I am pleased to provide a Defense Intelligence Agency perspective on the nature of current and future military threats to U.S. interests. This paper will focus on the military dimension in its regional and functional aspects. Last year, the Director of DIA identified three principal issues in testimony before the committee: North Korea as a near term concern; political and military developments in Russia; and, the proliferation of technology associated with weapons of mass destruction as a key longer term concern. These conditions, along with our immediate concern for the support of deployed U.S. and allied forces, particularly in Bosnia, continue to be critical areas of interest for Defense Intelligence. There are several other circumstances around the world which could develop into both regional and strategic military concerns.
TRANSITION: Security in the Post Cold-War Era
First... some thoughts on this period of Post-Cold War transition in which we find ourselves. Transitions are difficult; there is, by definition, a mix of the old and the new. The current transition is particularly difficult because it is not clear what sort of global security environment is on the horizon. As we look out over the next 10-15 years, there is tremendous uncertainty. We will be faced with challenges which will shape the future and which will play a critical role at the start of the new millennium -- Russia's difficult political-social-cultural transition and its geopolitical future; the outcome of the Middle East peace process; political and military developments in China; and other evolutions of political- military change. We will also have to deal with increasingly blurred distinctions--transnational vs national (regional), war vs conflict short of war, and deterrence vs defense vs offense. The ways in which we think about nation-state relationships are changing; so too are the ways in which we must think about threats to U.S. interests.
Beyond the turn of the century we can expect to see a continued redefinition of what constitutes state power, especially military power. As the percentage of GDP directed to defense continues to drop (with some notable exceptions) and as the world's present day tyrants pass from the scene, the military component of state power will change. It may be reduced in size, but may also become more lethal and more threatening to stability than in the past.
"Threat," like "interest," is no longer a self-evident term. The defense intelligence community has traditionally focused on a primary element of the threat-- enemy forces and weapons systems; clearly that aspect remains. But as military activity extends to missions involving the use of military forces in non-traditional roles, we must adapt our intelligence focus to meet new requirements.
In order to address the challenges that these new conditions dictate, and which the Intelligence Community must face, we must first understand the full range of potential contingencies we may encounter, from conflict short of war to conventional war to global nuclear war.
Range of Potential Contingencies Conflict Short of War: Conventional War: Nuclear war: Peacetime Operations - Local Conventional War - Limited Nuclear War - Military Assistance - Regional Conventional War - Global Nuclear War - Counter Drugs - Global Conventional War - Terrorism - Counter Insurgency Peacetime Engagements Nation Assistance Operations Other than War Other Operations Low Intensity Conflict Information Warfare Chemical/Biological WarfareThe range of potential contingencies listed above covers the generally accepted spectrum of conflict in which we could become involved. It is most probable that U.S. involvement will occur within the first column... regional conventional war is the breakpoint along the continuum of most likely to least likely to occur. It is possible that some form of chemical (and biological) warfare will occur, generally within the context of very limited use and very restricted kinds of conflict. Chemical/biological and information warfare transcend all of the categories of conflict listed and can occur at any time.
Technological, economic, and societal-cultural changes are taking a toll on many institutions, not the least of which is the "state." With sovereignty weakened by these changes, some governments are finding it increasingly difficult to control events. This phenomenon could also add significantly to the complex task of marshalling the resources to wage war.
"Warning," traditionally focused on Clausewitzian warning of attack, is becoming an increasingly complicated process. In an era of diffusion of power, warning of armed attack is no longer the single critical precursor of military activity. Rather, we also need to warn about subtle changes in the balance of power, as well as other concerns such as environmental hazards on the battlefield and threats to our information systems and conduits.
In a world in which few potential enemies have the option of challenging us with conventional military forces, we must anticipate the increased use of asymmetric options in attempts to attack American will. Options for our adversaries include the infliction of politically unacceptable casualties; terrorist attacks away from the battlefield; taking peacekeepers hostage; the use of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons against civilian targets; or information warfare attacks against vulnerable networks. We will find it difficult to deal with these challenges in traditional military ways. However, we must always keep in mind the fundamental purpose of our organized military forces -- to fight and win wars against enemies who threaten our vital national interests. We must build and employ a flexible and adaptive military intelligence support system in order to meet the needs of large-scale military threats, while at the same time meeting the military requirements of non-traditional warfare and the new missions the U.S. military has assumed.
