In August 2009, President Obama declared in a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars: “One of the best ways to lead our troops wisely is to prevent the conflicts that cost American blood and treasure tomorrow.” As I previously noted, the U.S. military has a terrible record of predicting the locations and types of conflicts that it will face. For the past five years, in an effort to assist policymakers in anticipating and planning for thirty contingencies that threaten U.S. national interests, we at the Center for Preventive Action have conducted a Preventive Priorities Survey (PPS). Each year the PPS evaluates ongoing and potential violent conflicts based on the impact they could have on U.S. interests and their likelihood of occurring in the coming year.
Starting last year, we harnessed social media to help identify the thirty contingencies through crowdsourcing suggestions. What threats and conflicts are you worried will erupt or escalate in 2014? Please write your suggestions in the comments section below. Keep them short and to the point, but feel free to explain why the contingency is important. Compelling suggestions will be included in this year’s survey, which will be published in December. Last year, for example, an individual suggested “widespread unrest in Zimbabwe surrounding the electoral process and/or the death of Robert Mugabe,” which was included in the PPS.