Monitoring the potential that inadequate responses will rise to the level of concern for U.S. national security entails estimating and assessing the ways security conditions in countries and regions of interest could be affected by climate events. A major potential link involves a combination of susceptibility and inadequate response leading to a humanitarian emergency, violence, or political instability. Climate events that disrupt the lives of affected populations are more likely to lead to larger upheavals when the events are serious, when governments underperform expectations in responding, when there is pre-existing dissatisfaction with the government, and when there are organized opposition groups positioned to use dissatisfactions as an opportunity to mobilize confrontations with authorities. The monitoring of many of these security conditions is a standard intelligence function and is related to the monitoring of state fragility.
Monitoring of these five types of phenomena would provide valuable input for national security analysis. Given that security threats arise from combinations of all of these, indicators and monitoring systems should be developed to follow them at various levels from local to national. Monitoring will also need to take into account the fact that some of the above types of phenomena are specific to certain kinds of climate events (e.g., flooding), while others, such as the capacity of emergency-response organizations, have an effect on consequences for many different types of hazards. As a rough generalization, exposures tend to be hazard-specific (e.g., some populations are exposed to coastal flooding and storm surge, others to inland drought), which implies that the monitoring for exposures should be differentiated by hazard type. Coping and response factors (e.g., funding and organizational effectiveness of disaster-response agencies) tend to be much less hazard-specific. Susceptibilities can be either hazard-specific or general. For example, the health status of a population provides an indicator of susceptibility to a variety of stresses (e.g., diseases and food shortages), whereas some attributes of infrastructure reduce susceptibility to only single hazards (e.g., to floods but not wildfires).
It is important to note that although most of the phenomena of all the types we have highlighted normally change on time-scales of months, years, or decades, potentially disruptive climate events often give far less warning. Monitoring of the slower-moving factors makes it possible to use a scenario approach for considering the consequences of rapidly appearing climate events. In this approach, analysts posit the occurrence of a particular potentially disruptive climate event the risk of which is high or increasing and consider how a country, region, or system of interest would likely respond, given what is known or expected from monitoring and assessment of the state of other environmental conditions, exposures, vulnerabilities, and likely responses to inadequacies of coping, response, and recovery. Monitoring and assessing these slower-moving variables will enable analysts to