Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 27, 2015

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on February 27, 2015

William R. Cumming Forum

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Comment by claire rubin

February 27, 2015 @ 6:38 am

What good is a 3 week delay re DHS funding?

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 27, 2015 @ 6:42 am

My comments will run serially today but the theme will be the decline of science and expertise [and competence?] in the ruling elites.

What better place to start then with the seminal political scientist RICHARD HOFSTADER.

Published in paperback and now very very cheap in 1966 Hofstader’s books–ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM IN AMERICAN LIFE- broke new ground when first published and still remains remarkable for its insights and scholarships.

Here is a review from Amazon books that sets the stage:

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 27, 2015 @ 6:45 am

Amazon books extract:

410 of 413 people found the following review helpful

4.0 out of 5 stars What’s an intellectual to do in “practical” America ?, May 9, 2005


Christopher Hefele

This review is from: Anti-Intellectualism in American Life (Paperback)

“The age of philosophy has passed…that of utility has commenced…” said an orator at Yale in 1844. Richard Hofstadter uses this telling quote and well as a wealth of other information to show how a thread of anti-intellectualism runs through the history and culture of “practical” America. He dissects anti-intellectualism, goes into its history and origins in the US, and shows its impact in education, politics, and business. This thorough analysis won him the 1964 Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction.

Hofstadter is careful to define what he means by the intellect and intellectuals. The intellect is the critical, creative, contemplative side of mind that examines, ponders, wonders, theorizes, criticizes, questions, imagines. It is the province of writers, critics, skeptics, professors, scientists, editors, journalists, lawyers and clergymen. Just being a “mental technician” in these fields is not enough; one also acts as an active custodian of values like reason and justice and truth.

Unfortunately, America’s practical culture has never embraced intellectuals. The intellectuals’ education and expertise are viewed as a form of power or privilege. Intellectuals are seen as a small arrogant elite who are pretentious, conceited, snobbish. Geniuses’ are described as eccentric, and their talents dismissed as mere cleverness. Their cultured view is seen as impractical, and their sophistication as ineffectual. Their emphasis on knowledge and education is viewed as subversive, and it threatens to produce social decadence.

Instead, the anti-intellectuals believe that the plain sense of the common man is altogether adequate and superior to formal knowledge and expertise from schools. The truths of the heart, experience, and old-fashioned principles of religion, character, instinct, and morality are more reliable guides to life than education. After all, we idolize the self-made man in America.

Hofstadter goes on to cite examples of anti-intellectualism from the nations founding to today. For example, the founding fathers were sages, scientists, and men of cultivation, yet the Federalists attacked the brilliant Thomas Jefferson by portraying the curiosity of his active mind as too trivial and ridiculous for important affairs. Today, military ability is the kind of test of character which is viewed as good for political leadership, and voters view a show of intellect with suspicion.

In business, commercial culture tends to breed acquisitiveness rather than inquisitiveness. Business often demands group cohesion instead of independent thought. Hofstadter points this out using a number of examples. A Harvard Business School Dean said, “we don’t want our students to pay any attention to anything that might raise questions about management or business policy in their minds.” A famous chemical company’s training film spouts, “no geniuses here; just a bunch of average Americans working together.” The general point is that business is indifferent to knowledge on a broad scale; only the money-making faculty needs to be cultivated to succeed.

Turning to education, Hofstadter points out that broad public education in the US was started not for developing the mind or the pride of learning for its own sake, but for its supposed political and economic benefits. Children were viewed not minds to be developed, but as citizens to be trained for a stable democracy. He goes on to outlines the debates within the community of educators about what should be taught, especially in previous eras when most people did not go to college. Hofstader also cites studies that show that even if students study “superfluous” intellectual subjects with no practical application, there ARE practical benefits; namely, learning any subject in depth teaches one how to learn something new.

Overall, this was a good analysis; the writing is very readable but not sprightly, and while some chapters are slightly slow going, others are fascinating. Overall, though, I thought Hofstadter’s analysis has stood the test of time well, and it’s easy to see how this book, over 40 years old, could be applied to analyze the world today. So if you’re interested in a cogent analysis of anti-intellectualism, I’d recommend this book.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 27, 2015 @ 7:08 am

Before continuing on my theme for today’s FFF I will give Claire a short but hopefully accurate answer to her question!


The real impact of the dysfunction over the DHS budget and the delay in funding is severe. But first it does demonstrate that the Congress not really anymore about GOVERNANCE but perpetuation of incumbents.

