DNI Clapper presents IC Worldwide Threat Assessment

James Clapper ODNI 112On February 9, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper presented the Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment at a Senate Armed Services Committee. Following is an excerpt from his opening statement:

Chairman McCain and Ranking Member Reed and distinguished members of the committee, first thank you both for your acknowledgment of my service. It was last week marked 55 years since I enlisted in the Marine Corps reserve. Very proud of that. And proud to be sitting next to one. And I also, Chairman McCain, want to thank you for your acknowledgment of the great men and women who work in the intelligence community, for both of us. And I also appreciate your, I thought, very accurate statement about the capabilities of the intelligence community,  what we can and can’t do, and what is reasonable to expect and not to expect us to do.

General Stewart and I are here today to update you on some, but certainly not all, of the pressing intelligence national security issues facing our nation.  And after listening to both of your statements, I think you’re going to hear some echoes here. In the interest of time, and to get to your questions, I’ll just cover some of the wave tops.

As I said last year, unpredictable instability has become the “new normal,” and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Violent extremists are operationally active in about 40 countries. Seven countries are experiencing a collapse of central government authority, 14 others face regime-threatening, or violent, instability or both. Another 59 countries face a significant risk of instability through 2016.

The record level of migrants, more than one million arriving in Europe, is likely to grow further this year. Migration and displacement will strain countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. There are now some 60 million people who are considered displaced globally.

Extreme weather, climate change, environmental degradation, rising demand for food and water, poor policy decisions and inadequate infrastructure will magnify this instability. Infectious diseases and vulnerabilities in the global supply chain for medical countermeasures will continue to pose threats. For example, the Zika virus, first detected in the Western Hemisphere in 2014, has reached the US and is projected to cause up to four million cases in this hemisphere.

With that preface, I want to briefly comment on both technology and cyber. Technological innovation during the next few years will have an even more significant impact on our way of life. This innovation is central to our economic prosperity, but it will bring new security vulnerabilities. The Internet of Things will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited. Artificial intelligence will enable computers to make autonomous decisions about data and physical systems—and potentially disrupt labor markets.

The full opening statement is available here.

The unclassified threat assessment is available here.

Source: ODNI