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Alternative Futures Forecast: Diverse Threats, Diverse NatSec

Methodology Note: Alternative Futures Forecasts 05-08

X-Axis Diversity in US National Security with Y-Axis Sources of Foreign-Based Threats to America

To challenge the flaws in conventional forecasting methods, Girl Security’s forecasts are based on drivers whose intersections fail to receive mainstream attention. The drivers themselves are derived from trends that Girl Security’s communities identify as being of special concern to them, rather than from trends based on traditional economic and societal indicators. For more on the systemic data gaps and flawed assumptions embedded in conventional futures forecasting that our approach seeks to mitigate, please see the introduction to Girl Security’s Alternative Futures Forecasts.

Key Findings:

These are the key findings from the results of Girl Security’s second Alternative Futures Forecast. Forecasts 05-08 project futures that would result from the intersection of two trends that are of pressing concern to our community. These trends are expressed in the chart below as they currently exist, but as per the Alternative Futures Forecast method, turned into drivers that describe them in both positive and negative directions to create four distinct possible futures depending on whether the current trends hold or change in any number of ways.

TREND: Threats to the US are diversifyingTREND: Diversity in US national security is being de-prioritized and even targeted
Y Axis: Degree of homogeneity and conventionality in threats posed to the USX Axis: Degree of homogeneity and traditionality in US national security workforce
In 2023 polling by Safehome.Org, corrupt government officials was ranked the highest (52%) fear among Americans, with anxiety over US involvement in another war at 46%. Americans similarly ranked corruption in government and economic concerns higher than war and terrorism in a Chapman University poll.According to a junior researcher with the National Association of Scholars who was published in Newsweek, DEI “ideology” undermines national security.
Gallup found that Americans say the most important problem are government and poor leadership (21%) and general economic concerns (17%). Newshour/NPR/Marist poll indicated that 29% of American adults are most concerned about preserving American democracy, 24% are worried about inflation, and 22% are anxious over immigration.Fox News featured an excerpt claiming that DEI programs in the IC were from an author who assessed that the IC’s DEI program leaders were acting like “secret police,” and were greater priorities than national security threats.
Fox News reported that Americans fear Artificial Intelligence taking over jobs in professional/technical, financial and public administration sectors. Separately Fox reported that 44% of Americans polled fear the economy will worsen.An article in RealClearDefense states, “As with any ideology, the most damaging are those who buy into the political narrative and become true supporters of things like DEI and the climate change crisis,” in its article condemning DEI as a threat to the military.
The Heritage Foundation’s 2025 report claims that “China is by far the most significant danger,” that the US Intelligence Community is too inclined to look in the rearview mirror and engage in groupthink”; and that America has ”enriched Communist China” for thirty years (from 1992). In 2018 it claimed addressing the threat from Russia should be prioritized.Former CIA analyst and Georgetown professor, John Gentry, argues that “DEI policy at intelligence agencies such as the CIA have made more of an effort to focus on a ‘woke‘ political agenda rather than their typical operations.”
According to an EY report, over 50% of Gen-Zers are “extremely worried about not having enough money.” Around 65% worked part-time or full-time jobs, while 56% earned money from freelance or “side hustle” work. According to McKinsey, almost 60% of Gen-Zers say their basic needs are not being met.As of 2019, only 26.5% of members of the intelligence agencies were racial and ethnic minorities. A decade earlier, a CIA spokesman as note that women represented more than 37% of the agency’s work force, but only 6% of senior leaders.
The recent debate over the “bear or man” survey is yet another indication of how universal the fear of men is among women.Congressionally-legislated Intelligence reforms in the wake of the 9/11 attacks mandated efforts to diversify the Intelligence Community to ensure its personnel “are sufficiently diverse for purposes of the collection and analysis of intelligence through the recruitment and training of women, minorities, and individuals with diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.”
Analysis of Department of Justice statistics indicate that 99% of perpetrators of rape are male, 50% are over 30 years old, another 35% are over 21, and 57% of rape perpetrators are white. In conclusion, white adult men are the most likely source of the threat women say they fear the most.A University of Maine research study on female leaders in national security found that the increase in women in national security leadership contributed to creating more well-rounded, comprehensive decisions; a culture of collaboration; a policymaking process that considered a wider range of possibilities outside the traditional national security policy options; and a more flexible work environment to accommodate caregiving responsibilities for both men and women.
Girl Security’s Analysis: At best, threats to US national security in the future could stem from a single, homogenous external source, such as is argued about China. At worst, the sources of threat could continue to diversify abroad and increasingly originate from within the US or be unattributable, creating an even greater divide than the one that already occurs between what Americans fear and what the national security apparatus prioritizes.Girl Security’s Analysis: A homogenous and traditional national security workforce*, at best, prepares the US for addressing current threats at the current level of effectiveness, which has been criticized as lacking by sources representing the whole political spectrum. At worst, it would leave the US ill-equipped to anticipate, and unprepared to address, the increasingly more likely nontraditional threats of multiple origins.
*The use of the word ‘traditional’ is the composition of the workforce that critics have rejected diversifying, that is to say the predominantly male, white, elite- educated national security workforce in place prior to DEI recruitment and training programs were amplified in the early 1990s.

The Four Alternative Futures that Result from the Intersection of these Drivers