As background remember that a Federal District Judge in Texas has issued a nation-wide stay on President Obama’s Executive Order on IMMIGRATION.

Yet instead of providing a DHS budget and showing deference to the Judiciary Congress keeps to its milling around.

And have experience two shutdowns during my 20 years in FEMA here is the real impact.

First, the shutdown impacts the department by adding a new third class to the two existing: Specifically the “essential” employee as contrasted with the “non-essential” employee. The two existing classes of course are the political appointees and the career officers and employees.

Disclosure: Despite a bevy of security clearances and also running FEMA’s litigation I was deemed non-essential and gratefully departed for some home-time with my young sons. Of course the fact that I had WH and other interested persons from the “essential” ranks call me at home to ask if I could still help on the phone swelled my chest with a pride that perhaps was denied to other “essentials”!

But I was interested to see the lingering effects of those shutdowns despite pay eventually arriving for those shutdowns. The main one is destruction of “team” culture and a adding to the normal stresses and strains of life as a civil servant and one who tried to “herd” the cats of civil service lawyers that I was leading.

And of course the shutdown puts paid to the notion that Congress could act rapidly and effectively should crisis legislation be needed and thereby no “standby” authority for the Executive Branch is needed.

I watched as closely as I could the discussion of the pro’s and con’s of the DHS budget lapse and concluded that few of those understood the real impacts or long or short term damage from a lapse.

I have long advocated a two-year or more authorization cycle and a two-year appropriation cycle just for the sake of CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT.

While that may make sense probably never will happen.

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 27, 2015 @ 7:59 am

Can you name the President’s science advisor?

What do these initials mean? OSTP, NIST, DSB, S&T directorate, NAS, NSF, AAAS?

Comment by Matt Doyle

February 27, 2015 @ 8:56 am

For my post this week I decided to discuss drone technology being employed for border security, as well as, RFID technology.

Courts have ruled that authorities have the greatest leeway when it comes to surveillance and privacy issues along the border. Thompson(2013) writes that “the Federal government’s authority to use unmanned aircraft is undoubtedly at its maximum near U.S. borders” (p. 14). Drones provide a useful complement to manned systems. The Office of the Inspector General (2012) writes that “the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) provides command, control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability to complement crewed aircraft and watercraft, and ground interdiction agents” (p. 2). The use of drones along the border has increased dramatically over the last decade because they enhance our national security. The Department of Homeland Security currently uses drones to prevent illegal immigrants, criminals, and terrorists from entering, as well as, to “detect and interdict the smuggling of weapons, drugs, and other contraband into the country” (Thompson, 2013, p. 3). These efforts to strengthen border security are being further enhanced by new drone technologies.

New drone technologies have the potential to greatly enhance our surveillance and detection capabilities. Some of the new technology includes high-powered cameras, thermal imaging cameras, license plate readers, and laser radar (LADAR). Additional technologies that will be available in the near future include facial recognition and biometric recognition. Drones can greatly enhance our security because they offer some distinct advantages over manned planes.

Singer (2013) outlines several important differences between manned planes or fixed surveillance cameras, and drones. The first difference deals with the nature of the robotic systems. Singer (2013) writes that “To operate, a robot is always gathering and storing information about the world around it… This gives robots an advantage over human operated planes, where a conscious decision to acquire and store data must be made” (p. 9). Drones are constantly collecting information and data, and this autonomy can be used to identify persons along the border, track them, and provide authorities with their location.

Another advantage of “unmanned systems are their ability to loiter for long periods of time, which again allows them to draw in more information (Singer, 2013, p. 9). Thompson (2013) elaborated on this advantage by revealing that drones can now be charged from the ground using lasers and soon technology may make it possible for drones to never have to land. This would be a significant breakthrough for border security because it would allow for constant autonomous surveillance. Additionally, drones can be used to conduct electronic surveillance: crack Wi-Fi networks and intercept text messages and cell phone conversations – without the knowledge or help of either the communications provider or the customer (Singer, 2013, p. 9). These capabilities present many privacy concerns, but along the border, authorities may be able to pick up conversations between suspicious persons.

Singer (2013) mentions one more critical advantage: “the size and mobility of robotic systems is fundamentally different – many are being designed in increasingly smaller sizes, and they are able to move and track targets covertly when required” (p. 9). The Congressional Research Service (2013) claims that some drones are as small as insects. These “nano drones or micro UAVs” can easily track suspicious persons without the person ever knowing. Piore (2014) writes about the rise of insect drones like the Robobee which is only about the size of a penny. Piore (2014) writes that a box of 1,000 Robobees only weighs about a pound and “they could be shipped to a disaster sight and deployed to search for survivors” (p. 28). If these drones can be deployed to search for trapped or injured survivors in a massive disaster site, they can just as easily be used by border patrol to locate persons crossing illegally.

