BOX 3 The Past and Future World Environment


Future Trends

Computing and communications were expensive and rare.

Computing and information acquisition, retrieval, and processing are inexpensive and ubiquitous. Rapid growth is evident in the development and deployment of diverse technology-enabled services.

Communications networks were analog and voice oriented; communications made heavy use of dedicated lines.

Communications networks are digital and oriented toward video and data transmissions.
Communications make heavy use of shared infrastructure and multiple channels of different media (e.g., satellites, wireless). Passive eavesdropping is thus harder to detect.

Telecommunications was controlled by a small number of players.

Telecommunications involves a large number of players.

The U.S. economy was unquestionably dominant in the world.

The U.S. economy is important but not dominant in the world, and it is increasingly interlinked with allies, customers, suppliers, vendors, and competitors all over the world.

The economy was oriented toward material production.

The economy is oriented toward information and services.

The security threat was relatively homogeneous (Soviet Union and Cold War).

Security threats are much more heterogeneous than in the Cold War, both in origin and in nature.

Cryptography was used primarily for military and diplomatic purposes. Government had a relative monopoly on cryptographic expertise and capability.

Cryptography has important applications throughout all aspects of society. Nongovernmental entities have significant expertise and capability built on an open, public, and expanding base of scientific and technical knowledge about cryptography.

Address questions/comments to
Last Updated on 05/29/96

NAS Home Page
This Site's Home Page