Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 17, 2012

Highlights from “The Future of Homeland Security: Evolving and Emerging Threats”

Filed under: Congress and HLS — by Christopher Bellavita on July 17, 2012

Last week, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held the first in a series of hearings about the future of homeland security. Wednesday’s hearing focused on evolving and emerging threats.

You can watch and read the hearing transcripts here.

I gleaned a few excerpts from the speakers prepared remarks. I encourage those with an interest in homeland security rhetoric, thought, analysis, fact, social construction, discourse, comity and history to download and read the full statements.


First, my favorite part of all the testimony, from Brian Jenkins.

The sentiments are not new; they appear in his Unconquerable Nation. But neither are they old.

Common Will and Common Purpose

Terror is just as much an enemy as the terrorists who try to create it. Our reactions to terrorism are part of any assessment. America has come through the dark shadow of 9/11, but as a nation, are we stronger?

Individual acts of courage inspire us, but Americans remain anxious rather than confident in the country’s ability to survive the threats we face. Fear-mongers and doomsayers still find a receptive audience.

Instead of our traditional self-reliance, Americans look too much to government to protect them, in part the reflection of rhetoric that, rather than involving us in a national effort, tells us that as individuals we can do nothing beyond remaining vigilant.

Americans have come to hold unrealistic expectations about security, believing that risk can be abolished. We are too ready to seek someone to blame when security fails.

Instead of the stoicism needed for a long fight, Americans remain vulnerable to overreaction. A terrorist attack of even modest scale could provoke paroxysms of panic.

Whatever one thinks about the wisdom, or the folly, of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sacrifices of war have been borne unequally. Our sense of community has eroded.

Terrorists did not create America’s anxieties. Terrorism acted as their condenser. Nor will America’s homeland be secured in the mountain passes of Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula, or the sands of the Sahara. Our commonwealth, our common defense, will come only from the recovery our own sense of common will and common purpose.


Joseph I. Lieberman

This coming November will mark the tenth anniversary of the signing into law of the Homeland Security Act legislation created in this Committee in the aftermath of al Qaeda’s attack on 9-11. Given this coming milestone, it seems appropriate not only to reflect on the major homeland security developments of the last decade but also to look ahead to the next ten years, and examine whether we are adequately prepared to address them.

The preeminent threat to our homeland security today remains the threat of terrorism….

The cyber threat is the second most significant threat to the United States….

The violence in Mexico by drug trafficking organizations has reached the level where it is now a direct threat to our national security….

Transnational organized criminal groups are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are engaged in a wide variety of activities, from human smuggling to Medicare fraud….

…[While] our threats are becoming increasingly interrelated, we continue to address them in a fragmented way, with different agencies responsible for different threats.


Susan M. Collins

In an understatement, the [9/11] Commission’s report observed that, “[i]magination is not a gift usually associated with bureaucracies.” Yet, imagination is precisely what is needed to address emerging threats. We must persistently ask: Where are the future threats? What technology could be used? Do we have the intelligence that we need? Are we prepared to thwart novel plans of attack? What will our enemy look like in two, five, or even ten years?


Michael V. Hayden

Because of globalization, the international structure that was created by the Treaty of Westphalia more than five centuries ago is no longer dominant. …. most of the attributes of the age of industrialization made the state stronger and more relevant. Most of the effects of today’s globalization make the state weaker and less relevant…. But here we sit with institutions optimized and practiced for the earlier age: methodical, thorough, stable….

We all agreed in the 9-11 Commission Report that we needed a domestic intelligence service and it would be best to house it in the FBI. But look at the reaction even today when the bureau tries to collect information without a criminal predicate, in that area we called “spaces between cases.”

And heaven save us from the Associated Press if the New York City Police Department tries to do the same thing….

This committee knows more than most how many of our secrets (state and industrial) are being stolen by foreign governments; how much of our wealth is being pilfered by criminal gangs; and how much of our infrastructure is vulnerable to cyber enabled anarchists and malcontents….