The use of RFID technology has increased substantially along our borders. The U.S uses two types of RFID technology for border management: vicinity (20-30 feet) and proximity (scans documents from a few inches) (U.S. DHS, 2012). Unlike a bar code, RFID technology can uniquely identify an object. While a barcode can provide a general idea of what type of object something is, RFID tags and the systems used to read them, are designed to provide unique identification capabilities. RFID tags do not contain much information, instead the tag operates like a “record pointer to a richer set of information…in effect, the tag is a ‘license plate’ for each tagged item, directing the user via the Internet to the database where complete descriptive information about the item is housed” (Wyld, 2005, p. 12). When it comes to border patrol, the object can be a traveler, and the descriptive information could help authorities determine that person’s risk level.

Along with the information collecting capabilities of RFID, it is also relatively inexpensive, essentially invisible, and easily deployed (U.S. DHS, 2006, p. 3). RFID technology employed along our borders can make crossings more efficient and secure. RFID tags embedded in different forms of identification can be used to quickly identify individuals to determine their security risk. When the RFID tag is picked up by the sensor, the unique number will point to the back-end computer where the person’s information is securely held (Manaher & Teufel, 2008). Manaher and Teufel (2008) write that this system “facilitates faster border crossings, permits visual verification of identity using the photo presented from the back-end system, and enables the officer to prepare for the traveler should any derogatory information be retrieved from the back-end systems” (p. 5). Suspicious persons can be more easily identified and separated by the authorities and subjected to additional security measures.

RFID technology can also be used to reduce the use of forged and tampered forms of identification (U.S. DHS Privacy Office, 2006). By embedding passports and other forms of identification with tags, we can greatly strengthen our security and cut down on individuals hoping to travel without proper forms of identification. Lastly, RFID technology can be used to track individuals. RFID tags embedded in forms of identification like passports or enhanced drivers licenses (EDLs) can be used to track the movements of individuals as they enter and leave border crossings and ports. According to DHS (2014), they have been working with states to enhance driver’s licenses so that RFID sensors can bring up citizens biographic and biometric data for authorities at border inspection booths.

One additional comment: Drone technology and RFID technology are being merged together to provide even greater surveillance, detection, and identification capabilities. In the RFID Journal, Swedberg (2014) writes that drones equipped with RFID readers are being deployed by some companies to track their inventories. One company in the United Arab Emirates, Age Steel, uses these drones to locate and track inventory throughout their warehouse and storage yard. Rather than having employees walk throughout their yard (where the temperature often approaches 120 degrees) with a scanner, they simply release a drone with a RFID scanner. This type of technology could be implemented into our border security and it would allow for greater autonomy and enhanced detection, identification, and tracking capabilities.

Manaher, C., and Teufel, H. (2008). Use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology for Border Crossings. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security: Privacy Impact Assessment.

Office of the Inspector General (2012). CBP’s Use of Unmanned Aircraft in the Nation;s Border Security. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Piore, Adam (2014). Rise of the Insect Drones: Nature spend millions of years perfecting flapping-wing flight; now engineers can reproduce it with machines. Popular Science. http://www.popsci.com/article/technology/rise-insect-drones

Singer, P. (2013). The Predator Comes Home: A Primer on Domestic Drones, their Huge Business Opportunities, and their Deep Political, Moral, and Legal Challenges. Brookings. http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2013/03/08-drones-singer

Swedberg, Claire. (2014). RFID-Reading Drone Tracks Structural Steel Products in Storage Yard. RFID Journal. http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?12209

Thompson II, R.M. (2013). Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses. Congressional Research Service.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2006). The Use of RFID for Human Identification. U.S. DHS Privacy Office.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (August 9, 2012). Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): What is it? http://www.dhs.gov/radio-frequency-identification-rfid-what-it

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Nov. 6, 2014). Enhanced Drivers Licenses: What Are They? http://www.dhs.gov/enhanced-drivers-licenses-what-are-they

Wyld, D.C. (2005). RFID: The Right Frequency of Government. IBM Center for The Business of Government.

Comment by Gianna Gallo

February 27, 2015 @ 9:04 am

I recently became more familiar with the Cursor on Target strategy used by the Air Force and I wanted to share with everyone what I learned this week in case there is anyone who is unfamiliar with this technology.

