Managing Global Issues as Actors Multiply

This module provides a roadmap to understanding the challenges that arise in the management of global issues as actors increase both in number and influence.

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Resource List

These resources provide a baseline of understanding, but as the international environment continues to evolve, new data will become available.


  • National Intelligence Council: The National Intelligence Council (NIC) supports the Director of National Intelligence in the role as head of the Intelligence Community (IC) and is the IC’s center for long-term strategic analysis. The NIC publishes many reports, including papers addressing the emergence and impact of non-state actors (NSAs), particularly in relation to the United States.

Recent Publications and Journal Articles:

  • The Age of Nonpolarity: What Will Follow US Dominance: Haass lays out an argument for non-polarity in the 21st century following United States’ dominance for much of the previous century. He examines emerging centers of power as well as non-state actors, and the consequences that this will have for the US and international system as a whole. Haass prescribes multilateralism as essential in addressing global issues within this new non-polarity.
  • The Rise of Non-State Actors in Global Governance: Opportunities and Limitations: This essay examines the rapid changes to the international system and rise of new international actors in the second half of the twentieth century, with a particular focus on non-state actors and organizations. The authors acknowledge the benefits and challenges presented by this new international system.
  • Power Failure: The Diffusion of State Power in International Relations: This article gives an overview of how the rise of non-state actors—and frequent state facilitation of this rise—has led to a diffusion of power in the international landscape. The author argues that the result is nonpolarity: rather than few prominent world powers, there are many influential actors with different types of power.
  • The Nexus Between Sanctions and Non-Polarity: The Case of Iran: Chingono examines the decreasing efficacy of sanctions as a reaction to global issues in a non-polar world, presenting a relevant example of the need for adapted policy in a changing international setting.

Other Resources:

  • Sharing the Stage: Non State Actors as Leaders in Global Governance: One Earth Foundation contributors give an overview of the role of non-state actors in multilateral response to global issues.


These materials were developed as an initiative of the Advanced Thinking in Homeland Security (HSx) curriculum at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security.

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