Thursday 01 August 2013

Today’s world is a complex place. With so many new global connections, understanding the strategic implications of any world event now requires better than average judgment. In just one short example, making good choices concerning water and food security today in the UAE requires one to understand the security implications of international trade, renewable energy, geography, and demographics, and to have at least some insight into innovations in desalination technology. Strategy and national security are never simple.
This nation is fortunate to have visionary leaders and high quality strategic plans developed by the government that help chart the right course for the future. Still, an ever-widening knowledge base, strong critical thinking skills and an ability to apply proven processes in times of uncertainty will still be required in order to actualize the bountiful vision now set for the UAE by its leaders.

Since the middle of the past century the world has experienced phenomenal growth and undergone significant changes. The use of satellites, the internet and cell phone technology are only three of the many things that have changed the world and our daily lives in ways that could not have been foreseen only a few decades before they occurred. It is highly likely that the next few decades will be even more dynamic and will bring forth both new challenges and unanticipated opportunities that will also change our lives in unexpected ways.

The newly created National Defense College has as its mission the preparation of both military and civilian leaders; it is designed to improve their skills in assessing and addressing new challenges to national, regional and international security so that these leaders can better understand the requirements for managing state resources and defending our national interests. In his fine book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, noted author Nassim Nicholas Taleb highlights the difficulties in preparing for rare, hard-to-predict events that could threaten national security, but even far more routine activities can also have devastating strategic effects if we do not fully understand them.

Any prescription for developing greater resiliency within a nation calls for increased awareness of the issues and, more importantly, a greater understanding of the interconnected nature of national strategic concerns. We will sponsor discussion of some of these dynamic, strategic issues that could have major impacts upon national security in future editions of Nation Shield; in doing so, we aim to increase dialog, deepen awareness, and further the national interest.