US Military Study on 'Post-US Primacy'

"The imperative for fresh perspectives on enterprise-level risk and risk assessment emerge from the broad recognition of two adverse realities confronting the United States and its defense establishment. The rest is the increasing vulnerability, erosion, and, in some cases, the loss of an assumed U.S. military advantage vis-à-vis many of its most consequential defense-relevant challenges. The second concerns the volatile and uncer- tain restructuring of international security affairs in ways that appear to be increasingly hostile to unchallenged U.S. leadership. At Our Own Peril identifies this new or newly recognized period as one of **'post-U.S. primacy'**.

In the team’s assessment, post-primacy has these interrelated characteristics:

* Hyperconnectivity and weaponization of information, disinformation, and disaffection;
* A rapidly fracturing post-Cold War status quo;
* Proliferation, diversi cation, and atomization of effective counter-U.S. resistance;
* Resurgent but transformed great power competition; and,
* Violent or disruptive dissolution of political cohesion and identity.

Individually and in combination, these post-primacy characteristics have extraordinary impacts on defense-relevant hazards and demands, and, by implication, enterprise-level risk and risk assessment. For strategists and senior defense decision-makers, the ve post-primacy characteristics call for more dynamic, forward-looking, and adaptive ap- proaches to both strategy development and risk assessment.

Consistent with current DoD practice and terms, the study team laid the conceptual foundation for their work by describing risk in four key dimensions: military, strategic, operational, and future challenges. The rst two represent terminal ends on a vertical risk assessment continuum, whereas the latter two are similarly endpoints on a horizon- tal or time-based spectrum.

On the vertical continuum from top to bottom, strategic risk is the likelihood that DoD fails to effectively focus or de ne what the team calls DoD’s principal risk portfolio. Military risk, on the other hand, involves judgments on the likelihood that DoD fails to adequately counter hazards to enduring defense objectives through the individual demands included in the portfolio. Along the horizontal time con- tinuum, operational risk involves judgments on DoD’s near-term vulnerabilities in the former two dimensions, and future challenges risk accounts for similar vulnerabilities over time."

This is an excerpt from a 140 page study done by the extremely dense read but there is a nice overview here:, discussing the implications of what this line of thinking might mean. Its somewhat remarkable that they are able to be this honest; as an aside I find the language used fascinating in its density and lack of objective meaning.

tags: PostPrimacy,Risk,Millitary,Future,FutureShock,Article