Megatrends set to disrupt defence and security

Online since 1.03.2017 • Filed under Safety & Security • From Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 page(s) 59-60
Megatrends set to disrupt defence and security

Global megatrends are set to have a profound and disruptive effect on defence and security environments around the world, reveals a new PwC report.

The impact of global megatrends poses a need for more agility and accountability from governments, and greater collaboration across the whole of society to combat risk, warn PwC’s global defence and security leaders.

The five megatrends that are widely believed to be shaping the future of our world are the shift in global economic power, demographic shifts, accelerating urbanisation, the rise of technology, and climate change and resource scarcity.

These key trends and their potential impact is analysed in a new report from PwC, entitled Five Megatrends and Their Implications for Global Defense and Security.

Shift in global economic power

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 and 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.

Demographic shifts

Demographic changes mean that as populations in the West age, the demand for social services and healthcare will put severe pressure on budget priorities that could compete with or even crowd out defence and security expenditures.

In contrast, the growth in the youth populations in emerging markets could create increased radicalisation and civil unrest, and a greater likelihood for disruptive transnational movements to take hold in these societies. This could create both internal and external security issues that will require greater investment and innovative strategies to combat.

Accelerating urbanisation

Accelerating urbanisation could mean that the aggregate power of the growing megacities will rival that of national governments because of the sheer size of their constituencies. The explosion in urbanisation will present tremendous challenges for law enforcement, intelligence and internal security agencies, as well as traditional defence organisations.

Providing adequate police and security for these areas will be costly and will require a higher level of interagency information-sharing and collaboration.

The Rise of technology

The rise of technology offers exciting new technological advances that promote even greater automation, analytics, and communications. However, it also creates new vulnerabilities that will challenge law enforcement, security, and defence organisations like never before.

The combination of the internet, mobile devices, data analytics, drones, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing will provide defence 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 defence and security organisations will be to develop and adapt these tools at the speed of business – not the traditional speed of government.

Climate change and resource scarcity

Meanwhile, 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 more critical to national survival, particularly when it comes to very basic resources such as food, water, and energy.

This will undoubtedly lead to regional and potentially global confrontations over water, oil, wind, fishing, hunting, and other mineral rights.

Says Tom Modly, PwC’s Global Government Sectors Leader: ‘The depth and complexity of the security challenges posed by the global megatrends will demand “whole of society” solutions. And these must leverage the technological, collaborative and commercial benefits that the megatrends themselves will enable.

‘However, we must not fear the megatrends or their resultant defence 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.’

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017

This article was featured on page 59-60 of SABI Magazine Issue 5 - March 2017 - August 2017 .

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