People will often talk about the threats to U.S. security and hegemony around the globe. Such threats include terrorism and the POV of the opposing political party (note that these are not mutually exclusive). However I have studied computer security for almost 2 years now, and I have concluded that hacking will be the #1 threat to the superpowers of today's world for several reasons:
1. Hacking is becoming a power tool already used by governments. Do you remember Stuxnet? If you do not, it is a computer worm (like a virus, except it hijacks the network and requires no human interaction to copy and spread) that was used to setback Iran's nuclear program. Most people would either suspect the United States or Israel, Iran's top enemies. Germany has also spied on people's computers for "law enforcement". China has hacked the United Nations. Governments are becoming aware of the value of cyberwarfare, and as always they will seize upon the opportunity for more power.
2. Hacking is becoming a danger to current governments. It can be seen by the acts perpetrated by Anonymous and LulzSec, two hacker groups. Anonymous has taken down the Chinese government, and LulzSec has hacked the CIA. The U.S. government has made active efforts to arrest members of the hacktivist organizations. Again, this shows that the government is aware of the power in hacking. The Internet is also a good way to spread ideas of democracy and freedom. China built it's Great Firewall in the hopes of preventing this, and censorship is high in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Hacking is the ultimate embodiment of power to the people: for the first time in history strength is not dependent on physical prowess or social standing but purely on the mind. I believe it will be the final blow to autocratic and authoritarian regimes all over the globe.
The United States, in order to prevent itself from collapsing due to the inability to keep up with technology, should make special efforts to recruit security professionals and hackers. If it does, it could very well survive the change in war from battlefields and seas to the cyber world. It will take a lot of work. It is hard to control the Internet; it is truly a people's institution. It can happen.
Any opinions on the matter? Anybody care to disagree?