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Julia McQuaidPamela G. FaberZack Gold
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In addition to threats from nation-states, the United States government (USG), including the Department of Defense (DOD) and the intelligence community, points to transnational challenges as an area of rising importance for the future. The recognition that threats to U.S. national security at home and abroad come from non- state and/or non-traditional sources that span national boundaries has resulted in an increasing demand for research and analysis on these threats. Some transnational challenges, including terrorism, criminal networks, and piracy, are long-standing and familiar; however, there are also a number of transnational challenges, such as water stress, human trafficking, and transnational organized crime that are increasingly being cited as having a direct link to U.S. national security. The USG needs to have a greater understanding of these current and emerging challenges in order to determine where they fit within the broader spectrum of U.S. national security priorities.

This report explores the realm of transnational challenges and provides an organizational and conceptual framework to better understand them. We also discuss how and why transnational challenges matter for U.S. national security and how they relate to other U.S. national security priorities. We seek to bring clarity to what is an inherently murky topic in a way that supports USG efforts to address these challenges.

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited.


  • Pages: 38
  • Document Number: DOP-2017-U-016251-1Rev
  • Publication Date: 11/20/2017
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