Earlier this month, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) published a report intended to provide policymakers with an overview of “the key trends and uncertainties that will shape the strategic environment for the United States during the next two decades.” The NIC’s officers, drawn from across the U.S. government, academia, and the private sector, support the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)—that is, the body that oversees the sprawling U.S. intelligence community.
No one has a crystal ball, but the NIC has written a similar assessment every four years since 1979, hoping to “to help policymakers and citizens anticipate and prepare for a range of possible futures.”
There is much one can say about the report, which is 156 pages long. Titled “Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World,” the assessment envisions a world in which America continues to face formidable challenges, including from other nations.
Below are some observations that are relevant for the issues I focus on at Vital Interests.