(l) Demographics. (2) Natural resources and environment. (3) Science and technology. (4) The global economy and globalization. (5) National and international governance. (6) Future conflict. (7) The role of the United States.In examining these drivers, several points should be kept in mind:
Global Trends 2015 provides a flexible framework to discuss and debate the future. The methodology is useful for our purposes, although admittedly inexact for the social scientist. Our purpose is to rise above short-term, tactical considerations and provide a longer-term, strategic perspective. Judgments about demographic and natural resource trends are based primarily on informed extrapolation of existing trends. In contrast, many judgments about science and technology, economic growth, globalization, governance, and the nature of conflict represent a distillation of views of experts inside and outside the United States Government. The former are projections about natural phenomena, about which we can have fairly high confidence; the latter are more speculative because they are contingent upon the decisions that societies and governments will make.
The drivers we emphasize will have staying power. Some of the trends will persist; others will be less enduring and may change course over the time frame we consider. The major contribution of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), assisted by experts from the Intelligence Community, has been to harness US Government and specialists to identify drivers, to determine which ones matter most, to highlight key uncertainties, and to integrate analysis of these trends into a national security context. The result identifies issues for more rigorous analysis and quantification.