2015 does seem to hold the most potential for chaos, at least since I started writing this blog back in 2007. The issue with Daesh/Syria, Russia, and China remain unresolved at best and have the potential to escalate and in the the case of the latter two escalate into armed confrontations.
Internally, we are facing an especially bad strain of flu along with of course the potential for an ebola outbreak. We seem to have quietly forgotten about the millions of illegal immigrants now here legally but still with no documentation so we don't know where they are or if they might have brought with them same contagious disease.
The hackers who attacked Sony pictures still remain elusive, while North Korea remains the prime suspect (even taking credit for it) there is still the possibility of the attacks being accomplished through a 3rd party. Worse, the case has been made for cyber attacks to prove much more lucrative than other forms of terrorism. We have only just begun to see cyber terror and future attacks may be far more sinister (i.e. power grids or healthcare facilities).
New York does not to seem any closer to resolving differences between police and the mayor. And while the media is playing up the reduction of arrests by police (in reaction to increased fears of being assassinated), there are two interesting statistics that the media isn't covering. First, has the reduced number of arrests led to the implied increase number of crimes? Second, were all of those arrests necessary in the first place? (Both of these questions were actually posed by another colleague originally on his FB page).
The media is playing up fears by the African-American community concerning police violence (although social media is making other groups, such as white Americans, aware of these issues). At the same time, the media is fostering fear amongst police officers that there are under siege (which the shooting in New York would seem to indicate). The problem is thus far, the police have response in the media is one of victim rather than taking an active lead in working with the community to stop the violence.
Unfortunately, this will lead to more Americans seeing the police as part of the problem and not part of the solution. The federal government will want to respond to implementing martial law. If that happens, it will actually aggravate matters and turn even more Americans against the police and federal government.
In regards to police, the Secret Service has fallen from its once prestigious perch as a premier agency. The several lapses of security around the White House has called into question the ability of the Secret Service to do its primary function of protecting the President. The problems for the Secret Service seem to be a result of many seasoned agents leaving (due to a switch from a retirement system based on Washington DC police to the federal retirement system) compound by their move from the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security.
The Bush Administration claimed the number one factor leading to the events of 9/11 was an intelligence failure which is what led to the creation of the DHS. Unfortunately the two biggest intelligence agencies responsible for countering terrorism, the FBI and CIA, were not part of the re-organization legislated through the USA PATRIOT Act. So the intelligence failures still have not been addressed yet dissimilar agencies such as the Secret Service, Coast Guard and FEMA were slammed together with unimpressive results.
DHS is largely focused on preventing another 9/11 meaning it is ill-equipped doctrinally as well as organizationally to deal with other terrorist threats (such as cyber). Further, agencies such as the Secret Service seem to be losing their core skills.
The military is not faring much better and now with both wars "over", funding is becoming even scarcer. How prolonged operations against Daesh and Syria while trying to contain an increasingly aggressive Russia remains to be seen.
Let me conclude with some predictions (just because its what people tend to do at the New Year);
1. Another cyber attack, potentially against another major movie company.
2. Increased activity from Russian aircraft, especially in NATO and Alaskan airspace.
3. Increased Russian military activity in Cuba to counter US overtures
4. Russia and India will further their relationship including energy and nuclear weapons technology.
5. NYPD is going to overplay their hand and it will backfire putting them in worse light.
6. Daesh (ISIS) will continue to recruit Americans and at least one will attempt an attack in 2015.
7. Either our power grid or cellular networks will be targeted for attack
8. The next Presidential candidates will be named Clinton and Bush.
9. An attack will be launched in the Middle East which will raise oil prices.
10. A cure for ebola will be announced involving blood transfusions.