A critical element in preserving our military (and diplomatic) options and ensuring that we have dominant military power, is to ensure the security of vital information and to deny opponents access to our plans, intentions, and true capabilities. This fundamental premise is under assault by broad access to unprecedented levels of information and by hostile efforts to acquire key military intelligence. We must remain vigilant to this threat.
Emerging Trends of Military Significance:
The following are important trends in the global condition which have military significance:
Cultural Change With Security Implications: A variety of cultural changes have and are occurring which have widespread effect on regional and global security conditions. Drug production and use, illegal monetary transactions, weapons trade, technology transfer, environmental change, competing cultures, and rising crime, combine to cause change in the social order.
Economic Determinism: Rising population and changing expectations combine with real resource shortfalls to impede progress and constrain productive growth. Conversely, in some cases exceptional economic progress occurs.
Political Deconfliction: Global ubiquitous communications, rapid global transportation, and transnational mass media are facilitating diplomatic efforts to deconflict potential conflicts before they flare into significant violence. Conversely, when deconfliction fails in this environment, the resulting conflict is likely to be more insoluble than in the past.
Societal Concerns: Changing circumstances with regard to religion, culture, and language are narrowing gaps between nation-states and regions. This exacerbates problems between some groups.
Regional Renegades: A group of nations and transnational entities have engaged in activity which places them outside the commonly accepted international norms of behavior. Some of them use extreme violence as an element of institutional power. These rogue states are likely to be adversaries.
Ethno-Linguistic Pan-Nationalism: Groups with political identities are emerging along ethnocentric, theocratic, or linguistic lines, which in some cases parallel tribal divisions dating from antiquity. Often these groups are in opposition to artificially constructed political borders which divide cultures and people. This phenomenon has been and is likely to be a source of conflict.
Critical Uncertainties: There are critical conditions extant including large-scale environmental or natural disasters, pandemic disease, and technological innovations, such as the advent of personal automation systems, which have and will change the social order and culture in fundamental ways. Iterations of these changes will occur in the future.
Other Dynamic Trends: These include changes in the real values of time and space brought about by improved communications and transportation; the rise of new regional power centers and alliances; and pressures from and for change on social and cultural circumstances, as well as on individual people.
Characterizing the Threat
Turning to a more precise characterization of emerging threats, in general, they will be conditional and circumstantial. Thus the need to try to focus on and understand the conditions extant. The nature of potential and actual conflict, and the dimensions of it, will vary broadly based on location and circumstance...along the range of potential contingencies and the wide variety of emerging trends of military significance.
Conditions which threaten U.S. vital national interests can be generalized as:
It is imperative from an intelligence perspective to understand the components of the military threat, in the context of the conditions in which the threat occurs. These components are capability, intent and will. In most cases, with the exception of some technology leaps, the U.S. Intelligence Community has enough information to measure and understand the capability of our adversaries. Intent is another matter. Without indwelling or invasive sources, we cannot adequately anticipate or understand true intent. Will is constantly in flux; it is a function of changed conditions as well as the emotions and perceptions of leaders.
Understanding military threat is a direct function of intelligence of all types: economic, political, environmental, and specifically military, brought together in a dynamic all-source portrayal of overall conditions and circumstances. Understanding the military threat paradigm of the future will include not only traditional intelligence practices, but also a new approach to the threat including a recognition of the changing nature of the operational environment.
The paradigm has shifted from Cold War "enemies" to global competitors and adversaries. Categories of the new paradigm include :
Compliant Competitors - Nation-states or transnational entities who generally conform to U.S. values and interests, and who can be viewed as military allies.
Non-compliant Competitors - Nation-states or transnational entities who do not generally conform to U.S. values and interests but who are not military adversaries. They may be in opposition to the U.S. political, economic, and strategic goals, but do not engage in violence. Circumstantially, they may engage in policies or acts which compromise or endanger U.S. security interests.
