The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials...
Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country...
The mineral deposits are scattered throughout the country, including in the southern and eastern regions along the border with Pakistan that have had some of the most intense combat in the American-led war against the Taliban insurgency.
I'd like to make two points.
First, I see dollars and a security problem. Can someone do the Afghanistan math? In other words, how much should be spent on security in Afghanistan in order to yield a worthwhile "return on investment"?
Second, this sounds like a "Road House" scenario, like I described four years ago in my post Return on Security Investment. I've always been troubled by these sorts of scenarios, meaning I'm not exactly sure how to think about them. I believe there are two general sorts of security scenarios to consider:
- An environment has transitioned from a "secure" state to a "nonsecure" state due to intruder activity, and the security team wants to promote a return to the "secure" state
- An environment suffers a "nonsecure" state, and the security team wants to promote a transition to a "secure" state
Most digital security work is Type 1, meaning an enterprise (presumably) begins intruder-free, transitions to a nonsecure state due to intruder activity, and the security team works to return to a secure state. That is a loss prevention exercise, where the security team seeks to preserve the value of the business activity but doesn't add to the value of the business activity.
Scenarios like Road House and Afghanistan's mineral wealth appear to me to be Type 2, meaning chaos reigns, and by spending resources a security team can produce a real "return on investment" by enabling a business activity that was previously not possible.
What do blog readers think?