to achieve its policy goals there; then identify policy changes that might reduce those vulnerabilities (e.g., by raising the threshold at which climate change would harm the ability of the United States to achieve its goals); and, finally, provide information to decision makers that would help them decide whether or not to adopt those policy changes. This approach has the advantage of generally being less likely to misestimate risks than the forecasting approach, but it requires analysts to analyze the implications of specific policy options.
In practice, a mix of approaches will likely prove most useful, because each approach has the potential to miss important pieces of the security situation. For example, a forecasting approach might identify stresses that might arise in a country of interest and create general conditions of social disruption, but it might not carefully consider the implications for specific U.S. policy goals in the country. A policy vulnerability analysis will need help from the forecasting or early warning approach to estimate the thresholds at which current policies might lose viability.
All of these analytical approaches can be better informed by the monitoring of a wide range of variables, including those describing climatic and other environmental factors as well as socioeconomic variables; the monitoring priorities may in some cases depend on the analytical approach being used. Forecasting can require the monitoring of a large number of all these types of variables, both to support forecasts and to build and validate the theories on which risk estimates are made. Early warning obviously requires the monitoring of climatic variables, but it also depends on the monitoring of other environmental and socioeconomic variables that could make climate events disruptive in countries of interest. Analysis of system vulnerabilities requires the monitoring of regime capacities and capabilities, but it also requires monitoring the various climatic and socioeconomic factors that might make climate events stressful for the system. Similarly, policy vulnerability analysis requires the monitoring of U.S. policy goals and priorities, but it also requires monitoring the range of conditions that could make policies vulnerable. In Chapter 6 we offer recommendations for monitoring that can support these analytic strategies.