Our Dangerous Reality: There Are All Sorts of Threats America Must Prepare For

With the terrorist attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California, Americans are increasingly concerned about the safety of their communities. Daily media reports about the spread of the Islamic State group, its infiltration of the refugees streaming out of the Middle East and its savvy social media efforts to radicalize Muslims across the globe undergird their concerns.

As formerĀ President George W. Bush warned us after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the fight against this terrorist threat will be a long one. For the first phase of this fight, the focus was on preparing for spectacular large-scale attacks that would produce thousands of casualties. While some terrorists groups retain that aim, our national security apparatus has adjusted to meet that threat.

Such an attack could occur, but our capabilities to disrupt their ability to plan, to limit their funding channels, to prevent the movement of material and attackers and, ultimately, to detect and thwart their operations are strong. Plus, the Atlantic Ocean remains one of our best defenses.

So what should Americans be worried about over the next few years? What “grey swans” could occur that would cause loss of life and our economy to falter? To answer that question, it is important to look back at what history has to say on this issue.

Read more about national security threats America should prepare for.