As we peer into the distant horizon of 2024, we know it will be a defining year both at home in the U.S. and abroad. The free world waits, biting its nails, for the outcome of the American Presidential election in November that will influence the global economy and geopolitical landscapes in hot spots like Russia-Ukraine, Africa, and more recently, Israel-Gaza.
The following is our outlook for 2024, with major contributions from Brandon Webb (Editor-in-Chief), Donald Bolduc (Retired Brigadier General), and Guy McCardle (Managing Editor).
U.S. Presidential Election 2024
President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are poised to take center stage once again. This isn’t merely a rerun; it’s a critical juncture that encapsulates the ideological and policy divides shaping not only the U.S. but the entire world.
The Supreme Court will likely determine Trump’s candidacy, and we see the court ruling in his favor and letting the population decide with free elections.
Nikki Haley was once a wild card and is now a serious contender for the Republican nomination in the face of a myriad of legal problems former POTUS Trump faces.
She is a serious challenger, bringing a unique blend of conservative policy and diplomatic experience. Her candidacy could pivot the Republican focus, offering a different and more steady path than Trump’s.
Haley’s track record as U.N. Ambassador underlines her understanding of international relations, making her a compelling figure in this high-stakes election. Her candidacy could sway not just American voters but also the global perception of the U.S.’s future role on the world stage.
This election transcends American borders. Nations around the globe will be closely watching as the outcome will influence global economic policies, military alliances, and international diplomatic relations. Leaders in regions like the Middle East, Asia, and Europe will recalibrate their strategies based on whether they are interfacing with a Trump-led (or potentially Haley-led) America.
We don’t see Biden regaining a second term based on his loud and clear health issues and failure to deliver on key climate issues that won him a younger vote last election.
One thing to be on the watch for is U.S. Presidential election interference from Chinese and Russian intelligence agencies.
Both will exploit social media platforms, TikTok especially,to spread misinformation and manipulate public opinion.
By utilizing state-sponsored or proxy actors, they can target specific demographics, amplifying divisive issues and sowing discord within the American electorate.
Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election has been widely documented and investigated. The Russian government, through various means, sought to undermine the democratic process, amplify social divisions, and influence public opinion. Their tactics included hacking and leaking sensitive information, utilizing social media platforms to spread disinformation, and conducting targeted propaganda campaigns.
We expect both China and Russia to have refined their interference strategies in the upcoming election in an attempt to further destabilize the U.S. democratic process and erode public trust.
The potential interference by China or Russia in the election raises concerns about the health of American democracy. The distortion of public discourse, erosion of trust, and manipulation of electoral outcomes pose severe threats to the integrity of the democratic process. To mitigate these risks, several safeguards can and should be implemented:
- Strengthened Cybersecurity: The U.S. government must invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect electoral infrastructure and prevent unauthorized access by foreign actors. Collaborative efforts with private tech companies and international partners should be pursued to enhance information sharing and response capabilities.
- Increased Transparency: Political campaigns and social media platforms should promote transparency in advertising and communication practices. Implementing policies that require disclosure of the source of political advertisements and the use of fact-checking mechanisms can help mitigate the spread of misinformation.
- Public Awareness and Education: Educating the public about the potential risks of foreign interference is crucial. Promoting media literacy and critical thinking skills can help individuals identify and reject false information, reducing the impact of disinformation campaigns.
- International Cooperation: Collaboration with international partners is essential in combating foreign interference. Establishing clear protocols for information sharing, mutual assistance, and joint investigations can enhance collective efforts to identify and counter foreign interference attempts.
- Strengthening Electoral Laws: Updating and enforcing existing laws to address new challenges in the digital age is vital. This includes regulating political advertising on social media platforms, clearly defining campaign finance rules, and imposing stringent penalties for those found guilty of foreign interference.
As we look ahead, the SOFREP understands the gravity of this election. It’s a pivotal moment where military strategy, international diplomacy, and global stability hang in the balance, waiting for the American electorate’s decision to chart the course.
Department of Defense (DOD) and Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
The DoD and SOCOM are likely to focus on modernizing and restructuring to address new types of warfare, including cyber threats and space defense. Expect increased investments in technology and Artificial Intelligence to maintain the U.S.’s strategic edge in an evolving hyper-competitive environment.