A new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report has determined the five global ‘megatrends’ set to have a profound and disruptive effect on defense and security environments.
The shift in global economic power, accelerating urbanisation, demographic shifts, the rise of technology, and climate change and resource scarcity are the five key megatrends widely believed to be shaping the future, with the impact posing a need for more accountability and agility from governments; in addition to greater collaboration to combat risk.
Entitled ‘Five Megatrends and their implications for Global Defense and Security’, analysts found:
The shift in global economic power – will create more powerful national economies in different regions with greater resources to protect, and greater resources available to invest in defence and security. The shift could also decrease the dependence of some nations on the traditional power projectors, such as the US for protection, as well as increase burden-sharing to ensure economic trade routes and free navigation are protected from hostile actors. Extensive and complex supply chains will become increasingly vulnerable to disruption from cyber criminals engaged in industrial espionage, theft, or terror-based disruptive activities.
Accelerating urbanisation – could mean that the combined power of growing ‘megacities’ will rival that of national governments due to the sheer size of their constituencies. The explosion in urbanisation will present tremendous challenges for law enforcement, intelligence and internal security agencies, in addition to traditional defense organisations. Providing adequate police and security for these areas will prove costly and will require a higher level of interagency information-sharing and collaboration.
Demographic changes – indicates that demand for social services and healthcare in the West will place severe pressure on budget priorities that could compete with, or even crowd out, defense and security expenditures. In contrast, the growth in the youth populations among emerging markets could potentially create increased radicalisation and civil unrest, and a greater likelihood for disruptive transnational movements to take hold in these societies.
The rise of technology – offers exciting advances that promotes even greater analytics, communications and automation. However, it also creates new vulnerabilities that will challenge law enforcement, security, and defense organisations like never before. The combination of mobile devices, data analytics, the internet, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing will provide defense and security organisations step-function increases in capabilities to address and respond to threats that will be using the same, commercially available tools to do harm. The challenge for will be to adapt and adapt these tools at the speed of business—not the traditional speed of government.
Climate change and resource scarcity – will increase tensions between nations over access to natural resources. As the global population continues to grow, these disputes will become more acute and critical to national survival, particularly when it comes to very basic resources such as food, water, and energy sources. PwC predicts this will lead to regional and potentially global confrontations over water, oil, wind, fishing, hunting, and other mineral rights.
Tom Modly, global government sectors leader at PwC, said: “The depth and complexity of the security challenges posed by the global megatrends will demand ‘whole of society’ solutions. And these solutions must leverage the technological, collaborative and commercial benefits that the megatrends themselves will enable.
“But we must not fear the megatrends or their resultant defense and security challenges. Rather, we should anticipate these changes, take them seriously, and apply creativity and resources to stay ahead of the critical issues they will present.”