Missle Defense!

Individual-Empowerment

At the heart of Global Trends 2030 are four megatrends that it identifies as the most significant trends that will affect the world looking out over a decade-and-a-half into the future. Previous editions of Global Trends have also identified megatrends, and if there is one part of GT2030 that is the most “mature” and well-developed, it is this mega-trends aspect of the report.

Trends mean just that; extrapolation of things happening today that, if left largely alone, will continue along the path they are on and result in a “tomorrow” that while not “predictable” represents a projection of a future state that is more likely than not. For this edition of Global Trends, four megatrends dominate the landscape. These four megatrends are:

  • Individual Empowerment
  • Diffusion of Power
  • Demographic Patterns
  • Food, Water, and Energy

Read more about these megatrends that dominate our world in my post on the Defense Media Network website:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/megatrends-what-are-they-and-what-do-they-mean

What Does the Future Hold?

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Tom Clancy, the most well-known military writer in a generation was universally hailed as being prescient about regarding the future of intelligence, technology and military operations in his books seemed to come to pass five, ten, or more years later.

Not all of us are so prescient about what our future world will look like. But there is a source – and an open source – available to all of us that looks deep into the future in the areas of international affairs, i.e. what our world will look like in the ensuing decades, technology and military operations.

While many organizations – inside and outside of government – of necessity look to the future to attempt to discern what the future security environment portends, the National Intelligence Council represents the “Pros from Dover,” in this regard. The NIC supports the director of national intelligence in his role as head of the intelligence community (IC) and is the IC’s focal point and governing organization for long-term strategic analysis.

Among the projections in its groundbreaking report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds:

  • China’s economy is set to overtake that of the United States in the 2020s, but China will not challenge the United States’ preeminence or the international order;
  • Asia will become more powerful than both North America and Europe combined (based on population, GDP, military spending, and technological investment);
  • The United States will achieve energy independence with shale gas, and;
  • Wider access to disruptive technologies – including precision-strike capabilities, cyber instruments, and bio-terror weaponry – could increase the risk of large-scale violence and disruption.

Read more about what the future will hold in my post on the Defense Media Network website here:

http://www.georgegaldorisi.com/you-dont-have-to-be-as-prescient-as-the-late-tom-clancy-to-know-what-the-future-will-hold

Missile Defense!

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The most compelling threat to the United States today is the treat of missile attack. Nations like China and Russia who harbor enmity towards the United States have massive numbers of intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. It is an existential threat to all of us.

And increasingly, rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran are acquiring the means to deliver intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with WMD.

But this is not a new threat! And the United States Navy has been working on missile defense for generations. Today the Navy is in the lead to prevent missile attacks on the United States or on our interests. It has been a long journey and understanding how we got here will also help understand where we are going in the future.

For anyone younger than those of the baby boomer generation, it is impossible to fully understand the urgency the Cold War brought to building and deploying the U.S. Navy’s missile fleet.  Once the Berlin Wall went up and the spectre of the Soviet Empire crushing the West – and especially the United States – began to sink in during the early 1950s, spending on defense became a compelling urgency.  Few can forget the phrase famously attributed to Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev while addressing Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow on Nov. 18, 1956, “We will bury you!”

Read more about the future in my post on the Defense Media Network website here

The World in 2030

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What will the world look like in 2030 – a decade-and-a-half hence? That question bedevils nations and individuals. We all want to know. But how do we find out?

There are many sources and no lack of organizations and people “holding forth” with their opinions – some based on good sources – but many based strictly on conjecture.

For me, I’ve found it most useful to mine what the United States Intelligence Community – the IC – thinks. Their opinions are distilled from the collective efforts of the 16 agencies making up our IC. The U.S. IC is an $80B a year enterprise (yes, that’s “B” not “M”). Every five years they package what they know and share it with us in one of their Global Trends pubs.

NIC has been in existence for over three decades and represents the primary way the U.S. intelligence community (IC) communicates in the unclassified realm.  Initially a “wholly-owned subsidiary” of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the NIC now works directly for the director of national intelligence and presents the collective research and analysis of the entire IC, an enterprise comprising 16 agencies.  In a sentence: There is no more comprehensive analysis of future trends available anywhere, at any price. It’s not an overstatement to say this 160-page document represents the most definitive analytical look at the future security environment.

In addition to individual empowerment and the diffusion of state power, GT2030’s analysis suggests that that two other megatrends will shape our world out to 2030: demographic patterns, especially rapid aging; and growing resource demands which, in the cases of food and water, may well lead to scarcities. These trends, which are virtually certain, exist today, but during the next 15-20 years they will gain much greater momentum.

Read more about what the future will hold in my post on the Defense Media Network website here.

 

Global Terror

As news reports hit us piecemeal regarding global terrorism it’s difficult to build a ‘mental map’ of where those places are around the globe.

In this report, Martha Raddatz reports on recent Global Counter-terror operations, interviewing some of the most well-known experts in the field.

 

You can watch the video here.

Do We Know What the Future Will Hold?

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In a post earlier this month, I suggested that what the future comports impacts our personal lives, our families and even our fortunes. We all want to know what the future will hold, but few of us have the time to deep dive into the wealth of information that can give us some sense of what it will be.

But the “pros from Dover” at the National Intelligence Council (NIC), the parent agency for the 16 components (CIA, DIA, NSA etc.) of United States intelligence enterprise have done it.

