National Security | Wilson Center

National Security

National Intelligence Estimate: The Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the United States

Infectious diseases are a leading cause of death, accounting for a quarter to a third of all deaths worldwide. The spread of infectious diseases results from both human behavior such as lifestyle choices, land-use patterns, increased trade and travel, and inappropriate use of antibiotic drugs, as well as mutations in pathogens. These excerpts from a January 2000 National Intelligence Estimate highlight the rising global health threat of new and reemerging infectious diseases. The National Intelligence Council argues that the infectious disease threat will complicate U.S.

ECSP Report 5: Special Reports (Part 1)

Environment and Security in an International Context: Executive Summary Report, by the NATO/Committee on The Challenges of Modern Society Pilot Study

ECSP Report 5: Official Statements

Excerpts from recent official statements in which environment and population issues are prominently cited in the context of security and national interests.

Secrecy vs. the Need for Ecological Information: Challenges to Environmental Activism in Russia

Nowhere is the connection between environmental protection and national security clearer than in the case of weaponry as a polluter. Even within this category of environmental threats, there is a hierarchy. At the top, both in terms of environmental priorities and international security, are weapons of mass destruction. They represent not only classic environmental problems— health hazards  and threats to species— but also create an obstacle to economic well-being. Plus, they tend to affect neighboring nations to the same degree as the country on whose soil they are produced or stored.

ECSP Report 4: Event Summaries

Event summaries from meetings sponsored by the Environmental Change and Security Program between May and December 1997:

ECSP Report 3

The 1997 issue of the ECSP's annual report frames environment in terms of the U.S. security debate, explores ecological security and demographic change; and includes a commentary on human population prospects. Complete report.

Unpackaging the Environment

The time has come to unpackage the environment. In the three and a half decades since environmental problems first began to command public attention, they have moved from the periphery to stage center. No longer discussed only at gatherings of the converted, environmental issues are part of centrist political campaigns, the subject of major international conferences, a factor in trade negotiations and an element in the strategic plans of multinational corporations. While this attention has led to some notable successes, actions have fallen well short of needs.

Environment in the U.S. Security Debate: The Case of the Missing Arctic Waters

As also occurs with global warming or Russia’s transition to “democracy,” the U.S. move towards an increasingly extended security praxis is accompanied by uncertainty as well as complexity. Indeed, the whole project has a futuristic air, insofar as it is a purposive venture.

Demographic Change and Ecological Security

Environmental concerns are now becoming an integral part of U.S. foreign policy, but within academic and policy circles there is an ongoing debate over the role that environmental stress plays in creating security threats. An argument is made here for moving beyond environmentalism and using an ecological security perspective to inform foreign policy planning and future defense allocations. Ecological security rests on maintaining four kinds of equilibrium between human beings and the physical environment.

ECSP Report 3: Special Reports

This section highlights the work of various organizations on issues of environmental change and security. This issue includes reports from Ecologic - Centre for International and European Environmental Research, the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University, and the Natural Heritage Institute.