Reader Eric asked about the adoption by other nations of the â€˜homeland securityâ€™ 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 â€œU.S. fights terrorism overseas to prevent terrorists from performing terrorist acts in the U.S. Whatâ€™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 weâ€™d rather have it out on their homelands. Canâ€™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 â€œlayers.â€
A layered defense isnâ€™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 donâ€™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 canâ€™t convince our allies of the mutual benefit, either there isnâ€™t one or weâ€™re not very convincing.