Renegade Adversaries - Nation-states or transnational entities are those who engage in unacceptable behavior, frequently involving military force and violence, and are potential or actual enemies of the U.S., against whom we must consider the active use of military force.
Emergency conditions which require a military response - these conditions may involve humanitarian disasters, attempts at deconfliction of warring groups, and the restoration of civil control, often in threatening and sometimes lethal conditions. The control and support of refugees and displaced persons may be among the more significant challenges we will face in the future.
In the shifted paradigm, renegade adversaries are potential or actual enemies, while competitors may become our opponents circumstantially. Emergency conditions will exist in many locales and the range of contingencies that they represent may be characterized as operations other than war or conflict short of war. Some emergency conditions may be exceptional, such as the use of military force to deter the catastrophic destruction of natural resources or the environment, or to control civil populations in which the existing social order has become ineffective.
Emerging reality is complex, varied and comprised of dynamic conditions and circumstances. Emergency conditions will exist; renegade adversaries do and will exist - most will be regional/local in scope; renegade adversaries may become enemies; "threats" will emerge.
Key trends in military technology will enhance the threat of the future. The importance of applied automation and computers to future advances in military technology make information warfare a key military intelligence issue. Electromagnetic warfare, brilliant sensors and other forms of techno-war are also important. The advent of revolutionary military technology is bringing fundamental change to the nature of warfare, including the nature of threat conditions. The technologies and attendant military developments embodied in the following lists signal the rise of a military techno-culture in which time, space, speed, and other fundamental conditions are radically changed:
Nuclearization Information and Cybernetic Warfare Electromagnetic warfare Applied Automation Precision Munitions Medium and long range missiles Weaponized chemical capability Advanced barrier technologies Electrochemical weapons Camouflage, Cover, Concealment, Deception, Anti-missile technologies and Denial (C3D2) Anti-aircraft technologies Hyperspectral Sensors Techno-terrorism Brilliant sensors and all-source fusion Enhanced LPI/enciphered comms Technology-aided espionageREGIONAL THREATS
Before turning to the specific issues that the Committee requested be addressed, let me note some positive aspects related to the security environment confronting the United States. Currently, we see no danger that a conventional threat on the scale of the Former Soviet Union is going to reemerge in the next 15 years. Indeed, there are a number of favorable trends around the globe that need to be juxtaposed against the military and security concerns this paper addresses. The world is spending less on military capabilities than it did in the late 1980s. There are some 8 million fewer men and women under arms. Weapons production has slowed dramatically, and the worldwide military industrial complex is contracting. Geopolitically, most rogue states are isolated, largely without external patrons. Some are on their last legs. In an interesting and positive change, Russian forces are participating in a NATO peace enforcement operation in the Former Yugoslavia.
The world is still a dangerous place. But, in reviewing the nature of the threats confronting our interests, we shouldn't lose sight of the positive impact these changes (trends) have had on the overall risk equation for the United States.
DIA continues to assess that the North Korean regime sees its best chance for survival in continued limited cooperation with the West; this has been reflected by continued progress on the nuclear agreed framework. However, given the military posture on the ground, deteriorating internal economic and social conditions, and the unstable nature of the country's leadership, potential conflict on the Korean peninsula remains our primary near term concern. The security situation over the past year has grown increasingly complex, and we must now watch for signs of both "explosion" and "implosion."
North Korea has continued to take actions consistent with its avowed "war preparations" campaign designed to give the North the option of unifying the Peninsula by force; hence, our continued concern with "explosion." Over the past year, continued movement of long range artillery and missiles to forward units and the deployment of some aircraft to forward airfields are noteworthy, further limiting our ability to provide adequate warning of North Korean attack. Though we do see diminished readiness in some units because of shortfalls in both training and sustainment, the military posture remains very dangerous.
