Globalization's Effect on the US National Security Term Paper

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Globalization and National Security

While the economic benefits of globalization have been frequently discussed, the very serious national security vulnerabilities which have arisen as a result of increase interconnections, both economically and socially, has garnered much less attention.

The current literature on globalization either omits national security discussions entirely, or conducts them from a relatively myopic perspective

The 2010 National Security Strategy attempts to rectify this, but its seems to have little effect on the trajectory of the United States' national security situation.

The key vulnerabilities which have arisen as a result of globalization can be broken down into key three categories: international terrorism and cyberattacks, economic instability and foreign economic intervention, insufficient education in the fields key for future innovation.

This study analyzes the effect globalization has had on each of these three categories, demonstrating how greater economic, social, and political interconnections have made the United States increasingly vulnerable due to factors not traditionally considered as part of the overall national security apparatus.

Key terms: globalization, national security, September 11th, information and communication technology (ITC), STEM, outsourcing, immigration, National Security Strategy.


For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, the United States enjoyed the status of the preeminent global power. With the fall of the Soviet Union near the beginning of the 1990s, it appeared, that the United States would retain its comfortable economic, political, and military position. Indeed, by 2010, the United States had the largest economy in the world, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaching approximately $14 trillion, and its military technology and training have made it second to none in terms of force projection and capability.

The United States retains its powerful position on the international political stage despite the relative damage its international reputation took as a result of its foreign policy decisions over the last decade.

While the United States became the de facto world leader following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it has retained its comfortable position through careful responses to increasing economic and political globalization, but this globalization has come at a cost, particularly in regards to national security. The institution of NAFTA in 1994 is the most obvious example of the United States' response to globalization, and although American farmers and manufacturers have benefited from the agreement, increased globalization has opened up serious security vulnerabilities, that, if properly exploited, could represent genuine threats. The purpose of this study is to consider these vulnerabilities and threats, as well as the United States' official response in the form of the 2010 National Security Strategy.

The vulnerabilities facing the United States as a result of globalization can be broken into roughly three categories. Firstly, increased globalization has also seen an increase in transnational terrorist acts, and the correlation does not seem to be coincidence. As the transfer of people and goods over international borders becomes easier and more common, it has become easier and easier for potentially dangerous goods or persons to cross unnoticed. This threat encompasses not only the more obvious acts of international terrorism, but also those phenomenon which, at first glance, may appear unrelated, but in actuality serves to support international terrorism, either financially or logistically. For example, the influx of illegal immigrants over the U.S. border, itself a result of NAFTA's allowing cheap American agriculture to flood South American markets, means that the already stretched Border Patrol has a harder and harder time securing the porous border.

The same is true of the illegal drug and human trafficking trades.

Furthermore, the threat of international terrorism has been compounded by the explosion of information and communications technology, because as crucial networks become more and more connected, the likelihood that a terrorist group will be able to damage or control key elements of the network becomes more and more likely. This threat targets not only key infrastructure, but also the economy as a whole, because the United States has one of the largest shares of online retailers in the world. Furthermore, the increased interconnection as a result of globalization means that an attack on the United States or one of its allies could upset the global financial markets, which rely on internet infrastructure in order to keep credit flowing. Thus, as a result of globalization, the United States' economy is tied to its national security in a way previously unheard of in…[continue]

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