State of the World: National Security Threats and Challenges – Forward Observer Shop

State of the World: National Security Threats and Challenges

[wcm_nonmember]In this Dispatch… (360 words)

  • Recent comments on the ongoing challenge posed by revisionist powers
  • Geopolitical issues that affect the national security of the US


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State of the World:  National Security Threats and Challenges

Senate Armed Services Committee

Selected Notes


General (Ret.) Petraeus:

  • Sequestration has negatively affected military readiness
  • Failure to pass timely defense budgets have negatively affected the military
  • Agrees that there’s a present threat to the established international order
  • ‘Revisionist Powers’ include the Islamic world, China, and Russia.  (Analyst Comment: Revisionist Powers want to revise or remake the world order currently dominated by the West.)
  • If America ceases to sustain the world order, then it will fail
  • America’s global dominance is diminishing
  • The US will have to work with China and other powers to reshape the world in cooperation, and not in conflict
  • Eighty percent of the time when a status quo power (the US) is challenged by a revision power (China), there’s a conflict
  • Sees the fight against extremist Islam as Muslims vs. Muslims, not Us vs. Them
  • Information operations against the Islamic State are not working


Former Dep. Dir. CIA, McLaughlin:

  • World currently experiencing the diffusion of powers; managing coalitions will be key to future success
  • Demographics: the West is growing older and having fewer children.  The rest of the world is young and poor.
  • There’s a growing discontent with governance, re: Trump, Arab Spring, European nationalism
  • Islamic State overall is weaker than before, however, their reach and influence still threatens Western nations
  • Technological breakthroughs have allowed nefarious actors to weaponize technology
  • Odds are high that North Korea will achieve nuclear ICBM status within four years
  • The outcome of the Syrian conflict will change how the US, Turkey, Iran, and Russia are looked at internationally
  • Europe is under a “real threat of collapse” as it stands due to economic, migrant/refugee issues
  • China is moving swiftly to become most influential in Asia and bring Asian nations within its economic orbit
  • Iran is still working on its nuclear weapons program; UN is not reporting violations of the US deal
  • America is moving towards energy independence in the next 20 years, and will be a net exporter of energy
  • Believes that America will not lose its strategic power, despite potential tactical and operational losses
  • Putin needs an adversarial America to maintain popularity and nationalism, thus support for his military adventures
  • Trump does not know the secondary and tertiary effects of his policies


Photo via Luke Price

Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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