The Central Intelligence Agency -- in a new report -- predicts the United States will remain the world's economic, technological and military leader in the future, but the gap with other countries will narrow.
The report -- titled "Mapping the Global Future" -- is designed to give U.S. policymakers a view of possible world developments through the year 2020.
The report suggests the United States will remain the world's leading military power.
But, it says more countries will be in a position to make the United States pay what the report calls a "heavy price" for any U. S. military action. The report says this could result from the possession of weapons of mass destruction by Iran and North Korea, and the possible acquisition of such weapons by others.
The report also says China and India, behind rapid economic and population growth, will become major global powers and technological leaders.
The report adds that terrorism will continue to thrive in 2020, but the al-Qaida terrorist group will be replaced by what it calls "similarly inspired" Islamic extremist groups.