DT and some other members of the Military.com team had the opportunity this morning to sit down at the White House with Deputy National Security Advisor, Denis McDonough, and pick his brain for about 45 minutes.
While much of the conversation focused on the strategy surrounding the fight against al Qaeda (he's the guy in the blue shirt sitting next to Hillary Clinton in the famous photo above), he did list out what he sees are the future threats facing the world beyond terrorism.
Topping his list of future threats is the problem of nuclear proliferation followed very closely to the threat of Iran getting its hands on some of that prolifered (is that a word?) nuclear material.
"We're very focused on a test case on [non] proliferation, namely, Iran," said McDonough. "The President has always entered this through the door of saying, Iran with nuclear weapon, and even an Iran with an illicit nuclear weapons program, is a threat to a whole host of U.S. national security interests, first among them, the global non-proliferation regime and agreement that's served the world. . . we see it obviously as a big and grave threat."
He added that counterproliferation and preventing Iran from getting nukes are worked on daily in his office.
He's also concerned with "making sure that we're watching the near-term developments as it relates to new weapons including cyber."
"Those would be the three [issues] that we spend a lot of time on, Iran gets a lot of attention generally," said McDonough. "I think the other two [proliferation and new weapons tech] don't get an amount of public attention commensurate with the amount of time we spend on it or commensurate with the potential impact on the U.S. national interest."
(I've got to say, maybe the general public doesn't pay a ton of attention to new weapons tech but DT readers sure do.)
McDonough also mentioned possible conflicts over natural resources, and he's wasn't talking oil; he was talking about "coming challenges on natural resources including, for example, water in a lot of places, but that's more a meta or longer term challenge."