“Foresight is not a mysterious gift given at birth. It is the product of particular ways of thinking, collecting information, updating beliefs. These thought habits can be learned and cultivated by any intelligent, thoughtful and determined person. – Philippe Tetlock
With that quote from Phillip Tetlock in mind, I offer this next version of the Leadership Library Additions to cultivate our thinking. Being a big fan of the Freakanomics Podcast, I came across a episode anticipate the future thanks to a framework called “superforecasting”. Superforecasting is a versatile, data-driven methodology that helps us analyze risk, create prediction models, and understand how our experiences and intellect produce bias.
On a note related to “superforecast”, watch Challenger: the last flight through the lens of Action order B. This docuserie aims to avoid group thinking and the very real danger of not empowering people. Consider how NASA’s culture and bureaucratic processes made sense of cultural risk and biases, and how this contributed to the Space Shuttle disaster.
Super forecasting is also useful in understanding and predicting the behavior of our strategic competitors. A Brief History of Russia: How the Greatest Country in the World Was Invented, from Pagans to Putin, provides a concise account of Russian history that will provide all aviators with a historical overview of our strategic competitor. In the same way, Laying the groundwork – Competition with China, hosted by Dr Brendan Mulvaney, Director of the Air Force’s Institute for Chinese Aerospace Studies (CASI), provides another vital foundation that helps us understand competition with China through a comprehensive framework history, theory and doctrine.
Last summer, I traveled to France to meet the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and Space. While I was there I was presented with a table by Eugene Bullard, the United States’ 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 PAD VII C1 aircraft, written in French, is particularly profound: “Tout Le Sange Qui Coule Est Route”, which in English translates to “All the blood that flows is red”. His courage, determination and resilience to overcome a life of challenges touch me deeply – I hope you do too.
You can find this media and more on my newly updated CSAF Leadership Library website.
CHARLES Q. BROWN, JR.
General, US Air Force
Editor’s Note: The CSAF Leadership Library is a fluid collection of media selected by General Brown that evolves as new ideas are published, recorded and debated. New entries will be added periodically throughout the year.