National security implications of the current protests

June 2, 2020

Javed Ali, Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School, summarized three national security concerns that should not be overlooked against the backdrop of the current unrest in the U.S.

Writing in the New America blog June 1, Ali noted that disinformation campaigns, principally from China and Russia, would seek to play on the raw emotions exposed during the protests and create the same political and social fissures that occurred during 2016.

Another national security implication surrounds concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. A large influx of new cases caused by the close contact associated with the protests has the potential to reverse that momentum and would further aggravate the debilitating aspects of the disease’s impact across the country.

The third concern revolves around the potential for an escalation in domestic terrorism. Individuals and groups across the extremist ideological spectrum could see the protests as an opportunity to prepare and plot against those viewed as legitimate targets, from law enforcement and government officials on the one hand to minorities and peaceful protestors on the other.

He concludes, “We must guard against the national security implications to prevent further destabilization in this difficult moment in our nation’s history.”

You can read the blog post here.

Javed Ali is a Towsley Foundation Policymaker in Residence at the Ford School for fall 2019, teaching "National Security Council and Counterterrorism" and co-teaching "Cybersecurity for Future Leaders." A former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, Ali has over 20 years of professional experience in national security and intelligence issues in Washington, D.C., serving in the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. While at the FBI, he also held senior positions on joint duty assignments at the National Intelligence Council, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the National Security Council under the Trump Administration. Ali holds a BA in political science from the University of Michigan, a JD from the University of Detroit School of Law, and an MA in international relations from American University.