Each week our scan collects weak – and less weak – signals… We present below some of the most interesting or relevant features for each section.

World (all matters related to war, international and national security) – An interesting statement by the US Army Chief of Staff sums up well the current situation for many countries: “I need more money and troops for today’s threats”. This points out the complete lack of foresight – and warning – that plague our societies as the now inadequate strategy and budget General Odierno refers too are dated 2012, which is only 2 years past.

This also underlines the conundrum of neo-liberal societies. First, to briefly summarize, they tend to believe that trade and globalisation has ended all wars, if not history, while state spending must be cut. As a result, as with all ideologies as they become biases, proper analysis, proper foresight and proper decisions become impossible. Second, there is the never-ending or returning grinding crisis (see economy section below) that stops growth and thus the automatic increase of resources available to societies to face threats.

These two features combine to make societies unable to stop threats in a timely and proper manner – when they do not contribute to create threats when none previously existed. As other ideologies (read, for example Chris Zappone “A new Cold War ideology…“) and biases, as well as inefficiencies to say nothing about the promotion of mediocrity and incompetency among elite groups (see, for an explanation, material and ideological stakes in an outdated worldview) amalgamate, the threats, in turn, swell. Then, one day or another, resources must imperatively be found, when they are even less available than previously. What are the ways forward? Probably, for a while, the downward spiral will continue, until the system is forced to change to be able to face and answer the new threats, with a hope to win… except that having changed it will have disappeared anyway. But is it not how societies have changed and evolved throughout time?

Technology and armaments – Among others, check the articles about IARPA’s speech recognition challenge, 2014 Defense One Summit and EPA’s key priorities of the revised Capability Development Plan.

Energy and environment security – Besides “Germany plans to withdraw from binding 2020 climate targets”, which signals (again) the lack of real concern of various governments for seriously tackling anthropogenic climate change, and many articles on renewable energies, a rarer reminder about the crucial importance of biodiversity and more specifically bees for food security, as 70 of the 100 crop species that provide 90% food are pollinated by bees.

Science  – A very interesting on using the metrics of resilience, contrasting first the resilience and the risk assessment approaches and then exploring how military doctrine and military-science-based research can help defining proper resilience metrics, that could then be applied across government (and organizations).

Economy (look here for issues related to economic crises, monetary policy, inequality, or budget deficit for example) – Many articles this week are about the bad data for Japan – which were to be expected, considering, notably, the amazing amount of its public deficit, even if the when remained a mystery – as well as the slow down in China. This is most likely to mean a return of the grinding global crisis, assuming it has ever stopped.

Ebola – The good news this week is that the outbreak seems to be stabilizing in Liberia, considering the heavy inflow of means. The continuing absence of contagion outside the region is also positive. The potentially bad news, beyond an absence of improvement notably in Sierra Leone,  and cases in Mali, is the death of a repatriated patient in the US, despite the use of Zdam.  According to the WHO latest situation report, we now have “a total of 15113 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of EVD and 5406 deaths …reported up to the end of 16 November 2014.”

Read the 20 November scan →

The Weekly is the scan of The Red (Team) Analysis Society and it focuses on national and international security issues. It was started as an experiment with Paper.li as a way to collect ideas, notably through Twitter. Its success and its usefulness led to its continuation.

The information collected (crowdsourced) does not mean endorsement but points to new, emerging, escalating or stabilizing problems and issues.

If you wish to consult the scan after the end of the week period, use the “archives” directly on The Weekly.

Featured image: “C-band Radar-dish Antenna”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

About the author: Dr Helene Lavoix (MSc PhD Lond)

Dr Helene Lavoix, PhD Lond (International Relations), is the Director of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. She is specialised in strategic foresight and warning for national and international security issues. Her current focus is on Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Science, and Security. She teaches at Master level at SciencesPo-PSIA.

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