Beyond this concern with large scale attack, the internal situation in the North complicates our analysis; we must now watch more closely for the possibility of "implosion." The dire state of the economy and the fluid political situation have given rise to increased levels of instability and internal unrest in North Korea. As a result, actions taken by the Kim Chong-Il regime to clamp down on security and to militarize elements of the civil government and the economy have a disturbing quality to them. Whether these changes reflect a North Korean leadership concerned about its own control, or are indicators of preparations for war, it is clear that the situation is volatile and increasingly unpredictable. Time and distance factors and the large civil population and economic centers which are at risk in South Korea make this circumstance especially dangerous.
We are closely monitoring the military posture of China, especially its military activity opposite Taiwan. Exercises conducted last summer and fall, particularly missile launches north of Taiwan, were clearly intended to warn the Taiwan government against further steps toward independence. There are elements within the Chinese leadership that favor increasing the pressure on Taiwan. This situation is likely to grow increasingly tense leading up to, and beyond, Taiwan's presidential election in March of this year.
We are also closely watching improvements in the Chinese military that stem from its growing defense spending. Most of China's military suffers from weaknesses in force projection, logistics, training, and command and control; for the time being, these effectively limit Chinese military capability. It is clear that the PLA is intent on addressing many of these shortfalls in hopes of being able to conduct what it refers to as "local wars under high tech conditions." But even with increased defense spending, China is finding it necessary to make tradeoffs, evidenced by the fact that they recently announced a 500,000 man cutback in the size of the PLA. However, as part of its overall force development process, China is steadily and deliberately modernizing its military. The strategic nuclear force is expanding; we expect to see steady growth in this force. China will also maintain a deterrent, second strike capability. In the conventional arena, China is moving along two tracks, emphasizing indigenous production, but also purchasing modern military equipment (for example SA-10 SAM systems, SU-27 fighters and Kilo submarines from Russia) and dual use technologies.
There are those who speak of China as a future "peer competitor" of the United States; in our view this would only be possible in the very distant future -- certainly beyond 2010. At best China is going to enter the new millennium with relatively small but key portions of its force equipped with capable weapons; but, much of the force will still be very old. It remains to be seen how successful this military will be in the assimilation of newer technology into its armed forces.
The political and military future of Russia is one of our principal long term concerns; not because of the potential for a sudden resurgence of the classic Soviet military threat to Europe, but because the evolution of political change in Russia, particularly the election this June, will be the key to determining internal stability in Russia, as well as how Russia deals with its neighbors in the near abroad and the rest of the world. We expect a continuation of the trend of the last few years -- a more nationalistic Russia, motivated by a desire to reestablish great power status, that is willing to take positions that are at variance with the interests of the United States. Russian desires, however, will be tempered by a struggling economy that, for the foreseeable future, will not support significant increases in military spending.
Militarily, we assess that Russia's strategic nuclear forces remain under the central control of National Leadership and the General Staff. Drawdowns continue, and the Russians are ahead of schedule in meeting their START I obligations. START II ratification faces some opposition and may not occur before the Presidential elections. Irrespective of START II, however, we believe a combination of economic considerations and increased technical obsolescence among parts of the Russian strategic force will drive the Russians well below START I warhead levels; some Russian sources have suggested that they won't be able to maintain START II levels. The strategic military forces are not immune to the problems afflicting the entire Russian society; however, Russia is continuing to maintain a significant nuclear force, and to engage in a relatively robust training program. The continued deployment of the SS-25 road-mobile ICBM and development of new strategic systems reflect continued national commitment to strategic nuclear capability.
Conventional capabilities continue to be severely limited by a combination of shortfalls in manning, training, readiness, and logistics. There are select units that are mission capable in all components of the general purpose forces; for example, we have seen limited, but high profile submarine operations this past year, and the Russian military response in Chechnya and elsewhere provides ample evidence that some elements remain combat ready. But overall, as has been evident in operations in Chechnya, this is not a healthy force. As the Russians have acknowledged, the problems are severe and cross all Services: pilots flying as few as 40 hours a year; modern aircraft being cannibalized for parts and primary components; ships rusting at port; submarines suffering from maintenance shortfalls; ground forces training at very low levels; and virtually no new armor being purchased.
