Center for Strategic Communication

…..that we are not talking about 


With the election behind us, it’s time to look toward the future. The American Security Project is dedicated to fostering fact-driven, non-partisan debate about critical national security issues. To that end, we asked our friends and colleagues both within ASP and associated with the Consensus for American Security to answer the question: what is the biggest issue facing us in the next four years that isn’t on anyone’s radar?

In the interest of fairness, and of avoiding any partisan angle to our answers, we wrote these essays before the election and chose to publish them after, so that nothing in them is influenced by the election’s result.

As such, these essays reflect an honest and ideologically diverse view of the non-conventional challenges facing the country.

The burgeoning opportunity of partnership with India (covered by Colin Geraghty) seems obvious but went unremarked during the campaign.

Some topics, like the degradation of soil quality and food production (discussed by Col. “Puck” Mykleby), are not generally considered national security challenges.

The heart of this collection is looking at unconventional challenges to America’s security. MC Andrews writes about how the perception of America in the world is as important to our security as what we actually do – and the way people talk about us can have a big effect on us in the future. Christine McEntee explains our education system actually has national security implications, for if we lose our edge in science, math, technology, and engineering, we will lose in the global economy.

There are more traditional security topics that simply didn’t make campaign news this year. Carolyn Deady argues that we need to view climate change as a major national security challenge. Dr. Seyom Brown explains that adopting a radically different posture toward how we use our nuclear arsenal might actually make us a lot safer in the long run. Terri Lodge, who runs ASP’s Nuclear Security program, elaborates on four big challenges facing us.

August Cole notes that, whatever wrangling happens over budgetary issues, the fate of the defense industry is vitally important to the country. And I discuss how we can reform the intelligence community to plan better for future emergencies.

Through all of these pieces, a common thread appears: whatever the challenge, there is no need to devolve into partisan bickering to discuss it. America will face some very real, very complex challenges over the next four years. It is vital that the country at least agree to common terms so we can have a realistic, rational debate about how best to tackle them.

— Joshua Foust, editor

The National Security Challenges…that we are not talking about