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Time for a New Threat Paradigm

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Technical Report

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Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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The Cold War left two things in the United States, a mindset that threats equated to traditional, military force-versus-force activities and a framework to build strategy based upon threat assessment. One endures while the other has been superseded by todays globalized environment. In a world where economic power provides the basis for all other power, the greatest threat to a nation now comes from the potential to attack an economy. Yet, traditional mindsets prevail when assessing threats, focusing on traditional force-on-force conflicts. This paradigm must change in order to accurately focus efforts in order to protect national power on the international stage. The same framework used to assess the Soviet threat during the Cold War, to draft NSC-68, applies to assessing todays economic threats. If the United States used that same framework, shifting its threat paradigm to focus on protecting US economic power from attack, the nation would have a comprehensive grand strategy to sustain its international power well into the 21st century.

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