Emerging Threats Facing Communities


ICMA and 18 national organizations that participate in the National Homeland Security Consortium (NHSC) have identified their top eight concerns for the nation’s health, safety, and security protection:

  1.  Cyber hazards require a cohesive policy that protects online finances while preventing catastrophic disruptions of the nation’s defense industry. Coordination among local, tribal, territorial, federal, international, private, and nonprofit interests is essential.
  2. Climate change has consequences that not only strain that nation’s capacity to mitigate, respond to, and recover from severe weather events, but also will require policies and actions to address longer-term issues, such as rising sea levels.  
  3. Demands on global resources, including energy, food, minerals, and water, could cause mass migration unless addressed in a comprehensive way. 
  4. Changing demographics, whether related to age, ethnicity, education, nationality, employment status, residency status, or language barriers can affect resource demands, hazard preparedness, land use policies, and local public health and safety policy.   
  5. Emerging technologies, such as social communications, synthetic biology, genetic manipulation, advanced automation, increased connectivity and computing power, create the potential for both societal benefits as well as new risks.
  6. Violent extremist ideologies remain a risk. Even as one violent ideology wanes, history tells us that others will emerge and grow. 
  7. WMD proliferation requires an international strategy and domestic preparedness with partnerships at all levels of government and the private sector.
  8. Mega hazards and catastrophic cascading consequences can spread globally, whether they are natural or technological disasters. Japan’s horrific experience is a reminder of this reality.

About the NHSC

Since 2002, the consortium has provided a forum for 22 public and private sector disciplines and professional organizations to come together to coalesce efforts on how best to protect America in the 21st century. The consortium’s vision:  enhanced homeland security to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies, disasters, and catastrophes through strategic partnerships, collaborative strategies, and information sharing. 

For more information, read Protecting Americans in the 21st Century:  Communicating Priorities for 2012 and Beyond.

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