This is the fifth in a series of anticipated posts closely reading the Constitution of the United States for homeland security implications. Readers are encouraged to use the comment function to add background, analysis, exegesis or exposition related to the text highlighted.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Homeland Security and Defense have been quite purposefully — presidentially — conflated into National Security (sharing a snug four-seater with foreign affairs and intelligence). Defense is usually behind the wheel. State Department still claims the front seat. Intelligence is an increasingly insistent back-seat driver. As far as the others are concerned, HS will be kept in a baby seat for several more years.
I have never perceived this to be a conducive shared-space for homeland security. Now almost a teenager, it has been overly influenced by the often testosterone-driven, passive-aggressive, paranoid tendencies of its cynically sophisticated older siblings. HS would have been better served by a more self-reflective and independent childhood.
But this does not mean I can or want to deny the important relationship between the young Department of Homeland Security and the worldly Department of Defense.
The successes and failures of Defense — and State and the intelligence community — set the context for many of the most treacherous issues of homeland security (capitalized or not). The terrorist threat is morphing and growing with the proliferation of failed and near-failed states. The cyber-vandalism/criminal/terrorist threat grows even as we have at times chosen to be first-mover. In a world growing more and more interdependent and accessible, we should all hope the common defense will be exercised with insight and effectiveness.
But as we consider what is happening today in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Yemen, Sea of Japan, South China Sea, across much of Northern Mexico, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Mali, Nigeria… and elsewhere… we should also endeavor to ensure that homeland security grows up as wise, capable and quickly as it can.