The NIC has released their comprehensive quadrennial report forecasting global trends that have a major impact on our world, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds.”  In shorthand –GT2030. Global Trends 2030 helps us have an informed and well-nuanced view of the future. I’ve “deconstructed” this report in this – and will continue to do so in future – posts:

Read more about the future in my post on the Defense Media Network website here:

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/global-trends-2030-what-it-is-and-why-it-matters/

Strategic Shift: The U.S. Rebalance to the Asia-Pacific Region.

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One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will be to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise – in the Asia-Pacific region… At a time when the region is building a more mature security and economic architecture to promote stability and prosperity, U.S. commitment there is essential… Beyond our borders, people are also wondering about America’s intentions – our willingness to remain engaged and to lead. In Asia, they ask whether we are really there to stay, whether we are likely to be distracted again by events elsewhere, whether we can make – and keep – credible economic and strategic commitments, and whether we can back those commitments with action.

Read more about this rebalance in my post on the Defense Media Network website here.

Are We Secure?

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In the United States, our overarching desire is for security and prosperity. And while there are a number of threats we tend to worry about, there is only one existential threat to the United States. That is ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction! I’ve written a series of articles on this threat and want to share them with you.

North Korea is armed with nuclear missiles. Iran developing nuclear weapons they can put on a variety of missiles. Troubles with Russia over the Ukraine and fears Russia might flex its muscles with missiles armed with nuclear warheads. The question many are – and should be – asking is this: What capability does the United States have to deal with this kind of existential threat.

While all the U.S. military services have a stake in ballistic missile defense the U.S. Navy is now in the lead in this important warfare area. This journey is a remarkable success story – and one not yet told. Over a period of sixty years, the U.S. Navy has evolved the most versatile, and most successful, naval air and missile defense system in the world.  However, it is a journey that has been fraught with difficulty, advancing not in linear fashion, but in fits and starts, always pushing the edge of the technological envelope until it arrived where it is today.

Read more here

Drone Wars

One of the most innovative technologies used anywhere – and especially in our military – is unmanned or autonomous systems, sometimes called “drones.” These military drones have been talked about a great deal in all media, especially armed drones which are often operated by the U.S. intelligence agencies or our military to take out suspected terrorists.

Few security issues are more controversial. In an effort to shed some light in an area where there is mostly heat, I published an article with Faircount Media entitled “The Other Side of Autonomy.”

A few salient quotes from this article capture the controversy surrounding “drone wars.”

In an article entitled, “Morals and the Machine,” The Economist addressed the issue of autonomy and humans-in-the-loop this way:

As they become smarter and more widespread, autonomous machines are bound to end up making life-or-death decisions in unpredictable situations, thus assuming—or at least appearing to assume—moral agency. Weapons systems currently have human operators “in the loop”, but as they grow more sophisticated, it will be possible to shift to “on the loop” operation, with machines carrying out orders autonomously. As that happens, they will be presented with ethical dilemmas…More collaboration is required between engineers, ethicists, lawyers and policymakers, all of whom would draw up very different types of rules if they were left to their own devices.

Bill Keller put the issue of autonomy for unmanned systems this way in his Op-ed, “Smart Drones,” in the New York Times in March 2013:

If you find the use of remotely piloted warrior drones troubling, imagine that the decision to kill a suspected enemy is not made by an operator in a distant control room, but by the machine itself. Imagine that an aerial robot studies the landscape below, recognizes hostile activity, calculates that there is minimal risk of collateral damage, and then, with no human in the loop, pulls the trigger. Welcome to the future of warfare. While Americans are debating the president’s power to order assassination by drone, powerful momentum – scientific, military and commercial – is propelling us toward the day when we cede the same lethal authority to software.

Looking ahead to this year and beyond, it is clear that “drone warfare” will continue to be extremely controversial. Stay tuned!

Click here to read the entire article (PDF)

The World in 2015 – and Beyond

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As Yogi Berra famously said, “It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.” But isn’t that what we all want to know? What the future comports impacts our personal lives, our families and even our fortunes.

In the national security realm, we all wonder what the future will hold for the security and prosperity of the United States. There are an overwhelming number of sources inside and outside of government who “hold forth” on what they think the future will hold.

Often the art of all this is picking and choosing among those multiple pundits and focusing on the source – or sources – that hold the most promise of getting it right. For me – and for many my professional circle, that source is The National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC is the parent agency for the 16 components (CIA, DIA, NSA etc.) United States intelligence enterprise.

A vast amount of what these agencies do is highly classified and not releasable to the rest of us. But some of it is and the NIC packages the collected analysis of the eighty billion dollar a year United States intelligence enterprise and publishes it in its Global Trends series.

The National Intelligence Council has released their comprehensive quadrennial report forecasting global trends that have a major impact on our world, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds.”  In shorthand – GT2030. Global Trends 2030 helps us have an informed and well-nuanced view of the future. This is not as easy as it sounds, for, as John Maynard Keynes famously said in 1937: “The idea of the future being different from the present is so repugnant to our conventional modes of thought and behavior that we, most of us, offer a great resistance to acting on it in practice.”

NIC has been in existence for over three decades and represents the primary way the U.S. intelligence community (IC) communicates in the unclassified realm.  Initially a “wholly-owned subsidiary” of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the NIC now works directly for the director of national intelligence and presents the collective research and analysis of the entire IC, an enterprise comprising 16 agencies with a combined budget of well over $80 billion.  In a sentence: There is no more comprehensive analysis of future trends available anywhere, at any price. It’s not an overstatement to say this 160-page document represents the most definitive analytical look at the future security environment.

Stay tuned to this blog for more on the future….