Fighting Chance


Fighting Chance

Global Trends and Shocks in the National Security Environment

Edited by Neyla Arnas

340 pages


July 2009


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eBook (PDF)
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September 2011


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About the Book

Compiled to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing security environment, this important collection grew out of an innovative Department of Defense (DOD) workshop. The book’s purpose is to examine strategic trends, their defense relevance, how they may overlap to produce strategic “shocks”—such as the launch of Sputnik and the fall of the Berlin Wall—and how the United States might prepare for such events to mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities. From a broad range of backgrounds, distinguished authors work from the premise of the six trend categories identified by DOD: conflict; demographics; economy; environment; culture, identity, and governance; and science and technology. Another group of regional experts considers these six categories in the context of their respective regions: Africa, China, Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russia and Eurasia, South Asia, and Latin America. Looking insightfully at broad trends, Fighting Chance goes well beyond the obvious dangers they might pose in order to warn of future perils—and to suggest opportunities.

Author Bio

Editor Neyla Arnas is a senior research fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at National Defense University in Washington.


"Fighting Chance is a premier effort to think about the future in terms that recognize and come to grips with the role of complexity, discontinuity, and surprise in the course of human events as we experience them, not just as theoreticians schematicize them. Here, we find a thorough effort to think about national security in its broadest terms. . . . Fighting Chance illuminates the kind of agenda that our policymaking process must expect to handle."—Leon Fuerth, Research Professor of International Affairs, The George Washington University

"This is an extraordinary effort, addressing the impact on effective strategic defense planning of security-relevant trends and wild cards or 'shocks' in a systematic and thoughtful manner. It brings together an especially wide range of subject expertise to assess both the global and regional impacts of accelerating change and represents a significant addition to the defense foresight literature. Especially useful are the discussions of complex adaptive systems and the utility of social and cognitive research, leadership development, and educational collaboration in improving strategic foresight."—Timothy C. Mack, President, World Future Society

"We are in an era of shock and surprise when the unexpected -- from 9/11 to Katrina to the global economic downturn -- can force a redirection of national attention. This valuable volume should alert all of us to the range of potential sources of strategic surprise that can, individually or in combination, produce fundamental discontinuities in global trends. Being alert can help us be ready."—Casimira A. Yost, Georgetown University

"Arnas successfully brings together military and civilian opinion to produce an intriguing panoramic view of our world's geopolitical future. . . . Experts of all kinds would do well to study it. They will find it offers an impressive assessment of the global scene, and a fine example of the trend analyses we must apply to comprehend it."—World Future Review