14 April 2010
I am in total agreement with Frosty and Awesome that the nuclear terrorism threat is way overblown. For more on this I recommend reading Mueller's Atomic Obsession and following Armchair Generalist, a defense policy analyst blogger who writes extensively on CBRN issues (it's a lot of fun to see him rant about some dumb politician hyping the latest existential threat everyday).
Awesome, in the linked post above, does a particularly good job of identifying long-term, pernicious socio-economic trends that should be particularly troubling to short-sighted US policymakers. That post got me thinking, though, about what are the biggest direct, pressing "hard security" threats facing the United States? Here's the DNI's list, and here's what I could come up with (in no particular order):
1. drug cartel violence in Mexico spilling over the border
2. homegrown terror groups with regular ass bombs and guns (either white nationalist, survivalist, or Islamists who may or may not have foreign connections)
3. foreign Islamist terrorists with regular ass bombs and guns
4. lone-wolf nut jobs with guns and either mental illness or ideological zeal
5. some kind of massive disruption to the flow of Middle Eastern oil (doesn't seem like we're going to transition our economy away from oil anytime soon)
6. getting bogged down in another long, grueling COIN war somewhere, like Yemen or Somalia (or looking ahead, the Niger Delta or Sudan or D-RoC)
7. dumb politicians (on either side) sparking an economic confrontation between the US & China that spirals into an arms race
Nothing nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological on this list. What do you think?