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2019 National Intelligence Strategy - Cover Image

2019 - ODNI - National Intelligence Strategy of the USA

Strategic Environment

 

The strategic environment is changing rapidly, and the United States faces an increasingly complex and uncertain world in which threats are becoming ever more diverse and interconnected. While the IC remains focused on confronting a number of conventional challenges to U.S. national security posed by our adversaries, advances in technology are driving evolutionary and revolutionary change across multiple fronts. The IC will have to become more agile, innovative, and resilient to deal effectively with these threats and the ever more volatile world that shapes them. The increasingly complex, interconnected, and transnational nature of these threats also underscores the importance of continuing and advancing IC outreach and cooperation with international partners and allies.

Traditional adversaries will continue attempts to gain and assert influence, taking advantage of changing conditions in the international environment—including the weakening of the post-WWII international order and dominance of Western democratic ideals, increasingly isolationist tendencies in the West, and shifts in the global economy. These adversaries pose challenges within traditional, non-traditional, hybrid, and asymmetric military, economic, and political spheres. Russian efforts to increase its influence and authority are likely to continue and may conflict with U.S. goals and priorities in multiple regions. Chinese military modernization and continued pursuit of economic and territorial predominance in the Pacific region and beyond remain a concern, though opportunities exist to work with Beijing on issues of mutual concern, such as North Korean aggression and continued pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile technology. Despite its 2015 commitment to a peaceful nuclear program, Iran’s pursuit of more advanced missile and military capabilities and continued support for terrorist groups, militants, and other U.S. opponents will continue to threaten U.S. interests. Multiple adversaries continue to pursue capabilities to inflict potentially catastrophic damage to U.S. interests through the acquisition and use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which includes biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

In addition to these familiar threats, our adversaries are increasingly leveraging rapid advances in technology to pose new and evolving threats—particularly in the realm of space, cyberspace, computing, and other emerging, disruptive technologies. Technological advances will enable a wider range of actors to acquire sophisticated capabilities that were previously available only to well-resourced states.

No longer a solely U.S. domain, the democratization of space poses significant challenges for the United States and the IC. Adversaries are increasing their presence in this domain with plans to reach or exceed parity in some areas. For example, Russia and China will continue to pursue a full range of anti-satellite weapons as a means to reduce U.S. military effectiveness and overall security. Increasing commercialization of space now provides capabilities that were once limited to global powers to anyone that can afford to buy them. Many aspects of modern society—to include our ability to conduct military operations—rely on our access to and equipment in space.


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