign will have to target the public, as well as the government bureaucracies). For the Commission to be effective, it will require policymakers to buy into the benefits of long-range planning. May be a difficult sell because it is seen as a “jack of all trades and master of nothing,” which actually is the goal—it needs to be broad in scope to be able to capture complexity. Long-range planning may be overshadowed by more immediate issues such as unemployment, terrorism, the war in Iraq, and elections. It will be a challenge, and yet a necessity, for the organization to tie current policymaking to future trends and possibilities in order for decisionmakers to pay attention. It will be important to build recognition of policymakers as stewards of the future. CuSP must be non- (or bi-) partisan. Since the Commissioners are not elected officials this may be somewhat easier to do… Some of the reports/policy options generated by task forces may be contradictory to those developed by other task forces. While this will present a challenge to the smooth functioning of the organization, it is also a benefit because it will illuminate plausible futures for policymakers.

31 Conclusions As the 9/11 Commission has shown, there is a growing need for coordination and planning across government agencies. A need exists not only to prevent possible threats, but to foster future opportunities. An opportunity exists now to create an institution that will think about the future. At present, as we await the 9/11 Commission report and witness continued “surprises” in Iraq, circumstances could be ripe to institutionalize within the government a collaborative, coordinative organization dedicated to responsible analysis and consideration of future contingencies of interest with the goal of fostering a more prepared, integrative, and forward-looking policy process. CuSP will institutionalize, systematize the concept of surveying issues in relation to one another and detecting patterns of interaction, or nodes, that could lead to various futures. The Commission is designed to stay “ahead of the curve”—uncovering potential FCIs, demystifying at least some of their interactions, and making them accessible to policymakers through tying them to policy options and scenarios.

32 Conclusions Our current system is focused on specialized, reactive policy development. The CSP is the best way to institutionalize long-range planning in a way that will be available – but not intrusive to – the President and the Congress. Both legislative and executive branches will have a stake in its success. Drawing on the strength of the United States’ participative government, open society, and innovative private sector and building on the intellectual foundations of forecasting organizations already embedded in various government agencies, the government can infuse the decision-making process with keen foresight. CuSP will enable the United States to construct flexible, robust policies that take into account the United States unique national identity, enhance U.S. leadership, and further global and national security (defined broadly, not just in terms of defense) In addition, it will further develop the lens through which the U.S. government perceives and analyzes events, which ideally will lead to a mindset change so policymakers are careful not to get trapped in outdated paradigms. For example, in a globalized world where terrorists are “networked” and their organizations diffuse, scenarios and options revealed by CuSP may indicate to policymakers that approaching terrorism as a state-centric problem may not be effective. While there is contingency planning in government, it often does not reach the President—CuSP will institutionalize interdisciplinary “contingency planning” that reaches the Executive level through the NSC. Recognizing the importance of both congressional and presidential leadership, and the role of elected officials as stewards of the future, CuSP seeks to elevate long-term, complex strategic planning to a level that makes it accessible to both the executive and legislative branches of government, and indeed makes it necessary to their operation—they will both have a stake in CuSP’s success. CuSP provide U.S. with ability to develop an integrative, forward-engaged approach to policy development and implementation—giving decisionmakers enhanced ability to recognize/shape opportunity, manage change, and avert disaster.

33 Questions

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