Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
6 February 1999 Source: http://www.usia.gov/current/news/topic/intrel/99020208.tpo.html?/products/washfile/newsitem.shtml
USIS Washington File _________________________________
02 February 1999
HUGHES STATEMENT AT SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING FEB. 2
(Discusses international security, threats to US) (1810)
Washington -- "The international security environment remains volatile, complex, and difficult," Defense Intelligence Agency Director General Patrick M. Hughes told a February 2 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"This general global turmoil," he said in his opening statement, will "continue at least through the next decade." Of specific concern, he said, are the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, intense ethnic conflict particulary in the Balkans, terrorist activities such as the African embassy bombings, and the development of longer-range missiles in North Korea and Iran.
The United States should "anticipate an environment in which threats, challenges, and opportunities coexist," Hughes said.
Technology development and proliferation. I am very concerned about weapons of mass destruction and missile proliferation and will address these issues separately. However, there are other critical "enabling" technologies -- including numerous "new sciences" -- that can dramatically affect the nature and capabilities of future threats. Some examples include:
-- Nanotechnology ... packaging advanced capabilities and functions in very small and lightweight form using micro and sub-micro manufacturing and machining technology (in particular, building weapons systems that are smaller, faster, lighter, yet more destructive).
-- Biotechnologies ... particularly the bioengineering of organisms created for very specific purposes (e.g. biological agents that will infect and incapacitate a specific group of people).
-- Information-related technologies ... including advanced encryption, high volume data handling, complex computational capability, and offensive and defensive information warfare capabilities.
Critical Uncertainties. There are numerous issues -- to include the great transitions underway in Russia and China, the future of the Korean peninsula, the prospects for lasting peace in the Middle East, the Balkans, and sub-Sahara Africa, evolving global and regional security structures and institutions, and an array of upcoming leadership changes -- whose outcome will dramatically impact the global security situation. Uncertainty about these and other key issues brings great stress to the international order. I can foresee no condition, power, or circumstance that is likely to emerge during the next 10-20 years that will transcend these factors and lead to a more stable and predictable global order.