After leaving government in 2000, Mr. Leon Fuerth established the Project on Forward Engagement © at the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. The central premise of Forward Engagement is that there is an accelerating rate of societal change at the global and national levels, which, in the aggregate is overwhelming the planning and decision-making systems upon which American governance depends. In order to compensate for the increasing complexity of events, and to offset the diminishing time for response, Forward Engagement called for developing advanced foresight techniques, to be integrated into the "legacy" policy systems.
More recently, Mr. Fuerth has extended Forward Engagement by adding the concept of "Anticipatory Governance": an operational system linking advanced foresight processes, networked policy machinery in government, and a feedback mechanism to harvest and apply the lessons of experience. Forward Engagement has also evolved into a "whole of governance" approach, requiring an expanded definition of national security. This redefinition requires that defense against physical threat should be viewed as a subset within a larger construct, having to do with sustaining the foundations of American power and influence.
Mr. Fuerth"s work at the National Defense University focuses on the following objectives:
- Develop and apply organized foresight to governance, including both the executive and legislative branches.
- Engage scholars and policy leaders in discussions of these themes.
- Promote decisions in the Executive Branch such as the following:
- A decision to support the creation of a strategic planning center inside the office of the president
- A decision to use existing authorities to create real whole of government operation
- A decision to develop follow-on reforms for the executive agencies
- A decision to develop training for the civil services
- Promote decisions in the congress such as the following:
- Decision to explore reestablishing the Office of Technological Assessment (OTA) or similar mechanism (e.g., Clearinghouse for the Future)
- Institute planning cycles
- Enact/implement existing rules for foresight
More information about Anticipatory Governance and Forward Engagement ©, including Leon Fuerth's publications and information about his GW graduate seminar course on Forward Engagement, is available at www.forwardengagement.org.