Recently we got a peek at what the Army secretly thinks is coming next for humanity. This short, untitled film was leaked to The Intercept after being screened as part of an “Advanced Special Operations Combating Terrorism” course convened by Joint Special Operations University (JSOU). Originally made by the Army, it's about how troops will deal with megacities in the year 2030. What's surprising is that it acknowledges social problems that the US government usually ignores or denies.
Over at The Intercept, Nick Turse explains the film's provenance:
The video was used... for a lesson on “The Emerging Terrorism Threat.” JSOU is operated by U.S. Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for America’s most elite troops... Lacking opening and closing credits, the provenance of “Megacities” was initially unclear, with SOCOM claiming the video was produced by JSOU, before indicating it was actually created by the Army. “It was made for an internal military audience to illuminate the challenges of operating in megacity environments,” Army spokesperson William Layer told The Intercept in an e-mail. “The video was privately produced pro bono in spring of 2014 based on ‘Megacities and the United States Army’... The producer of the film wishes to remain anonymous.”
Turse goes on to make fun of the film’s hyperbolic narrative and cheesy stock photos, which admittedly feel like a propaganda snippet from Starship Troopers. Despite the terrible delivery, however, the movie does some good science fiction world-building. The premise is that we’ve mastered urban warfare, but our tactics only work in late 20th-century cities. Megacities, which are usually defined as urban areas with more than 15 million people, will change the game. The movie explores what social life will be like in such places, especially after climate change has made them more dangerous and the separation between rich and poor has been magnified beyond belief.
from Bizarre leaked Pentagon video is a science fiction story about the future of cities