They were given 13 threats or potential threats to consider: adverse global trends and challenges to the international system; terrorism and piracy; instability and failed or failing states; poverty, inequality, and poor governance; serious and organised crime; WMD proliferation; climate change; civil emergencies, including natural disasters and pandemics; state-led threats (such as rising powers and balance of power issues); competition for energy and resources; social cohesion; sovereignty issues (including illegal fishing and illegal entry to Australian waters and airspace) and; cyber threats. They then had to rank them by scale of impact, geographic proximity and urgency in time, and come up with a 1-13 list in order of priority. I don’t have the space here to go through the list of outcomes, but the students’ calculations based on current intelligence projections indicated that climate change should be our top national security concern.
Phi Beta Iota: The professor and his class offer up some very useful thinking, but they are making the same mistake being made by the United Nations and the Pope. The greatest threat to national security is the loss of integrity in governance. Absent a commitment to evidence-based decision-making, an ability to create intelligence with integrity, and an ability to enforce integrity with counterintelligence, no government can be relied upon to get it right.