The Russian military remains committed to ensuring the capability to conduct operations on its periphery.
A major immediate concern is the safety and security of our troops in Bosnia. In the short term, we are optimistic. We believe that the former warring factions will continue to generally comply with the military aspects of the Dayton Accord and IFOR directives. We do not expect U.S. or allied forces to be confronted by organized military resistance, but the force (IFOR) will have to contend with mines and various forms of random, sporadic low-level violence; this could include high profile attacks by rogue elements or terrorists.
Despite the relatively modest threat confronting IFOR, the overall strategic political goals of the former warring factions have not fundamentally changed. Without a concerted effort by the international community, including substantial progress in the civil sector to restore economic viability and to provide for conditions in which national (federation) political stability can be achieved, the prospects for the existence of a viable, unitary Bosnia beyond the life of IFOR are dim. In the longer-term, the key determinant in establishing stability in the region will be the degree to which the former warring factions can develop an international political identity which is respected by their neighbors. In the meantime, we see a number of key problems:
MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH ASIA
We continue to monitor closely the threat posed by Iraq and Iran. The Iraqi military continues to suffer from the results of DESERT STORM and over 5 years of UN-imposed sanctions. Saddam has succeeded in rebuilding some military capabilities, but the military's rejuvenation appears to have peaked, and the Army continues to suffer major shortcomings in morale, readiness, logistics, and training. Iraqi disclosures and UN Special Commission discoveries following the defection of the late Lt Gen Husayn Kamil Hasan al-Majid in August 1995 have substantiated our earlier conviction that Saddam was concealing missile and WMD programs and capabilities. Full disclosure has yet to occur. Some discovered capabilities, particularly in nuclear and biological warfare, exceeded our earlier estimates in both scope and level of progress. We continue to be concerned about Iraq's ability to move large ground units rapidly, as it did toward the Kuwaiti border in October 1994. Controlling Iraq's offensive military capability is directly related to three factors: continued enforcement of sanctions; the forward presence of U.S. military power to deter and, if necessary, to defeat Iraqi aggression; and the critical role of intelligence in monitoring Iraqi military developments and providing warning to U.S. the National Command Authorities. Until a change in the government of Iraq occurs, this nation will continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf, and to the Kurdish people in the north of Iraq.
Iran is neither interested in nor capable of directly challenging the United States military. Its primary goal is to achieve some level of regional hegemony and to assert its perceived role as a Pan-Islamic leader in order to achieve these goals, Iran is emphasizing extremes of the threat spectrum: an unconventional threat facilitated through subversion and terrorism directed against competitors in the Gulf and U.S. interests; and a continuing program of acquisition and development of missiles and weapons of mass destruction that could yield an indigenously developed nuclear weapon. We continue to speculate on the timing of this achievement, but with outside technical assistance and materials, Iran can develop a nuclear weapon.
Iran's conventional buildup is focused primarily on its capability to control access to the Arabian (Persian) Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz. Two KILO submarines, Chinese antiship cruise missiles, and improved aerial refueling capability all attest to that interest. The buildup has been slowed by serious economic problems and international supplier restraint, with deliveries of foreign equipment in 1995 falling to approximately $250 million, the lowest in a decade. Iranian conventional forces have serious shortcomings in command and control, spare parts, and training; increasingly obsolescent equipment, an aging cadre of well trained pilots, and inadequate air defense coverage are also problems. While the Iranians recognize many of these problems and are slowly attempting to address them, we expect the military to continue to suffer from many of these shortcomings. However, recent agreements with Russia, China, and North Korea involving military capabilities, ranging from nuclear technology to mines, are indicative of our continuing assessment that Iran is building an offensive military capability much in excess of its defensive requirements. We will be challenged over time by a hegemonistic Iran which will seek to dominate the region.
India and Pakistan remain a significant concern because of the presence of very large forces in close proximity across a tense line of control, as well as their possession of ballistic missiles and their pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. New Delhi's reported preparations to test a nuclear device exacerbate an already tense rivalry and pressure Islamabad to undertake similar developmental action. Both Pakistan and India recognize that war is not in their interest; however, contention between them remains a potential flash point because of the danger of miscalculation and the prospect for a rapid escalation of crisis.