The Cursor on Target strategy utilized by the Air Force focuses on the use of a common language for tactical systems that is critical in communicating much needed time sensitive position information. Brought to life by using rapid prototyping and information technology to deliver machine-to-machine targeting, CoT revolutionized the Air Force’s command and control capabilities (Shulstad, 2011). One particular innovative method used by CoT that I believe is critical to the enhancement of homeland defense and security is the development of a common language and the focus on a particular set of important common information on the battlefield. This simple, organizing principle allows Air Force officers to visualize the same goal and focus on a comprehensive solution (Shulstad, 2011). By creating a systemic operational environment, engineers, industry operators, and commanders are able to be on the same page and save more lives.

By entering a target’s “what (type), where (coordinates), when (time)” into a XML database and transmitting the data directly to various users, such as the intelligence cell, planning cell, and attack fighter, it simplifies the decision making process (Shulstad, 2011, p.23). Each key player receives the same information, at the same time, in a common language that all would understand. Although CoT eliminates manual transmissions, humans remain involved in each step of the decision making process to attack a specific target. The Air Force’s powerful CoT data exchange was so successful that the DOD adopted the XML database as a data standard for sharing military significant “what, when, and where” information (Shulstad, 2011).

Aside from the situational awareness benefits provided by using CoT, this technology greatly eases organizational interaction and encourages cooperation between hostile and friendly forces. Most importantly, this initiative gave war fighters improved operational capabilities that reduced the targeting-cycle timeline enabling attacks on time-critical targets and diminished the potential of casualties from friendly fire (Shulstad, 2011). The development and integration of this rapid and flexible technology in the homeland security field has proven extremely beneficial. I believe it is critical to continue to utilize the basic technology of CoT in order to effectively communicate and share data amongst homeland security stakeholders.

Shulstad, R. 2011. Cursor On Target: Inspiring Innovation to Revolutionize Air Force Command and Control. Air & Space Power Journal. Air University Press: Maxwell AFB, A.L.. Retrieved from http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/2011/2011-4/2011_4_02_shulstad.pdf

Comment by Gianna Gallo

February 27, 2015 @ 9:05 am

Wiliam – To answer your questions…

OSTP – Office of Science and Technology
NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology
DSB – Defense Science Board
S&T Directorate – DHS Science & Technology Directorate
NAS – The National Academy of Science
NSF – National Science Foundation
AAAS – American Association for the Advancement of Science

I believe the President’s science advisor is Dr. John Holden. He also co-chairs the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. (TWH, 2015).

(2015). Office of Science and Technology Policy. The White House. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp

Comment by Citizen Joe

February 27, 2015 @ 11:33 am

….and these thugs keep marching forward and where is the good ‘ol USA? Other than some facade created, NO where to be seen!

The question remains, when will Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg step up to the plate and lead the Assyrians against these hoodlums in Tehran and those waving a flag of IS which is reminiscent of Hitler’s flag where in “Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler defined the symbolism of the swastika flag: the red represents the social idea of the Nazi movement” and these days all we hear about is about the social aspects of IS and their savvy ways of these computer literate savages killing Christians and even Muslims and destroying artifacts of humanity….

Our borders are still open and vulnerable and we are ordering air strikes on empty buildings….what a terrific executive WH administration who denounces the Hebrew and embraces the Muslim Brotherhood!

87% of Homeland Security personnel will continue working and how dare immigration issues are part of this funding – How dare you?

Ready US boots on the ground for these thugs are serious in their intent and should not be underestimated and referenced by a warped WH who refers to IS as a JV team while they kill an torture primarily Christians and burn churches….

Where is the Pope these days and where are the Germans allowing such travesty for America has not only been weakened, but has lost much credibility as this eight year WH resident runs around the world apologizing and this anarchist and Chicago city street slicker along w/his illustrious Rev Wright and the likes of Billy Ayers…well, you voted for him and now the real ramifications in just looking at the massive debit before us in these six years…How dare you?

Until Guttenberg steps in and takes the reigns from Merkel, this travesty and lack of any US leadership will only encourage many more to raise their sword against a very vulnerable USA! What a pity for so, so many brave Patriots have given their Life or limb(s) to assure that America w/its strong arsenal will defeat those from within and outside who dismiss our Judeo-Christian values and Constitution and way of Life….

Unless we repent and demand leadership from those we “entrust” instead of these simple minded and biased politicians, We here on ‘Main Street USA” along with other wonderful humans beings will suffer much just as in WWI and WWII. WWIII is upon us and w/such lack of policy and patriotic will, the road ahead treacherous….

