Welcome to Indo-Pacific Defense FORUM’s issue on population dynamics.
As the economic, political and social importance of the Indo-Pacific continues to rise, corresponding demographic and societal changes will increasingly shape the region’s security landscape. This issue of FORUM examines several concerns from changes to demographics to mounting energy and food demands that may affect peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. These dynamic pressures will transform the role of Indo-Pacific militaries, security forces and professionals, and how they operate in the future.
Cooperation among allies and partners will be critical for managing the resulting surges in resource competition, civil tensions, disease and economic disparities, and other new challenges.
The opening feature explores how militaries are preparing for a new battlefield horizon: the ascension of megacities. With much of the world’s projected urban growth to occur in the Indo-Pacific, the dramatic migration from rural areas is increasing the challenge for nations to balance sustainable development and stability. The trend is also transforming how militaries will protect such massive population centers.
Another key article probes how dwindling fertility rates and longer life spans are creating aging nations with larger elderly populations worldwide and especially in the Indo-Pacific. The declining percentages of working and military-age citizens will cause changes in security approaches and push militaries to more rapidly adopt new technologies. A companion piece addresses how a significant gender gap in the People’s Republic of China factors in a multitude of societal and security concerns, including human trafficking of women and girls, pay inequities, and sex crimes.
Population dynamics also influence food and resource competition. A pair of articles chronicles how Indo-Pacific nations are employing technological solutions and increasingly working together to improve food and energy security amid mushrooming demand.
To complete the edition, a set of articles explores how demographic shifts and increased globalization can complicate health care outcomes and security. Kirsten Sayers, CEO of RedR Australia, an international humanitarian response agency, details how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way nations respond to and view public health issues. An article written by an international group of advisors affiliated with the United Nations Women, Peace and Security program explains how the initiative equips defense and security sectors to better engage with their populations and provide inclusive solutions. Another piece reveals how partnerships among United States government agencies and Indo-Pacific entities empowered communities during the pandemic.
I hope these articles energize regional conversations on military technology. I welcome your comments. Please contact the FORUM staff at firstname.lastname@example.org with your perspectives.
All the best,
Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command