I should add that cyber, terrorist and criminal threats today all merge in a witches’ brew of danger.


Brian Michael Jenkins

The United States confronts a more diverse terrorist threat in 2012 than it has in the past. Al Qaeda, still our principal concern, has exploited the turmoil created by the Arab uprisings to make tactical advances and open new fronts. In addition, several incidents in the past year suggest a resurgence of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. Mexico faces what some analysts have called a “criminal insurgency” by the country’s drug cartels, which could expose the United States to the kind of savagery seen in that country. The global economic crisis has spawned mass protests.

These are legitimate expressions of popular discontent, but they attract violence-prone anarchists and may generate their own violent fringe groups. Anti-federal-government sentiments, a continuing current in American history, have become more virulent, fueled in part by economic dislocation that transcends the current economic crisis, deep national divisions, and the rancorous partisanship that characterizes contemporary political debate.


Frank J. Cilluffo

… [At] the level of principle, we need to be as flexible and adaptive as our adversaries, who are nothing if not creative and ever-thinking. A static posture is an ineffective one. After all, each time we raise the security bar (often at great cost to the U.S. Treasury) our adversaries devote themselves determinedly to crafting a reasonably inexpensive and clever way around the latest security measure(s). Their ingenuity and inventions are often vivid, and include body and “booty” bombs. Now is not the time to ease off the gas pedal. Rather we should and must keep up the pressure and exploit this unique window of counterterrorism opportunity by maintaining, if not accelerating, the operational tempo. The threat would look and be markedly different otherwise….

To my mind, the cybersecurity community’s state of development is akin to that of the counterterrorism community as it stood shortly after 9/11….

Now is the time to act. For too long, we have been far too long on nouns, and far too short on verbs.


Stephen E. Flynn

In response to the attacks on 9/11, the Bush Administration mobilized U.S. national security capabilities to go after al Qaeda and those within the international community who supported them. To an overwhelming extent, the strategy was one of prevention by way of military force supported by stepped-up intelligence. … The hoped for outcome of engaging the threat in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world… was “so we do not have to face them here at home.”

This strategy has involved a considerable amount of national treasure…. That amount translates into a burn-rate of $350 million for each and every day for ten years.

By contrast, the cost of one-hour of these war operations—$15 million—has been the most that has been invested in the entire annual budget for the Citizens Corps Program which was initiated after 9/11 to engage citizens in the homeland security mission by volunteering to support emergency responders….

… [The] total amount of containers inspected overseas in 2011 was just 45,500. This represents 0.5% of the 9.5 million manifests that CBP … reviewed overseas in advance of loading. If the 45,500 number is divided by the 58 … ports and 365 days per year, the result is [security] inspectors are examining with their foreign counterparts on average, 2.15 containers per day per overseas port before they are loaded on carriers bound for the US–two containers each day.

This does not represent much of a deterrent.

…In addition to the ongoing risk associated with terrorism, there is an even more clear and present danger to the safety of Americans that should animate the homeland security mission: natural disasters. It turns out that 91 percent of Americans live in places at a moderate risk of earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, high wind damage….

[The] investment Washington makes in homeland security remains a fraction of the resources devoted to traditional national security. At times, this can have the perverse outcome of actually making civilian targets potentially more attractive to our adversaries. For instance, the U.S. Navy has invested more in protecting the single port of San Diego that is home to the Pacific Fleet, than the Department of Homeland Security has invested in the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Tacoma combined, upon which the bulk of the U.S. economy relies….

…Everyday civilians, supported by state and local officials, will need to be better informed and empowered to play a meaningful role. This role includes not only preventing acts of terrorism, but making investments that mitigate the risk of disruption to our communities and critical infrastructure. This will require a homeland security enterprise centered around three efforts: (1) setting appropriate expectations, (2) increasing transparency, and (3) building community and infrastructure resilience.

