For the next month — and no more — I will focus my thrice-weekly posts (and perhaps some weekend bits) on how resilience might serve as an effective, long-term homeland security strategy.
This will be an exercise in serialized strategizing. You are invited to contribute and critique the work-in-progress. I expect — even hope — to find myself going down intellectual blind alleys and ending up in logical box canyons. This is the value of writing and thinking out-loud.
It is often said that journalism is history’s first draft. If so, blogging is a rough draft.
To save time and effort — and to more fully invite your contributions — I will not do much refining as we go along. If we end up with something worthwhile at the end, then we can attend to tightening and polishing.
There is a ton of worthwhile source material for this effort. But whatever I produce in the next thirty days will be especially influenced by the following:
The original 2002 National Strategy for Homeland Security. There are always quibbles, but I thought Richard Falkenrath (principally) did the nation a substantive service in bringing this together. I am much more critical of the 2007 update. Even if you disagreed with the original, there was something coherent with which to disagree. The update goes every which way.
Beginning in February 2008 I worked with the Obama Homeland Security advisory council and several state and local leaders to draft a new homeland security strategy. The campaign never took formal action on the full proposal (some portions ended up in speeches and such). After the election I worked with a few others to produce a thirty-one page working draft of what emerged during the campaign ( linked here).
Our exchanges on resilience here at The Watch will inform whatever is produced in the next month. There are several posts-with-comments on which I will draw.
Mr. Brennan comes to dinner (June 4)
Fundamentals of Resilience in Brief (July 14)
Choosing the Cusp of Chaos (August 14)
The Case for Resilience (September 11)
Preparedness, Readiness, and Resilience (September 27)
Does Resilience have a fairy god-mother? (October 2)
Resilience and the Commons (October 12)
As a model for our ultimate product we will follow George Kennan’s Long Telegram. Written early in 1946, this 2000 word analysis and set of recommendations had a signal influence on US Cold War strategy. I am unlikely to achieve such cogency, but can aspire to it.
These twelve or so posts will be a long swan-song or — given the extended character — a Wagnerian final aria. Before Thanksgiving the fat lady will finish singing and I will hand-over The Watch to others.
My greatest regret regarding The Watch has been the very few occasions for real dialogue. I am sure this mostly reflects my own style of writing. I am inclined to obscure references, complicated metaphors, and premature pronouncements.
In these last few weeks, I will try to avoid these off-putting behaviors. I expect to share uncertainty and lack of resolution. I especially welcome your critical, questioning, and constructive contributions to seeking resolution. If this remains a mostly personal product, it will not have much value.
It will also not have much value if I blog my opinion and others respond with their opinions. That is, sadly, what mostly happened with public contributions to the QHSR… and what characterizes the vast majority of blogging. Real dialogue requires a vital mix of humility and courage, restraint and generosity, listening and engaging what is heard. (How’s that for a pronouncement?)
If something strategically coherent emerges from a very public process of reasoning together… well, that would be news in itself.