The group of science fiction authors and illustrators for Red Team Defense has created two new scenarios, imagining new threats and challenges for the French armed forces over the 2030-2060 period.

Red Team

Red Team Defense presented its final scenarios at the Season 3 presentation ceremony, which took place at the exceptional, historic location of the Banque de France on Thursday, June 29. The first scenario, The Space Rush, imagines a rise in tension and conflict in space, for economic and power gains. The second, Facing the Hydra, explores the creation of a massive army using an implant that injects skills instantaneously into people’s brains.

The Red Team Defense program was launched in 2019 on the initiative of Emmanuel Chiva, who at the time was the Director of France’s Defense Innovation Agency (AID), in connection with the État-major des Armées (EMA), the Direction générale de l’Armement (DGA) and the Direction générale des relations internationales et de la stratégie (DGRIS). The program calls on independent science fiction authors, scriptwriters and illustrators. Under the aegis of Université PSL, they collaborate with scientists and military experts to create narratives of threats endangering France and its interests over the 2030-2060 period.

Two brand-new scenarios with new themes

The final two scenarios for Red Team Defense were presented this Thursday, June 29, at a presentation ceremony co-organized with the Banque de France. For this third and final season, the scenarios are based around two themes: space conflict and immediate, widespread access to skills.

The Space Rush

The Space Rush imagines a rise in tension and conflict between various actors, in their aims to conquer space for economic and power gains. This scenario envisions an upsurge in mass access to space, made widely available as a result of industrial and technological innovations. Space resources become affordable, both on the Moon and in far-off asteroid belts, and feed the industrial and economic appetites of government and private actors. Rapprochements occur and alliances are formed in order to guarantee exploitation of this new domain. The race for resources results in economic competition, translating as acts of sabotage and denied access, eventually escalating into open space confrontation. In this context, what could trigger a space war ?

Facing the Hydra
This scenario imagines a new kind of implant known as eshu, which allows any individual fitted with one to instantly acquire new skills. The acquisition of skills is reversible and has zero influence on individual will. Over time, these implants are used by more and more people and their use becomes widespread in certain regions. They become the drivers for creating an instantaneous, ad hoc army from citizen populations by injecting them with military skills. This army is called the Hydra, after the mythological creature with the ability to infinitely regrow its heads. Any willing individual can inject themselves with appropriate skills as needed. Progressively, the capabilities of the eshu grow and open up new possibilities for collective operations: people fitted with an eshu can communicate with each other in a decentralized and instantaneous, even symbiotic, way.

The French armed forces are facing an attack from the Hydra during external operations, which rais-es multiple questions:

  • How can we fight an army that is constantly being resupplied, with soldiers becoming inter-changeable thanks to knowledge injection technology?
  • How can the resistance and protection of a territory be organized when danger may come from an entire population – militia members, children, the elderly, etc – connected as one?

Scientifically informed scenarios anticipating the future in service of the armed forces

The scenarios from the various seasons of Red Team Defense are veritable thought experiments, imagining technological, economic, societal and environmental evolutions. They must include the three levels of reflection (strategic, operational and tactical) used by the armed forces. The program aims to serve the innovation strategy of the military and France. Since 2019, it has helped to:

  • Encourage outside-the-box thinking and better anticipate the future, by producing narratives that are complementary to the Ministry of Armed Forces’ prospective research and responding to the military’s need for strategic anticipation,
  • Guarantee the armed forces’ operational superiority and France’s strategic autonomy, by preparing the armed forces for uncertainty and identifying new forms of vulnerability.

“This is an alliance between strong political will and the awareness that innovation is not a luxury, but a necessity, in order to not be overtaken (...). Experimenting with new approaches like Red Team means we can anticipate strategic surprises or at least prepare for them, faced with our world’s disruptions.”
Emmanuel Chiva, General Delegate for Armaments.

Research at the heart of the Red Team Defense program
For the third season, Université PSL has once again made the expertise of its cutting-edge multidisciplinary laboratories available for the program. Researchers from Observatoire de Paris – PSL,  the Jean Nicod cognitive neuroscience institute (ENS - PSL) and the CNRS helped to ensure scientific accuracy and spark the authors’ imaginations when writing the season 3 scenarios. They will join the list of over 50 experts and scientists involved throughout all three seasons of the program. As coordinator of Red Team Defense, Université PSL showcases its solid scientific foundation and ability to support a project of national scope with research.

“Planning for the future and anticipating major issues - what finer challenge for Université PSL? Red Team involves immersing yourself in a scientifically informed parallel universe, taking a necessary step back from reality to be able to better envisage possible futures, through fiction. Hard sciences, engineering, arts, humanities and social sciences – Université PSL is known for its multidisciplinarity and that is what makes it an ideal place to run this exercise and help provide information for public policymaking in the face of a complex world. This final season will crown three years of fruitful collaborations with the Ministry of the Armed Forces.”
Alain Fuchs, President of Université PSL

PSL Red team third season

About Red Team Defense

Created in 2019 on the initiative of France’s Ministry of the Armed Forces, Red Team Defense is made up of independent science fiction authors, illustrators and designers. It is supported by scientists and military experts to develop the scenarios. Part of the work is strictly confidential. It is conducted under the aegis of France’s Defense Innovation Agency (AID) in cooperation with the country’s État-major des Armées (EMA), the Direction générale de l’Armement (DGA) and the  Direction générale des relations internationales et de la stratégie(DGRIS). The Ministry of the Armed Forces has commissioned Université PSL (Paris Science & Lettres) to recruit for and coordinate the Red Team Defense project, involving many researchers from its cutting-edge multidisciplinary laboratories.


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Red Team Défense :
Laurène Martin – - 07 85 69 93 82
Laëtitia Bréchemier – – 06 23 61 22 67