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Comment by Dan O'Connor

July 17, 2012 @ 8:22 am

“Americans have come to hold unrealistic expectations about security, believing that risk can be abolished. We are too ready to seek someone to blame when security fails”. I believe this to be true not only about security and risk but about many things in America today.

Our expectations shape intelligence and its purported failures, investment banking and its returns, our ability to wage war and minimizing casualties, and having comprehensive anything, whether its health care, welfare, or a host of other programs with no increase in revenues (taxes) or reduction in other spending (cuts).

I also think our expectations and our capabilities are not aligned, hence our resilience, both psychologically and physically has many different definitions and points of views that shape it.

It appears to be inherently human or rational to assume we can reduce risks to zero, predict future crises, and have our proverbial cake and eat it too. I’ll leave whether it’s rational or irrational to the Aristotelian meta physicists. I believe our expectations and realities may be coming to a crossroads and good decision makers will be tested in trying to define and manage the expectations of evolving and emerging threats and our ability to aptly define and mitigate what we can.

Comment by Michael Brady

July 17, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

The opening statement by Brian Jenkins and last segment by Stephen Flynn are brilliant book ends to the “Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid” bleatings of everyone (ironically including Jenkins) sandwiched between.

“The preeminent threat to our homeland security today remains the threat of terrorism.”

Thanks Joe, but by definition the only threat to “homeland [or motherland, or fatherland] security” is the threat of terrorism.

“Are we prepared to thwart novel plans [movie plot threats] of attack?”

Woe, I say woe, is the little old US of A. Is there no defense contractor yet unfunded or alphabet agency yet unchartered who can save us? Money is no object. Remember, if it saves one life it’s worth it.

If everything today is worse than it was on September 10, 2001, perhaps that’s because our responses have been incorrect, flawed, wrong, or stupid. If our vulnerability to terror, cyber-crime, and narco-anarchism has been increased by our reactions over the last decade perhaps we should try something new and thoughtful and legally defensible.

“Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid” for our Constitution, for our solvency, for our character as a nation, and for our legacy.

Comment by John C

July 18, 2012 @ 1:02 pm


Thanks for the prescient preview.

HLS is, if nothing else, about prevention. HLS is a contact sport. As noted by Ciluffo, HLS is not a noun.

HLS is a verb.

Hayden’s domestic intelligence, i.e. “spaces between cases” is a HLS-imperative.

If not what is the alternative?

NYPD’s Intelligence Enterprise writ large is an imaginative, innovative, legal and smart practice. See smart practice: http://archive.epinet.org/real_media/010111/materials/Bardach.pdf

Notwithstanding the AP’s condemnation of NYPD, NYPD Police Commissioner Kelly is right: your “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

See: http://www.ap.org/Index/AP-In-The-News/NYPD and http://www.npr.org/2012/07/15/156815759/counterterrorism-and-the-nypd

If NYPD is wrong; what is the alternative?

NYPD is also looking at the future.

See: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-06-05/news/32037108_1_nypd-brass-consulting-firm-mckinsey. (Looking forward to the report.)

IMHO, HLS is learning “some” of the lessons it didn’t learn before. See: http://www.hsaj.org/?article=2.2.4

Comment by Ill Prepared and more to come....

July 22, 2012 @ 10:37 am

DHS and US startegy concerns:

Remove the US nukes (108) on European soil. Get them installed on both west coast and east coast now! Keep them far from the German-led EU w/the Assayrians to bomb North America at some distant future.

Keep a weary eye on evolving Chinese and German relations. Invest in the Euro, the dollar is dead as China takes strong position in Europe buying even its castles. Muslims embedded in London, move back to the Middle East for it is not the US or even the UK which are really your enemies for the German-Vatican alliance will swoop into Jerusalem to protect and hood wink the Hebrew while ridding Muslims as its arch enemy – much to fear from Germany and the Vatican!

