Growth in US personal wealth is at best flat, and domestic debt is following an exponential upward curve. 2020’s national debt to GDP is on track to be at 100%, for the eighth year in a row. The twin factors of high national and personal debt were factors identified as key causes of the 2008 Financial Crisis. As the financial impacts from COVID manifest, we can expect to see a global depression far worse than that seen in 2008. This will foment increasing national and international trends in physical- and cyber-crime, particularly amongst disenfranchised youth. In the coming months and years, a holistic approach to strategic, operational, and tactical, intelligence-led risk planning is critical in the management of these evolving threats.
The U.S. and the world economies are highly integrated. Economic downturns cause a ubiquitous decrease in public spending, often resulting in an overall increase in crime. Additionally, a more technologically aware and younger criminal demographic than previous, will herald an exponential increase in cybercrime. Cybercrimes are often seen as ‘victimless’ and carry softer sentencing (and therefore less disincentive) than ‘traditional’, violent crime. Domestic and workplace violence typically also rise during periods of economic hardship; while Transnational and foreign government-sponsored crime also see explosive growth trends.
US companies should proactively mitigate these emerging risks. Just as ‘low level’ cybercrime is expected to increase, we can expect to see developing trends in corporate espionage and sabotage, at micro, macro, and government-sponsored levels. This is no more or less than a cyber arms race, and those who fail to protect their organizations will be actively targeted and punished by criminal groups.
Companies seeking to mitigate these threats will need timely and relevant intelligence, in-depth planning, access to security resources outside of traditional law enforcement and constant, active monitoring of all forms of media for fact-checking and threat identification.
Questions to Consider:
In the event of a global depression, what must leaders do to mitigate current, as well as emerging, security risks? Developing countries will face overwhelming domestic pressure for funds, leading to shifting alliances with potential donor nations. How will this affect supply chain and business continuity?
COVID-19: The HIGHLIGHTS
A paper-based electro chemical test can detect COVID-19 in under five minutes, and a CRISPR- based phone app can detect the virus RNA. A well-developed ‘Test, Track, and Trace’ program is a key component of virus containment, and ready public access to reliable test kits has not been available to date, unlike in places such as Hong Kong, where tests are now available from vending machines. While some countries, and states, are increasing quarantine measures, England will no longer quarantine “high value” travelers.
US workers, that have returned to the workplace, are finding themselves under new constraints as breakouts are occurring in common rooms.
The NY Times has created an interactive “Find Your Place in the Vaccine Line” webpage to estimate when you may be eligible for vaccination.
BEYOND THE NOISE: GLOBAL AND REGIONAL UNREST
Global tensions are rising and countries are advancing the production of complex, and devastating, weapon systems. Bread riots are breaking out in Beirut as subsidies end. Boko Haram has taken credit for killing 78 Nigerian farmers. Emboldened by a change in the US Administration, Iran has taken steps to stop nuclear inspections. FireEye, a cyber security company, has been hacked by foreign state actors. Independently, these are all concerning. When combined with the multi-tiered impacts of a global depression, we are witnessing the blending of a volatile cocktail that, unless stabilized, will explode under the coronavirus catalyst.
TRUSTED RESOURCES: for numbers & guidance
Johns Hopkins University – Coronavirus Resource Center
World Health Organization – COVID-19 Pandemic
Center for Disease Control – Coronavirus (COVID-19)