Every nation has to deal with threats of some kind. These can be social threats, where a nation has to deal with a neighboring country’s aggression. Yet, they don’t have to be entirely manmade. Threats can also be natural, as the recent coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated all too well. Essentially, a threat is one that challenges a country’s power and disrupts its citizens’ wellbeing.
With various threats that can wreak havoc at any time, it is essential that protection is in place. This is where national security comes into play. National security safeguards not only its citizens but also its economic and financial stability.
This article will spotlight some of the main threats faced by the United States. It will also detail what national security does to protect against these threats and if their work effectively protects its citizens against growing challenges.
For the uninitiated, economic warfare is where a country’s economy is targeted to diminish its overall military and political power. This can be done in various ways, including sanctions, the freezing of capital assets, boycotts, trade embargoes, suspension of aid, and expropriation.
As the Center on Economic and Financial Power reveals, economic warfare is a prominent threat to the United States. Opponents such as China and Russia are utilizing increasingly sophisticated methods to undermine US interests. To prevent this from damaging the US’s future economic prospects, national security has to incorporate new technologies and strategies that counter the latest threats.
As technology is ever-evolving, it is imperative national security remains ahead of the curve to ensure the economic landscape is a prosperous one – and not damaged by adversaries with ulterior motives.
Another type of warfare that can be inflicted is biological warfare. While certain diseases occur naturally, there are others that are manufactured with malignancy in mind. Biological has the potential to cause significant damage to a country if the right defense isn’t used.
One example of this is anthrax. Caused by Bacillus anthracis, this potentially lethal disease has been around in some form for centuries. It was during World War I, however, that this naturally occurring bacterium was exploited and weaponized. Due to how easy the bacteria can be found and synthesized, anthrax is known as a common biological warfare agent.
Of course, this is only one bioterror threat. There are various others – both new and existing – that the US Government has to be prepared for at all times.
When it comes to national security, they utilize several methods to prevent the damage that biological attacks can cause. This includes ensuring public health workers receive the right training, so they know how to implement rapid responses to attacks. Other tactics include passing laws to prohibit certain hazardous ingredients from being possessed or transferred and the government providing additional funding to public health departments so they can stockpile treatments and medications.
Terrorism has impacted the United States for centuries, but it was put under the biggest spotlight after the 9/11 attacks. Twenty years later, this still remains the biggest terrorist attack the US has suffered. Yet even though another attack, thankfully, hasn’t come close to the damage caused by 9/11, there’s always the looming danger of another happening at any time.
The reason for this is simple: they can sometimes be impossible to anticipate. Plus, with the rise of domestic terrorism as highlighted by the recent assault on the US Capital, attacks don’t have to be coordinated by outside sources. As shown by the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, a planned attack can go undetected with no obvious motive.
In relation, there’s also the growing threat of cyberterrorism. With the use of advanced hacking tools, cyberterrorists have the potential to bring down everything from banking systems to utility infrastructures.
While not all attacks can be prevented for obvious reasons, the government has taken multiple precautions to limit their frequency. Anyone deemed the Department of Defense closely monitors a risk. As far as cyberattacks are concerned, businesses and municipalities can also be educated with the best practices to enforce strong cybersecurity and encryption measures.
It’s not uncommon for foreign governments to launch attacks with hostile intentions. This can include direct acts of aggression, to the point it can lead to something as serious as full-blown wars that can last for years. However, attacks are not necessarily those which are so upfront and obvious. They may also be subtle and difficult to detect. Examples of this are election interference and espionage.
As for how these issues can be rectified, it is not always possible for obvious reasons. Yet, negotiations between governments can often help to resolve major concerns.
Natural diseases and disasters
The coronavirus has demonstrated how a natural disease can bring a country down to its knees. As well as being a threat to the wellbeing of citizens, natural diseases like coronavirus can be damaging to socioeconomic structures. The diseases’ highly infectious natures means that businesses across the country have had to close their doors – whether temporarily or permanently.
With industries being negatively impacted across the board, this is leading to two problems: higher unemployment rates and the need for government support. Yet, as the government provides financial aid to those requiring support, this leads to the country suffering from significant economic distress.
To help citizens and reduce the overall damage caused by the disease, the government has taken various steps. This includes supplying clear communication to the general public about aspects like social distancing and handwashing and providing vaccines to combat the effects of the disease.
Natural disasters can also be damaging to a similar degree. Climate change has aided everything from droughts to rising sea levels. The latter can lead to flooding, which can cause significant damage to buildings and infrastructure in areas near rivers and the coast. To limit the growing presence of natural disasters, national security has implemented local emission goals for companies to meet and invested in eco-friendly technology.