1. Violent Ideological Competition. Irreconcilable ideas communicated and promoted by identity networks through violence.2. Threatened U.S. Territory and Sovereignty. Encroachment, erosion, or disregard of U.S. sovereignty and the freedom of its citizens from coercion.3. Antagonistic Geopolitical Balancing. Increasingly ambitious adversaries maximizing their own influence while actively limiting U.S. influence.4. Disrupted Global Commons. Denial or compulsion in spaces and places available to all but owned by none.5. A Contest for Cyberspace. A struggle to define and credibly protect sovereignty in cyberspace.6. Shattered and Reordered Regions. States unable to cope with internal political fractures, environmental stressors, or deliberate external interference.
Evolving ideological conflict is likely to result from several important trends:
- Declining legitimacy of state authority. Under pressure from internal corruption or external stressors, state authorities in many parts of the world will be unwilling or unable to provide the level of support their citizens expect. This mismatch between relatively well-off state authorities and those displaced and disrupted by globalization or other shocks will result in strife and conflict.
- Rapidly shifting group identities. Group identities will likely change rapidly in the future as the speed and capabilities of information technologies increase. Advanced information technologies will lead to new and faster ways to form, build, and maintain cohesion and common purpose among members of a group. Consequently, it will become easier to mobilize and expand groups and ideas, irrespective of geographic proximity.
- Increasing ideological polarization. Transnational ideological bonding and/or repelling will create significant barriers to critical discourse and perpetuate a lack of understanding and empathy for alternative beliefs, values, and norms. Groups that fit comfortably within a single political entity may, through increased polarization, no longer have the capacity to resolve differences through common political processes.