About Non-Traditional security

Non-traditional security issues are challenges to the survival and well-being of peoples and states that arise primarily out of non-military sources, such as climate change, resources scarcity, infectious diseases, natural disasters, irregular migration, food shortages, people smuggling, drug trafficking and transnational crime. These dangers are often transnational in scope, defying unilateral remedies and requiring comprehensive – political, economic, social – responses, as well as humanitarian use of military force.

Non-traditional security focuses on non-military threats with these common characteristics:

  • The threats are transnational in nature with regards to their origins, conceptions and effects.
  • They do not stem from competition between states or shifts in the balance of power, but are often defined in political and socioeconomic terms.
  • Non-traditional security issues such as resource scarcity and irregular migration cause societal and political instability and hence become threats to security.
  • Other threats like climate change are often caused by human-induced disturbances to the fragile balance of nature with dire consequences to both states and societies which are often difficult to reverse or repair.
  • National solutions are often inadequate and would thus essentially require regional and multilateral cooperation.
  • The referent of security is no longer just the state (state sovereignty or territorial integrity), but also the people (survival, well-being, dignity) both at individual and societal levels.


*sourced from: Caballero-Anthony, M. (ed.). 2016. An Introduction to Non-Traditional Security Studies – A Transnational Approach. Sage Publications, London.