In a recent talk
) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy (formerly of the Center for a New American Security
) laid out five trends that are affecting U.S. national security:
It’s somewhat surprising that three of these five are the kinds of nontraditional security threats we study here at the Environmental Change and Security Program—not that Flournoy didn’t spend plenty of time addressing traditional security issues, too.
Here’s what Flournoy had to say on these trends:
Climate change: “I believe that over time, as the results of this manifest, it’s going to be an accelerant. It’s going to accelerate state failure in some cases, accelerate mass migration, spread of disease, and even possibly insurgency in some areas as weak governments fail to cope with the effects of global climate change.”
Demography: “In some regions we are seeing tremendous youth bulges. We can all point to a number of countries in the Middle East and elsewhere where the average age is 20 or younger. Contrast that with the number of aging societies in Europe, Japan, Russia where you see depopulation trend[s] happening in some of these major powers.”
Natural resources: “[K]ey natural resources are increasingly scarce and we are likely to see in the future [an] increase in competition for everything from oil, gas, water, and so that is likely to exacerbate some of our challenges.”