Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 28, 2010

Where is homeland security on the new national security map?

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on May 28, 2010

Just in time for this weekend’s beach trip, the new National Security Strategy is ready for your reading pleasure!

Starting Tuesday, June 1, Homeland Security Watch will commit all next week to examining how and why (if?) homeland security is part of the long-awaited National Security Strategy.

To give this examination context, please scan the following collection of presumably related documents.

The National Security Strategy is available from several sources.  The way it is presented at the White House Homeland Security site is interesting… speaking of context.

Wednesday John Brennan previewed the NSS in a speech at CSIS.  Do you hear what John hears? Does that sound like homeland security to you?

How well is the NSS calibrated with the now venerable Quadrennial Homeland Security Review?

How about those ancient texts, still surfacing in caves and garbage dumps across the National Capital Region, called Homeland Security Presidential Directives?  Is yesterday’s new testament a radical rejection or an inspired fulfillment of the old canon?  Are new such epistles now to be expected?

For the full old testament experience be sure to review both the original and deutero-National Strategy for Homeland Security. (Personally I have always preferred the literary quality of  the revelation according to Richard Falkenrath.)

There are plenty of other sources worth referencing, but surely we have all memorized the report of the 9/11 Commision by now.  If you have other must-reads, please use the comment function to point us to them.

In any case, read-up, gird your loins, and show-up next week to join the discussion.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 28, 2010 @ 7:14 am

Well this topic is worth a week of blogging. Here is my quick take. For Homeland Security as opposed to Homeland Defense, the new NSS is worthless as guidance or strategy or whatever. It does follow the WH decisions that combined the staffs of the NSC and HSC into a new NSS staff.
The document does not address in any way the integration or relationship of the Armed Services to civil domestic crisis management response and recovery. Why is that? John Brennan background is INTEL and he grew up and developed in that peculiar world. He has done a nice job of escaping accountability for the INTEL communities recent problems resulting in the change of leadership for the DNI.
Here is what I think is happening in the WH and the circles that live and die on the policy decisions of the National Security State!

First the danger increasingly exists that within a decade American forces will no longer be in active combat. For two reasons primarily, too expensive and lack of will and capacity to exert American military presence. This is unfortunate only in that resources to assert American policy in an increasingly complex world are necessary but looking now like no increase in national resources that impact American security not directly related to warfighting, such as increased diplomatic presence, and homeland security.
Brennan and the President are not dumb people and both are learning the dangers and pitfalls of Homeland Security by experience not because of any particular background. Both fail to see the oil spill in the Gulf as a national security issue which by Labor Day of this year will be totally obvious to the world if not these two men. Both men are largely reactive and cautious administrators [of course one an appointee and one elected] who understand the down side risks of policy change as opposed to the upside risk of efforts that might yield results.
Despite the charter of the NSC to integrate military, foreign policy and domestic policy to protect the national security of the US this is still not being accomplished under General Jones or John Brennan and certainly not by the President. How could that integration occur when Obama came to office ignorant of foreign policy and military policy and the others came to office ignorant of federalism and domestic concerns.
Some would argue the new NSS indicates recognition of the limitations of power projection and policy for the US. More mulilateralism and less “go-it-alone” but that faces the difficult that the whole world knows the US is the key player and its strengths and weaknesses are in fact the only game in town for analysis and dissection by those with expertise who are not necessarily friends of the US. My bottom line is that the new NSS is largely hortatory and short of specifics. Can any budget decisions or policy decisions be supported or ruled out by it? NO in my opinion. Essentially it is a meaningless document and not worth the effort except to indicate that for once this Administration has superseded a Bush era document.

The requirement for an “annual” NSS comes from the Goldwater-Nichol Act of 1986. It is supposed to exist in a classified and unclassified version. So perhaps the meat was left to the classified version. Actually though I think this mandate is a useful one as since 1986 the National Security State has continued to grow and dominate US governmental and foreign policy interests, and in fact that state has by catering to various forces crowded out the true national security interests of the US. Well the audit of actual warfare may well reveal in the future that the National Security State had it right all along, but for me I would argue that Iraq and Afghanistan represent despite the heroism and effort of individual soldiers, sailors and airmen/women the almost total incompetence and lack of honesty of the flag rank officers today. A new law prohibiting post-employment with defense contractors of flag ranks would soon winnow out those that bear a grudge for the poor conditions they experienced in their careers. Hey how many flag ranks bear decorations with “V” symbols on them or purple hearts, or Combat Infantry Badges.
And let’s know for sure if we (the people of the US and its politicians) think China is really a national security threat! And is terrorism a real threat or just another facet of the intrusion of the National Security State into national life. Some say less than 100 American muslims have been radicalized since 9/11/2001. Is terrorism a real threat to our nation state system of international relations or is it a localized phenomenon driven by the ruthless ignoring by authoritarian leadership in the oil producing states? And perhaps big oil in the last century also distorted American politics and life. Perhaps oil is now the biggest threat to the American way of life and we should have more oil experts on the NSC and its NSS staff. And is the Federal Reserve by its actions supporting or detracting from the National Security of the US? How many veterans are employed by the FED? How many on Wall Street? What do these people comprehend as the national security challenges of the US? Are they in their all-encompassing self absorbtion and greed a national security threat to the US?

Is globalization a national security threat?

I know questions questions and a fool may ask more questions than a wise man can answer–old saying tracing back to Persia.

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