Expect nation-state-sponsored threats to intensify in the coming two decades, according to two new reports released in the first half of April by United States intelligence agencies. Competitive and adversarial relations with China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea percolate to the top, while global issues like the pandemic and economic migration will strain governments around the world, including the US.The leading actors will be no surprise: China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea will boost their efforts to spy, disrupt critical infrastructure, spread disinformation, and steal intellectual property and money.The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) set a baseline of understanding on the threats to the US posed by nation-states, terrorists and criminal entities with its Annual Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The National Intelligence Council provides a look over the horizon as far out as 2040 with the issuance of the quadrennial Global Trends 2040 -\u00a0 More Contested World.In releasing the ODNI report to the public, Avril Haines, director national intelligence, said, \u201cThe American people should know as much as possible about the threats facing our nation and what their intelligence agencies are doing to protect them. This report provides transparency to Congress and our nation\u2019s citizens with the aim of bolstering trust in our work and institutions.\u201dThe concisely written assessment minces no words: China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are the four primary provocateurs engaging the US. While transnational issues such as COVID-19, climate change, emerging technologies, foreign illicit drugs, and organized crime, as well as global terrorism present ongoing challenges. This is how the ODNI report described the threats presented by each of the four adversarial countries:China focuses on cyberespionage, information suppressionThe ODNI assesses China as presenting \u201ca prolific and effective cyberespionage threat.\u201d The country has substantial cyberattack capabilities and is becoming a bigger influence threat. \u201cChina\u2019s cyber pursuits and proliferation of related technologies increase the threats of cyberattacks against the US homeland, suppression of US web content that Beijing views as threatening to its internal ideological control, and the expansion of technology-driven authoritarianism around the world,\u201d said the report\u2019s authors.To achieve their cyberespionage goals, China can be expected to continue apace, as they strive to compromise \u201ctelecommunications firms, providers of managed services and broadly used software.\u201dRussia the biggest cyberattack threat to USRussia remains the number one cyber threat to the US as it \u201crefines and employs its espionage, influence, and attack capabilities,\u201d according to the ODNI. Russia has demonstrated its capabilities in the successful targeting of supply chain and critical infrastructure (to include global telecommunications systems and industrial command and control (SCADA). Not only is Russia attacking networks for the purposes of collecting information, the ODNI noted that Russia has demonstrated its \u201cability to damage infrastructure in a crisis.\u201d\u00a0Iran a threat to critical infrastructureIran has repeatedly demonstrated its capability to conduct attacks on critical infrastructure. Therefore, the ODNI assessed Iran to be a significant threat to US security. They have also shown themselves to be adroit at cyber operations, to include those operations conducted strictly for espionage purposes. The ODNI specifically calls out Iran\u2019s continued foray into the realm of misinformation and disinformation.North Korea a source of theft and disruptionThe threat posed by North Korea, according to the ODNI, falls into three silos, \u201cespionage, theft, and attack.\u201d The ODNI assessed that North Korea could conduct cyber operations targeting critical infrastructure and business networks in the US. In addition, North Korea could likely also target and compromise software supply chains.Somewhat unique to North Korea is the use of cyber operations to garner hard currency. North Korea has shown itself willing to attack global financial institutions, successfully stealing millions of dollars to fund their domestic (nuclear\/military) agenda.Global trends to drive nation-state threatsThe Global Trends 2040 report from the National Intelligence Council (part of the ODNI), projects the expected threats for the next 20 years. It identified four structural forces that will shape the future: demographics, the environment, economics, and technology.The report points out the importance of nations expanding technological, network, and information power. \u201c[This] will complement more traditional military, economic, and soft power aspects of the international system.\u201d China and the US will work to \u201cshape the global norms, rules and institutions\u201d in such a manner as to advance their own interests, according to the report.Nations, and by extension those companies within each nation, may expect a \u201ccombination of highly destructive and precise conventional and strategic weapons, cyber activity targeting civilian and military infrastructure, and a confusing disinformation environment.\u201d The report also concludes that nation-states will accelerate their use of surrogates and proxies to achieve national goals.The recent actions by the US to reign in the proxies of Russia serve as a useful barometer in the realm of disinformation. Russia, China, and Iran have their fingers deep into the disinformation\/misinformation pie and can be expected to continue to promulgate false narratives, making it more difficult to sort out truth from untruths.Especially noteworthy to CIOs and CISOs are the efforts by nation-states to control key sites of exchange such as telecommunications, finance, data flows, and manufacturing supply chains. \u201c[This] will give countries and corporations the ability to gain valuable information, deny access to rivals, and even coerce behavior,\u201d said the report. It goes on to note the disproportionate concentration of networks in the US, Europe and China\u2014not an insignificant consideration for the multinational conglomerates of the future.