TRANSNATIONAL AND SUBNATIONAL CONCERNS
Security challenges associated with transnational and subnational forces and events are among the most important aspects of the Post Cold War transition -- indeed they reflect many of the of the characteristics alluded to in the introduction: a breakdown of the traditional nation-state, a diffusion of power, and the probability of asymmetric responses to U.S. military dominance. There is intense pressure in some regions to initiate or perpetuate the kinds of conflicts we have seen in Africa, Russia, and the Former Yugoslavia. These conflicts are generated by ethnic divisions, religious extremism, transnational crime, ultranationalism, unconstrained population growth, rapid urbanization, migrants and refugees, and an increase in deadly diseases, and other similar negative conditions. Conflicts stemming from these problems represent a tremendous challenge for the U.S. and for Defense Intelligence.
These emerging global conditions have impacted U.S. and allied military interests, including a wide variety of issues such as communications, commerce, the growth of violence perpetrated by organized crime, terrorism, and organized military forces engaging in conflict between nation-states. We are affected by moral concerns, and by the western propensity to intervene in gross humanitarian crises or human injustices. We are also affected by a new family of emergent threats which include unique forms of conflict such as information warfare and the widening proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These evolving conditions are part of the changing nature of what we may characterize as the global security environment.
The proliferation of technology and critical materiels associated with weapons of mass destruction remains one of our primary long term concerns. As an example of this problem, we have now verified the development of the Iraqi nuclear program up through Desert Storm, learning that Iraq had conducted a crash effort in 1990 to extract HEU from reactor fuel; if sanctions are lifted, we expect this program to be resumed with the core of scientists and engineers still in Iraq. We now know that Baghdad had a more extensive chemical warfare effort than originally believed, including the production of VX and binary sarin for delivery by artillery, rockets, and aerial bombs. Iraq had an extensive biological agent production and weaponization effort and succeeded in hiding at least some ballistic missiles, engines, and related equipment from inspectors. We now have this information because of the invasive U.N. inspection regime and because of disclosures by Iraq, and not through traditional intelligence sources. This points up the difficult nature of collecting information on weapons of mass destruction and related technologies, notably in countries like Iraq.
The Intelligence Community has concluded that no country, other than the major declared nuclear powers, will develop or otherwise acquire a ballistic missile in the next 15 years that could threaten the contiguous 48 states; only a North Korean missile in development, the Taepo Dong 2, could conceivably have sufficient range to strike portions of Alaska or the far western Hawaiian Islands.
Previous thefts of small amounts of weapons-usable materiel from the FSU highlight our concern with proliferation of nuclear capability. We believe the Russians are making progress in securing such materiel, but unfortunately, because of the turmoil and corruption in Russian society, this problem will continue to exist for years.
Currently, approximately 2 dozen countries remain actively engaged in the development of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons. We do not expect that number to grow substantially. Nevertheless, we expect that many of the countries of principal concern, particularly in the Middle East, will continue to increase the sophistication of their programs, for example by mating warheads to longer range missiles.
Currently approximately 10 countries worldwide have operational theater ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 500km. By the end of the first decade of the next century that number could grow to 15.
Defense industries around the globe are adjusting to economic realities. Declines in defense budgets of the major defense industrial powers continue to take a toll on major weapons systems development and production. Faced with declining procurement funds, most countries will confront a reverse "bow wave" at the end of this decade or the beginning of the next. The responses to insufficient procurement funds have been mixed: planned buys are being cut back, developmental timelines are being extended, diminished technological sophistication is being accepted, and systems are being cancelled outright. Although the worldwide arms market probably bottomed out last year, we see little chance of substantial growth in the near term.
