Feature | April 17, 2020

National Security Implications of the COVID-19 Crisis:The Urgent Need to Build State Capacity

By Cynthia Buckley, Ralph Clem, and Erik Herron

Beyond the devastating and widely discussed humanitarian and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the current global crisis also exposes the dangers inherent in governmental shortcomings to provide for their citizens’ welfare adequately. In other words: the downside is almost universally a failure of state capacity. In its broadest sense, state capacity refers to the ability of a government to control its territory and extract the means for survival from the population.