How do you avoid repeating the mistakes of the future? By studying the mistakes of the future — at least that’s the premise of an excerpt from Robert Hranek’s short story entitled “Angry Engineer” posted to Army Training and Doctrine Command’s blog called the Mad Scientist Laboratory.

The story, which was submitted for the blog’s science fiction writing contest, follows hostility between the fictional nations of Otso, a close ally of the U.S., and Donovia, a near-peer competitor of the U.S., in the year 2030. The U.S. is compelled to intervene in combat operations when Donovia launches an invasion against its neighbor on April Fool’s Day.

Here are some of the themes we picked up from the “pre-mortem” of the Battle of Otso, as well as some of the wild predictions of what war fighters might face in the future:

  • Keep humans in the decision-making loop and avoid relying on automation. Removing human authority from lethal force can lead to escalations.
  • Don’t rely on stealth technology to keep pilots safe.
  • A “Four-ship” concept of each F-35 controlling three Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles.
  • Unmanned vehicles in the air and under water proved to be lethal.
  • Most battlefield wounds were burns inflicted by non-lethal microwave projectors, but medical triage was aided by medical sensors woven into uniforms.

Read the full excerpt here or the complete short story at the Small Wars Journal.