What does the future of the operational battlefield look like? More importantly, can we forecast imminent threats to get ahead of our adversaries?

The Army Mad Scientist Initiative is a U.S. Army program and a community of action that continually explores the future through collaborative partnerships and continuous dialogue with academia, industry and government.

Luke Shabro is the Deputy Director of the Mad Scientist Initiative with the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and joins the podcast to talk about his journey to becoming a mad scientist, challenges to verifying authenticity posed by AI or other emerging technology, and what jobs may look like as a part of this. He is a former intelligence analyst and instructor, and is a futurist hoping to describe the environment in what lies ahead in the threat landscape.


What is TRADOC’s Mad Scientist Initiative, what stakeholders are involved, and what sparked the implementation of the program? Shabro tells us the history and some events that forced the U.S. Army to collaborate with tech giants outside of the military complex.

It’s difficult to imagine future threats and know if they really are the direction of the world in practice in years ahead – how does the group validate or simulate these future scenarios?

Could you elaborate on the collaboration between government, industry, and academia? Why is this so important for the US in positioning ourselves against adversary threats?


Shabro’s background was in military intelligence before he made the switch to something so theoretical in discovering or imagining what the future of emerging tech looks like. He was no stranger to working in a SCIF 100% of the work week, but for any cleared intelligence analysts looking to pivot their career, Shabro’s story should show how you can make this happen successfully.

A lot of this ‘imagination’ within the Army Mad Scientist program is happening on the unclassified level -at about 80%. Shabro discusses what this could mean for the future of the civilian landscape working outside the traditional SCIF environment. Especially after COVID-19, many cleared personnel are interested in remote or hybrid roles that allow them to spend more time with windows.

For the future of jobs in national security, the joint agency (in and outside the defense sector) collaboration lends insight into what kind of jobs will be available in AI, machine learning, or other emerging tech.

The Army Mad Scientist Initiative’s 2022 conference “Back to the Future: Using History to Forecast” will be taking place November 8-9 at the National Museum of the United States Army – many can tune in to the live stream as there is limited capacity for the event. This event will feature world-renowned expert speakers and panelists from industry, tech, academia, and the U.S. military and other government agencies discussing how history and experience inform and shape our future thinking and decision-making on critical issues. These historians, futurists, and thought leaders will converge backcasting with futurecasting to provide penetrating insights on Army people, materiel, readiness, and doctrine and concepts initiatives.


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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