Nonstate armed actors and illicit economies in 2024

This series provides a policy toolbox governments should consider in response to conflicts, nonstate armed actors, and illicit economies.

Members of Amhara special forces stand guard on the Tekeze river bridge near Ethiopia-Eritrean border near the town of Humera, Ethiopia July 1, 2021.

Even as U.S. policy focus remains preoccupied with great power competition with Russia and China, the threats nonstate armed actors pose to order and stability around the world will intensify in 2024. For the U.S. homeland, right-wing extremist groups will pose by far the greatest and most direct threats in 2024. But nonstate actors have been strengthened from the Americas to Africa and the Middle East. Their actions and violence, as well as the spread of Chinese criminal groups and the reorganization of Russian criminal groups, will increasingly interact with great power competition in 2024.

This yearly series, part of Brookings’s Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors, provides a comprehensive “briefing book” on some of the key issues, trends, and priority areas, and a policy toolbox the U.S. and other governments should consider in devising responses to conflicts, nonstate armed actors, and illicit economies in the United States and around the world.

Scene setters

Global power competition and organized crime

Illicit economies and technology

Regional trends