The situation in Russia remains important because of the potential proliferation of very advanced weapons. However, the Russians are in a difficult position because of the precipitous decline in their defense budget -- down something like 75 percent from that of the Former Soviet Union in the late 1980s. The picture is complicated because very advanced systems remain in various stages of research and development. At the same time, 4th and 5th generation systems (including aircraft, submarines, helicopters, and tanks) are suffering development and production delays. We expect to see continued slippage and increased cancellations as the Russians attempt to come to grips with economic reality; that will continue the rest of this decade.
Very advanced weapons are currently available from several sources to anyone who can pay. While that market remains soft, that can change based on demand. In the past, some countries tended to not export their best equipment, but they are now willing to sell their most capable systems; moreover, they are willing to engage in extensive offsets, technology transfer agreements, barter, and bribery to get deals. Because many countries are unable to afford the steep price tags for state-of-the-art systems, we continue to note countries interested in upgrade programs and indigenous production arrangements; this will be an enduring challenge to the Intelligence Community because older platforms can be enhanced, for example by including late generation avionics and weapons packages on older aircraft. These upgrades can be difficult to detect.
Defining terrorism is going to be increasingly difficult. The demarcation between terrorist groups, warring factions in ethnic conflicts, insurgent movements, criminals, and anarchists will increasingly blur. Longstanding ethnic, ultra- nationalist and religious-based terrorist groups will continue to employ violence while new causes and organizations undoubtedly will emerge. Terrorist incidents perpetrated by non-permanent groups of individuals united temporarily by a common goal, such as those involved in the World Trade Center bombing, may also increase. State sponsorship of terrorism is likely to continue and will remain among the most serious challenges to U.S. interests.
As a result of increased economic disparity in some regions, we can expect to see increased alienation and some growth in related terrorist and insurgent activity. Attacks against commercial interests may also increase, with terrorist attacks becoming less discriminate and often directed against economic targets.
Terrorism is likely to be a prominent reflection of the increase in the global diffusion of power; thresholds of violence will become lower and less discriminate. However, we do not expect to see a significant departure from conventional terrorist methods of operation and weaponry. Information concerning the use of chemical or biological weapons can be obtained from numerous sources, but the risks attendant to using such weapons remain high and we do not expect to see a substantial increase in their use. However, the Japanese example of poison gas in subways and other chemical and biological capabilities being considered by the Aum Shinrikyo Sect are indicative of the potential for such threats to occur in the future.
Along with the threat that drugs pose to U.S. citizens, international illicit drug trafficking will increasingly threaten the stability of some governments by providing immense sources of revenue to organized criminal elements worldwide and to coincident insurgent and terrorist groups. The trafficking-induced climate of violence and corruption in these countries will inhibit normal economic, social, and political development --- exacerbating instability over time.
The illicit drug trade will adversely affect legal economies by inducing people to work for illegal enterprise rather than for legitimate business. Drug related corruption will exercise a corrosive influence on the stability of democratic government, as it has in Colombia and in Mexico. Additionally, traffickers and drug-funded insurgents/terrorists in some nations will threaten U.S. citizens working for international businesses and U.S. official personnel supporting highly-visible counterdrug efforts, particularly in the Andean cocaine source zone and, increasingly, in some other significant drug trafficking zones such as Southwest Asia and portions of the Middle East. The possibility of the rise of more powerful criminal cartels, supported in some measure by drug-trade profits, must be considered a threat to vital U.S. interests.
Critical uncertainties abound. Over the next few decades, there will be many more than indicated here. However, the possibilities preserved in this statement are enough to keep any strategic thinker and planner busy for years. One critical uncertainty, the management of regional power shifts, will be an enduring challenge throughout. One aspect of this will be the changes in leadership that will occur, which in some cases will likely lead to radical changes in political (and attendant military) direction for a nation-state or group.
Transnational groups, including criminal syndicates, also frequently change leadership. The question is, who will emerge at a critical time and become a threat to our interests? There will be several other elements of concern in managing power shifts, such as regional or localized changes in the balance of power, economic peaks and valleys which have strategic consequences, and conflicts which destabilize nations and regions.
Finally, just a few possibilities to think about, although there is no clear evidence or supporting data which would prove their existence. However, historical data often "proves" the possibility. "Ponderables" to consider are: