Reading the daily headlines offers only a piecemeal understanding of the threats to U.S. National security. Said another way, there is far more heat than light. We’ll try to light a candle.
As a result of globalization and the proliferation of new technology, the United States is facing challenges on a global scale. At the 2015 Reagan National Defense Forum, Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, outlined the “4+1 construct. This new way of looking at threats to our nations focuses on “four contingencies and one condition.”
The “contingencies” include, China and Russia, the high end threats, and Iran and North Korea, lower end threats but with great instability. The “condition” is the long-term fight against global terrorism.
This is a completely new way that the United States looks at these threats to our national security. For several generations, the Cold War and a fight against the Soviet Union dominated our national security calculus. While there were other threats the United States had to deal with, they were all viewed as “lesser included subsets” of the Soviet threat. In other words, if we had the doctrine, people and equipment to take on the Soviets, we could deal with these lesser threats.
That is no longer the case, and that is why the new “4+1” construct is so important. We face dramatically different strategic, operational and tactical challenges from the “four contingencies and one condition.” And in the year-plus since this construct was announced, these threats have taken on worrisome changes – all for the worse.
Stay tuned to this blog over the next several weeks to learn more about each of these threats to our national security.