2019 – ODNI – Worldwide Threat Assessment
Threats to US national security will expand and diversify in the coming year, driven in part by China and Russia as they respectively compete more intensely with the United States and its traditional allies and partners. This competition cuts across all domains, involves a race for technological and military superiority, and is increasingly about values. Russia and China seek to shape the international system and regional security dynamics and exert influence over the politics and economies of states in all regions of the world and especially in their respective backyards.
China and Russia are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s, and the relationship is likely to strengthen in the coming year as some of their interests and threat perceptions converge, particularly regarding perceived US unilateralism and interventionism and Western promotion of democratic values and human rights.
As China and Russia seek to expand their global influence, they are eroding once well-established security norms and increasing the risk of regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East and East Asia.At the same time, some US allies and partners are seeking greater independence from Washington in response to their perceptions of changing US policies on security and trade and are becoming more open to new bilateral and multilateral partnerships.
The post-World War II international system is coming under increasing strain amid continuing cyber and WMD proliferation threats, competition in space, and regional conflicts. Among the disturbing trends are hostile states and actors’ intensifying online efforts to influence and interfere with elections here and abroad and their use of chemical weapons. Terrorism too will continue to be a top threat to US and partner interests worldwide, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The development and application of new technologies will introduce both risks and opportunities, and the US economy will be challenged by slower global economic growth and growing threats to US economic competitiveness.
Migration is likely to continue to fuel social and interstate tensions globally, while drugs and transnational organized crime take a toll on US public health and safety. Political turbulence is rising in many regions as governance erodes and states confront growing public health and environmental threats.
Issues as diverse as Iran’s adversarial behavior, deepening turbulence in Afghanistan, and the rise of nationalism in Europe all will stoke tensions.