Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 3, 2008

Chertoff: Layered Defense in Allies’ Interest

Filed under: International HLS,Strategy — by Jonah Czerwinski on April 3, 2008

Reader Eric asked about the adoption by other nations of the ‘homeland security’ concept. HLSWatch asked Secretary Chertoff in yesterday’s meeting to discuss his recent trip to the Middle East. A member of the media there asked him a question that allies in general ask the U.S.:

The “U.S. fights terrorism overseas to prevent terrorists from performing terrorist acts in the U.S. What’s your comment on these thoughts?

Read: The U.S. advocates a layered global defense against terrorism to keep the threat away from the homeland. This implies to audiences overseas that we’d rather have it out on their homelands. Can’t blame them for assuming the worst, but Chertoff is right to say that a layered defense is the best defense. How that helps allies is in how we define “layers.”

A layered defense isn’t just about geographic layers though. There are information layers that reveal intentions and enable us and our allies to act before an attack. Financial flows also serve as a layer to create a hurdle that terrorists must cross in organizing an attack. Layers like these are opportunities to complicate the efforts of an adversary and force him into a vulnerable or detectable position.

Allies don’t just benefit from the U.S. pursuing a layered defense. We all do since a true layered defense in the 21st century requires certain basic agreements to be struck among allies. They include the nature of the threat, concepts of success, and acceptable trade-offs. In this sense, any progress the U.S. and Europe make in resolving information sharing for transatlantic flights is mutually beneficial. Of course, if we can’t convince our allies of the mutual benefit, either there isn’t one or we’re not very convincing.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print
  • LinkedIn

1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 4, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

Note that under a request from Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) the GAO is leading a full review of Executive Branch operations under the authority of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended. Designed in part to incorporate lessons from mobilization of the domestic economy in WWI and WWII the DPA is fully applicable to the telecommunications and cyber-security arena. Interesting, the statute was identified in the report of the President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection that identified and defined for all time the split between cyber security and physical security and that identification was intensified leading to Y2K when Senators Bennett and Kyle got interested in CIP issues including cyber security. The departure of a key GAO senior official to become Microsoft’s key CIP operative several years ago, and the constant rotation in the Exeuctive Branch of the CIP leadership has resulted in a nice mess to be straigtened out in the next administration. Computer Assisted Control systems continue to invade the manufacturing and other sectors with no real effort being made on either resilience or security. Low-hanging fruit for AQ!

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>