The world is becoming an interconnected community. The events or crisis in one region will affect the conditions in other areas of the world. As the world continues to become more interconnected and interdependent, the challenges continue to increase their impact. Although other challenges, such as climate change and access to energy and water may exist, the focus of this discussion will be on the four global commons described in the instructor’s notes and your assigned reading. While the challenges described in your assigned reading may be presented as threats and opportunities, for this part of the discussion you will focus on assessing global commons as threats.
For your discussion and after reading the Module Notes and the required reading:
In your assessment, describe the greatest challenge or threat to stability and security to the international community. Include the potential effects if the U.S. and the international community do not manage your selected challenge or threat. Include examples to illustrate your position.
Module Notes: Global Challenges and Opportunities
As you begin to think about leadership within the military and via a global context, it is important to understand a few key principles that guide leadership within the military. It is also important to note that while the U.S. Military is world renowned for its incredible depth of leadership foundations, it is just like any other organization and deals with poor leaders who have veered from the intended purpose of leadership.
Global Commons: Maritime, Air, Space, and Cyber
Since the birth of this country, the U.S. Military has assumed the responsibility for its safeguard. At first, the U.S. Military provided domestic security for the country while promoting prosperity as the nation expanded. Today, it can be argued that the role of the military includes the safeguard of all lines of communication. The safeguard of these lines allows for the free flow of ideas, commerce, and travel. The ability to protect these lines is crucial to the stability of the international community (Scott, 2012).
The security of the U.S. and the international community depends on the safeguard of the global commons. The global commons constitute four domains: maritime, air, space, and cyber:
Maritime: the area included under this global common is the water routes that are not under any country’s jurisdiction. The threats to this line of communication include state and non-state actors. For example, if tensions erupt in the Middle East, the Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most important strategic chokepoints of oil transit. For this reason, this line of communication is crucial to the free flow of commerce and oil.
Air: the air area includes the airspace that is not under any country’s jurisdiction. The threat to this line of communication may interrupt air travel and commerce. This global common is under constant threat from state and non-state actors. Prime examples include the shooting down of the commercial aircrafts Korean Airline Flight 007 and Iran Air Flight 655.
Space: this area starts where objects can remain in orbit. The global community depends on space to sustain and improve navigation, communications, and sharing of data. The threat to this global common comes from state actors. For example, the Chinese test of anti-satellite weapons in 2007 against the Fengyun 1C generated 2,691 bits of debris, many of which remains in low-Earth-orbit and represents a hazard to other satellite constellations.
Cyber: this is the digital world generated through computer networks. This global common is under threat by state and non-state actors. Their targets include military, financial, or infrastructure. As the world becomes more dependent on technology and the digital world, the threat to these objectives becomes more critical. Attacks to this domain may be generated from states such as India, North Korea, Russia, or China. Non-sate actors such as anonymous or terrorist organizations can also represent a threat.
Although not included in the above commons, the possibility of a hybrid attack is real. Under this concept, a country may be the target of a cyber attack and threaten the global common of air, maritime, or space. Although there is not a unanimous consensus on whether or not cyber attacks constitute an act of war, it is important to recognize that the threat is real and that state and non-state actors are capable and willing to use cyber as a weapon.
Complexities of a global environment: Interdependence as a solution?
According to Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “We are shifting from mostly direct exercise and application of power to a more sophisticated and difficult mix of indirect power and influence” (Scott, 2012, Pg 6). With the end of the Cold War, international conflict became a more complex conflict. For example, during the Cold War, the conflict in areas such as space was limited to the United States and the Soviet Union. After the Cold War other state actors became participants of space common. As stated by Sec Clinton, the exercise and application of power is more difficult and complex.
Despite the new conditions of the global environment, a new opportunity may arise from this complex environment. Given the complexity of the challenges and threats, a need to operate under joint operations may represent a crucial opportunity. For this reason, the United States and the international community should take advantages and forge cooperation amongst the international community and with private, government, and non-government organizations.
Jasper, S. (2012). Conflict and Cooperation in the Global Commons : A Comprehensive Approach for International Security (Links to an external site.). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Read pages 1-13, 141-152