Strategic Monitor 2014: Four Strategic Challenges

May 21st 2014 - 16:51

Decades of rising prosperity and increasing interdependence between states have significantly diminished the chance of direct conflict. But new security challenges now threaten to undermine this trend. The HCSS Strategic Monitor 2014 explores four such challenges to our global security environment: assertiveness of China and Russia, the rise of ‘pivot states’, instability in the MENA region, and the changing role of non-state actors in security issues.

It yields four main conclusions:

1. There has been a marked rise in the assertiveness of great powers in recent years, made manifest in ever more confrontational moves, from the Russian annexation of the Crimea to the enhanced Chinese presence in the South-Chinese Sea. This implies a significant increase in the chance of great power conflict.
2. Tensions manifest themselves primarily in ‘pivot states’, such as Ukraine, where the spheres of influence of rival great powers overlap.
3. Regional conflict and instability are edging ever closer to the periphery of Europe. Many MENA states remain vulnerable to specific forms of conflict.
4. Security threats, and particularly solutions, will come more and more from non-state actors.

The report was presented on May 21st 2014 to the Dutch Minister of Defense, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. The minister commended the report, stating that it demonstrates “that there is no standard, catch-all recipe for deploying military force […] we must be prepared for a plurality of operations.” She went on to say that “the Strategic Monitor is a crucial tool for our Defense policy development.” She also expressed hope that the developments identified in the report will be incorporated in the current and ongoing security debate, especially since “[Dutch] society is slowly regaining its awareness of the value of defense. People are waking up.”

You can download the Strategic Monitor 2014 report (in English) with the button on the right.

You can download the (Dutch) press release here

Frank Bekkers is Director of the Security Program. He studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Amsterdam and spent most of his career at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), specializing in the area of Defence, Safety & Security. At TNO, he held a range of positions, including program manager, senior research scientist, group manager and account director. From 1996-1997, he worked as program manager for Call Media and Intelligent Networks for the telecom company KPN. His current position at HCSS combines shaping HCSS’s portfolio concerning defense and security-related projects with hands-on participation in a number of key projects.
As an air force officer he has an extensive operational background in air & missile defence, serving as battery control officer with Hawk and Patriot systems, commander of 119 Active Air Defence Squadron at Air Base Leeuwarden and commander of the Guided Missile Group at Air Base De Peel.
Stephan De Spiegeleire is Principal Scientist at HCSS. He has Master’s degrees from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Columbia University in New York, as well as a C.Phil. degree in Political Science from UCLA. He worked for the RAND Corporation for nearly ten years, interrupted by stints at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the WEU’s Institute for Security Studies. Mr. De Spiegeleire started out as a Soviet specialist, but has since branched out into several fields of international security and defense policy. His current work at HCSS focuses on strategic defense management, security resilience, network-centrism, capabilities-based planning, and the transformation of defense planning.
Dr. Tim Sweijs is the Director of Research at The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the initiator, creator and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for horizon scanning, early warning, conflict analysis, national security risk assessment, and strategy and capability development. Tim has lectured at universities and military academies around the world. His main research interest concerns the changing character of contemporary conflict. Tim is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Defence Academy and an Affiliate at the Center for International Strategy, Technology and Policy in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Willem Theo Oosterveld is a non-resident senior fellow at HCSS. His areas of expertise include the politics of the Middle East, conflict analysis and peacebuilding, as well as law and development. He holds degrees in political science, international law, and history, having studied in Amsterdam, Leiden, Paris and New York, and was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. A former Fulbright scholar, he earned a PhD from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.