The conference is designed to illustrate the scope and variety of the security challenges we face and I commend both the organizers and the presenters. I have learned much and am confident you have as well. Others have addressed specific challenges; my assignment is to provide a big picture perspective that will provide context and a framework for understanding the nature of the world we live in and the types of challenges we face.
Toward that end, I will organize my remarks around three interrelated questions:
Why do we characterize the world and our present era as turbulent?
Why do we consider the security challenges we face to be different, and perhaps more dangerous, than those confronted by previous generations of Americans?
And finally, which of the many perceived and proclaimed security challenges are most important, and what should we do about them?
Each of these questions warrants an entire lecture—or conference—but you don’t have that much time so I hope you will allow me to discuss them in highly abbreviated fashion. We can dig deeper in the question and answer period if you wish [...]