5, about the characteristics of climate events and of the affected societies that determine whether or not potentially disruptive climate events turn into security threats. Over time an accumulation of data on potentially disruptive events and their social, political, and security consequences will improve understanding and feed back into improved monitoring processes and improved skill in stress testing.
Countries, regions, and systems of particular security interest should be prime targets for periodic stress testing. Given the joint criteria of significant potential for climate change impacts and importance to U.S. national security, it is likely that no more than 12 to 15 countries will need to be monitored and subjected to periodic stress tests over the next decade, many of which are likely to be in critical, and often shared, watershed areas in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. If the criteria for importance to the United States are expanded to include foreign policy and humanitarian concerns, the number of countries to be monitored and stress tested regularly over the next decade may rise to between 50 and 60. Stress testing should also be applied periodically to global systems that meet critical needs, including food supply systems, global public health systems, supply chains for critical materials, and disaster relief systems, as well as to international emergency response systems.
Decision science techniques should be used and further developed to ensure that the stress tests make the best use of the available information. Stress testing might draw on various methods, including qualitative interpretation of available knowledge, formal modeling, and interactive gaming approaches. Research analysts, area experts, and others might contribute in various ways, such as conducting analyses, developing models, and playing roles in gaming exercises. Decision science techniques should be employed to design the processes and interpret the input from different kinds of expertise and modes of analysis in order to make the best possible use of information. The stress-testing exercises should themselves be monitored and critically evaluated so that stress-testing methods can be improved over time.