Watch Jerusalem very closely. At least half of Jerusalem will be overwhelmed by gun fire and calamity….however Jerusalem as it is written will ultimately survive by the hand of God!

Keep a vigilant eye on the German-Italian axis supported by the ever powerful and corrupt Vatican now that the French have been dumped, the UK an outsider and another Christian crusade takes hold in Europe which will be devastating to Islamic followers….mankind always seeking War rather than all Respecting one differences and similarities w/no one expected to necessarily embrace one another or assimiliate.

Russian-Chinese axis which the UN saw this past week once again when addressing the “Bandits of Syria” willing to spill the blood of innocents in front of God’s face…Inevitably, a proice will be paid.

Russian-Chinese axis over shadows US in foriegn events and global strategic partnering and the US weak, led by liberals who are dreamers for ‘ol Glory has stood against eveil, however only with resilience and fortitude, inherent passion and strength and we are broke and as hisyory repeats itself, the bankers and their pals, i.e, this “Goldman Sachs” adminisration and the “other” party in government so weakened by its own lust for power and control. North America will eventually be struck by German missiles. There is no dount taht this realty will surface….We will be so weakened by the inept and the self-serving agenda of both the Congress and Senate as we see cuts to defense, an aging Navy ship and US Air Force aging jet.

We take so much for ganted and instead of Susan stating at the UN how terrible it was for China and Russia to allow the Syrian regime of thugs to continueb to kill innocents, the US delegation whould of walked out of the UN. How can we, China holds are fita currency….We have a WH who has sealed so much about itself that it is beyond a passport issue, but who is truly pulling the strings…

Money, money and more money and me, me, me and China engulfed by massive piles of federal reserve notes back by gold and/or silver, I doubt it….Wasn’t this the overall plan good ‘ol fellas…we are so, so much in peril and while we will see an election where no one will discuss – issues – like this new forging in relationship w/China and Russia..our aging fleet and aircraft as well as our inability to take a strong position….while the Vatican and its lusting intent continue to support the Germans again in history while they show off their fast deployment army and new, shiny vessels….

Sure, let continue to wallow in self-serving agenda and nod off in depiction of your utter ineptness and self while America, the UK continue to falter ever so and the world becomes increasingly into the graps of those who will cause calamity, conflagration.

These are but a few of what should be the concern of DHS, the heros and patriots at NSA and some at DoD….

Watch attentively, fill your gas cans as the world will be quickly transformed to something unimagineable as Lucifer takes an even firmer grip on world events….The ruthlessness, the dyfucntional ways of human being will once again be evident. We are so ill-prepared and while our US Constitution and 2nd Amendment Rights are being shredded…God has rightfully hidden his face from us for we have failed to protect Jerusalem and ourselves. We must forify both and we are disabled by empty _ change – slogans and the elitist.

Germany is again openly turning the pages of history and again the west will stand by and do little….Wake up thoe of you in “Sleepy Hollow” – the bankers and politicians have stripped America and now Germany will even hoodwink the Hebrew who will turn to Germany only to see the double cross. While leadership in Israel has been brillant in bring together a government of unity, it will not be Israel who wipes out Iran, but German rapid deployment forces well trained and well prepared and quite willing to downsize its EU strength to ten (10) EU nations only…the remaining thrown to the wind….

God Bless us all!

