Intelligence Threat Assessment Released



The Office of the Director of National Intelligence  released the 2023 Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The report highlights the vulnerabilities of supply chains and cyber infrastructure to adversaries, as well as some under appreciated environmental, demographic and domestic political threats.

Below a summary of the relevant findings; the unclassified assessment is available here.

China Front and Center

China will remain the top threat to U.S. technological competitiveness, as Beijing targets key sectors and proprietary commercial and military technology from U.S. and allied companies and institutions.

  • China will persist with efforts to acquire foreign science and technology information and expertise, making extensive use of foreign scientific collaborations and partnerships, investments and acquisitions, talent recruitment, economic espionage, and cyber theft to acquire and transfer technologies and technical knowledge.


  • China is central to global supply chains in a range of technology sectors, including semiconductors, critical minerals, batteries, solar panels, and pharmaceuticals. PRC-based firms are on track to control 65 percent of the lithium-ion battery market by 2025; China produces 40 percent of the world's active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs); and China's global share across all the manufacturing stages of solar panels now exceeds 80 percent and is set to rise to more than 95 percent during the coming years.


  • While China only accounted for 11 percent of worldwide semiconductor fabrication capacity in 2019, it is forecasted to reach 18 percent in 2025. Because of the difficulties China is facing from export controls by Western nations, it is focusing on lower-capability, commodity chip technology, and China could become a powerhouse in that segment, which could eventually make some buyers more reliant on China.


Technology Threats

Rapid advances in dual-use technology, including bioinformatics, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and genomic editing, could enable development of novel biological weapons that complicate detection, attribution, and treatment, according to the report.   The convergence of emerging technologies is likely to create potentially breakthrough technologies not foreseeable by examining narrow science and technology areas, which could lead to the rapid development of asymmetric threats to U.S. interests.

Other Rogues

Moscow will continue to employ an array of tools to advance what it sees as its own interests and try to undermine the interests of the US and its allies. These are likely to be military, security, malign influence, cyber, and intelligence tools, with Russia’s economic and energy leverage probably a declining asset.

Russia will remain a top cyber threat as it refines and employs its espionage, influence, and attack capabilities.   Russia continues to train its military space elements, and field new antisatellite weapons to disrupt and degrade U.S. and allied space capabilities.

Iran also remains committed to developing surrogate networks inside the United States, an objective it has pursued for more than a decade. Iran probably will seek to acquire new conventional weapon systems, such as advanced fighter aircraft, trainer aircraft, helicopters, air defense systems, para-naval patrol ships, and main battle tanks. Iran’s growing expertise and willingness to conduct aggressive cyber operations make it a major threat to the security of U.S. and allied networks and data.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un remains strongly committed to expanding the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal and maintaining nuclear weapons as a centerpiece of his national security structure. [In Cyber domain]  Pyongyang probably possesses the expertise to cause temporary, limited disruptions of some critical infrastructure networks and disrupt business networks in the United States.

Environmental Threats

Climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to U.S. national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about the global response to the challenge. High-and middle-income countries still have not met their 2015 Paris Agreement pledges to provide $100 billion per year to low-income countries by 2020, and low-income countries want more assistance with adapting to climate effects.

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, globally, are contributing to the decline of marine fisheries—eroding food and economic security in coastal areas, particularly in Africa and Asia. Eighty-five percent of worldwide fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion. Overfishing, habitat degradation, and climate-driven ocean changes will continue to harm fisheries.


In the Western Hemisphere, push and pull factors that drive migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States—such as deteriorating socioeconomic and security conditions in certain countries, misperceptions of U.S. policies, and employment opportunities in the United States—probably will persist through 2023.

Worldwide, the number of people displaced by conflict, violence, and natural disasters within their own national borders and into other countries continues to increase, straining governments’ abilities to care for domestic populations and mitigate any associated public discontent. Meanwhile, a growing gap between humanitarian needs and the provision of international financial assistance has the potential to exacerbate migration flows.

Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVE) movements

Individuals and cells adhering to ideologies espoused by ISIS, al-Qa‘ida, or the transnational Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremists (RMVE) movement pose a significant terrorist threat to U.S. persons, facilities, and interests.  ISIS’s insurgency in Iraq and Syria will persist as the group seeks to rebuild capabilities and replenish its ranks. Transnational RMVEs have plotted attacks and encouraged violence against government officials in Australia and throughout Europe, including in Belgium, France, Germany, and Iceland.


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