Sources of Future Conflict

Long-Range Security Implications of Key Regional and Global Trends

by Zalmay Khalilzad

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This research brief describes work documented in Sources of Conflict in the 21st Century: Regional Futures and U.S. Strategy (MR-897-AF).

Excerpt: The end of the Cold War has called for new approaches to global, long-range defense planning. Potential sources and types of conflict, even if less dangerous, have become more diverse and less predictable. Meanwhile, the range of missions for military forces has placed increasing emphasis on low-intensity and nonconflict capabilities that were considered marginal in the Cold War. Most important, the nature of global security itself has been redefined: Formerly peripheral challenges such as migration and economic competition, together with the more obvious risks associated with the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), now compete with conventional military rivalries for the attention of policymakers and military leaders attempting to formulate plans for upcoming decades.

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