(Chris)topher Tingus
PO Box 1612
Harwich (Cape Cod), MA 02645 US

*We have been asked repeatedly by the Europeans to pull our nukes from their soil, change history by repenting and begin by political leaders talking about the issues, real issues and mostly how monies will be spent in building new ships, new aircraft, pouring monies into graphene technology – see: http://www.novusfoliumventures.com – and begin to place recall initiatives, demanding transparency, line by line audits and term limits…fight against the shredding of the US Constitution by Barry and the Rev Wright, Reed and smug-smiled Pelosi and demand that if indeed Romney is a possibility to take the reigns, We demand detail in plans and not just this empty rhetoric between lustful parties while the world of Lucifer is given the nod to once again bring a veil of death to so, so many not even one hundred years since the mutilated and decomposed bodies, the loss in identity of innocent fellow humans so openly raped and beaten, shot in the back, their clothes torn from them marked by a star, folks beheaded, bodies thrown in heaps, each a person, each God’s creation, child and the world so willinging…even some of the worst of the lot hiding behind religious vestments…the clock ticks while Winston Churchill though mocked stood tall, we have no one this time around willing to truly talk about the realty of global conflagration soon to consume us as self-agenda and selfishness with humanity once again folding its arms and looking the other way as Russia and China did the other day once egain at the UN assuring more innocents will be tortured in every way We cannot even imagine…the clock ticks and all we her is the devisiveness put forth by the Chicago-city street organizer led as a pupit by the “Goldman Sachs” type bankers and not another to stop the talk and present the specifics in a business plan to the American people….

We are at great peril!

As I have asked, pls turn your flags upside down to convey the – distress – you, too see We as once great nation fund ourselves as the “good ‘ol beltway bandits” play out their charade while We see the only – change – stripped from us and let the rich keep their monies and create industry and support technology like carbon nano tube and grahine technology for few at DHS know anything about such technology and while I hold the key to a $1.75 bln rare earths (heavy) treasure trove and China has already written the check, no matter how much appeal I make to Congress to write the check and look forward to the necessity we secure this much needed REE, they shrug, fold their arms and look the other way if China secures this treasure trove first offered to us, it will catapult China into the 22nd century with not only this REE advantage, but hoards of commodities it has stockpiled while we watch the two political parties and their hatred of one another care little about America!

God has yet to hide his face fully from us, however whether it is DHS or any other agency, unless we come face to face with reality and a State Department led other than by the oblivious nature of the Clintons, We will continue to falter and be led by such narrow perspective that We shall – continue – to falter with every step.

BTW, those properly licensed who as Citizens have a Right to carry a concealed weapon are Not the ones killing on our streets.

In fact, it is the lack of proper education and job opportunity which causes this drug-infested culture where over forty years that I can recall, promises of a real National Drug Porgram and a real National US Energy Policy have never been written. What a charade. Eight and Ten and tweleve year olds in Mexico are being taken (kidnapped) from their families and their organs ripped from their bodies and sold just to our south and We are in Afgahnistan and Iraq, spending billions even being sent to Pakistan and Mexico sees little while drugs have infested our society and taken our young …This is a DHS issue and it is your issue, yet who gives a care…no one and therefore you can shrug your shoulders, however We are besieged from within as our forefathers warned.

Get those nukes off German soil as it is time for us to let the evolving German-Italian axis supported by the corruptness of the Vatican led by a German Pope take care of itself as in fact, they are Not our allies. Th Chinese-Russian axis as all of you at DHS saw and Hillary looked like an idiot once again, well, just watch and do nothing and We shall too be gripped by foreign power as Washington and its dysfunctional way taking every opportunity to talk about slavery and remving Winston Churchill’s bust at the WH and replacing it with Martin Luther King…it is Winston Churchill we need today and if those who have not gotten past the color of one’s skin, well, the clock ticks and while the two parties are not talking about a business plan to be presented before the election to address DHS issues and every other issue, well at the coffe shop and at home, begin your own draft and march on Washington for this WH can’t get the job done as it is far too narrow in its perspective and the other party, We still do not have a clear picture as to how the real issues, the real story of the day will be addressed as the clock ticks and our vessels are aging, our aircraft needing replacement and my $1.75 billion in REE still waiting for the $1.75 bln check to acquire these rare earths (heavy) for strategic purpose if for no other erason such as making sure China does not place them in their coffers and exceed their 2009-2015 Rare Earths Projections…

To you at DHS, wake up! Get out of your own way…

God Bless America!

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