Threats Without Threateners?

Exploring Intersections of Threats to the Global Commons and National Security

by Gregory F. Treverton, Erik Nemeth, Sinduja Srinivasan

Download

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.9 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.0 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback72 pages $18.50 $14.80 20% Web Discount

Abstract

Three issues with far-reaching causes and consequences, climate change, water scarcity, and pandemics, are examined with attention to their national security implications and impacts on the global commons. The authors aim to trigger new ways of thinking about the complex challenges of these issues. Because their effects are mostly the result of individuals and states acting out of self-interest rather than harmful intent, these three issues are treated as "threats without threateners." With sources and solutions that cross national and regional boundaries, multiple parties working together are more effective than unilateral action. In all three areas, risks are hard to assess, in both severity and time frame; therefore, mustering political will and coalitions for action is inherently difficult. The paper describes four overlapping clusters of policy approaches, international negotiations, coalitions of the willing, transcommunity networking, and anti-fragile approaches, and their relative successes and limitations. Considered one of the policy approaches with the greatest potential for tackling interconnected global challenges, anti-fragile systems do not just cope with change or uncertainty; they benefit from them. They search for alternatives that attract new participants, scale to accommodate those new participants, and create positive feedback loops that enable them not only to perform as well as or better than legacy systems but to continually improve over time. Using suggestive examples to illustrate each type of approach, the paper builds a case for the evolution of policy away from fixing problems and toward new possibilities and combinations of methods to address threats that are both chronic and acute.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Exploring Three Threats Without Threateners

  • Chapter Three

    Conceiving Policy: Suggestive Cases

  • Chapter Four

    From "Fixing" to Adapting and Beyond

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusion

  • Appendix

    Computing Environments as an Analogy for Policy Approaches

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Skoll Global Threats Fund and was conducted within the Center for Global Risk and Security under the auspices of the International Programs of the RAND Corporation.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation occasional paper series. RAND occasional papers may include an informed perspective on a timely policy issue, a discussion of new research methodologies, essays, a paper presented at a conference, or a summary of work in progress. All RAND occasional papers undergo rigorous peer review to help ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.