The survey aims to evaluate global conflicts based on their likelihood of occurring or/and escalating, as well as their possible impact on US national interests. This year report said that the top priority for Washington should be a further intensification of the Syrian conflict.
"By prioritizing conflicts based on their overall risk to the United States, the survey helps to focus their attention and resources for specific conflict prevention efforts in the year ahead," said Paul Stares, the director of CFR's Center for Preventive Action (CPA).
Besides the Syrian conflict, the other top five US conflict prevention priorities in 2016 include a mass terror attack in the United States, a cyberattack on critical US infrastructure, a confrontation with North Korea and surprisingly a political instability in the European Union as a result of the influx of refugees.
A possible confrontation with Russia, which was seen as one of US top security concerns amid the Ukrainian crisis last year, isn't in the high priority list this time around. According to Stares, a reason why Russia didn't make the 2016 list is due to the ongoing ceasefire in Donbass.
Although not a top US security concern anymore, Russia is still seen as a mid-level threat. The CFR survey revealed that Washington is still worried about a possible confrontation between Moscow and one of its NATO allies.