Close our border! Now!

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 27, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

Thanks Matt and Gianna for excellent posts.

In some agencies the personnel security clearance process and need-to-know create other classes or divides in culture.

In FEMA the personnel security program was raked over the coals by a Blue-Ribbon Panel led by Generals Goodpaster and Trefry and still available virtually on the FAS/FEMA page.

Comment by Maggie Szymczyk

February 27, 2015 @ 4:08 pm

For my post this week I would like to discuss the use of UAV technology which can be very beneficial to the homeland security if used properly and not abused. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAVs) or drones as defined by Thompson II (2013) are “aircraft that do not carry a human operator and are capable of flight under remote control or autonomous programming. An unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is the entire system, including the aircraft, digital network, and personnel on the ground. Drones can range from the size of an insect—sometimes called nano drones or micro UAVs—to the size of a traditional jet” (pg. 2). This amazing technology allows to have an overview from above without putting individuals in danger of being discover. The variation of sizes allows to get into places unnoticed. It is a great tool that can be utilized for surveillance purposes as well as intelligence gathering tactics. They have been used in Afghanistan and the Pakistan tribal borderlands and have had a great success in carrying out their missions. In his article Sluka (2011) points out “according to one estimate, by March 2011 at least 33 Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders (high value targets) had been killed by the drones and from 1,100 to 1,800 insurgent fighters had been killed as well” (pg. 70). Without this great technology, this war on terror over seas would be much more difficult to fight. However, UAVs are not only beneficial overseas and in the war zone, they have a lot of potential in enhancing our national security on the American soil.
One of way in which UAVs could be utilized on American soil to enhance our national security is ensuring the safety of our critical infrastructure. As we know, homeland security is not only about safety of the citizens but also our critical infrastructure. UAVs have capabilities to keep an eye on the infrastructure and report it back to the operators so proper actions can be taken. According to the National Consortium on Remote Sensing in Transportation (n.d.) domes are capable to “monitor rapidly changing disaster conditions (e.g., spatial extent of disaster area, toxic plumes, fire propagation, flooding, evacuations and population displacements” (pg. 7). Our critical infrastructure is really important and the use of domes allows us to keep an eye from above which ensures safety as well as helps in recovery process in an event of an incident. Everything can change in a blink of an eye as we have seen when Superstorm Sandy hit and the UAVs can help monitor the areas and keep the government updated on what is happening and what can be done to reduce the damages and ensure that people have the necessities that they need in order to survive. UAVs can operate without putting people in danger and still report back about what is happening.
Another way that the domes can be used to enhance the security on American soil is its amazing surveillance capabilities. The ability to make UAVs really tiny allows to keep an eye in the large cities without really being noticed which can lead to discovering if anything suspicious is happening. As we have discussed in the previous module, CCTVs are great but they are unable to move around and provide live feed from places outside of its scope. The ability to fly UAVs around without much effort and notice can be a great tool that ensure safety of the citizens. There are privacy issues that many Americans would dispute the capability of the domes to surveillance on Americans that walk the streets of the United States. However, Thompson II (2013) points out “In a series of cases that provide the closest analogy to UAVs, the Supreme Court addressed the use of manned aircraft to conduct domestic surveillance over residential and industrial areas. In each, the Court held that the fly-over at issue was not a search prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, as the areas surveilled were open to public view” (pg. 7). These fly-overs can make cities more secure from terrorist attacks and help capture those responsible for crimes. They have dual purposes which are preventive and detective and they are a great tool that if utilized correctly and without abuse can give the United States capabilities that can ensure safety that was never possible before.


National Consortium on Remote Sensing in Transportation. (n.d.). Critical Infrastructure Protection. United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/ncrst/research/cip/CIPAgenda.pdf

Sluka, J. A. (2011). Death from Above: UAVs and Losing Hearts and Minds. Military Review: May-June 2011). Retrieved from http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20110630_art012.pdf

Thompson II, R. M. (April 3, 2013). Drones in Domestic Surveillance Operations: Fourth Amendment Implications and Legislative Responses. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from http://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42701.pdf

Comment by Ally M

February 27, 2015 @ 6:35 pm

For this week’s post I would like to focus on the future threat of border security and how technology can better help protect the borders of this nation. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAV’s are more commonly known as drones. They are known for their tracking and detection ability. They are heavily used by the military overseas. Now they are beginning to surface as an application for homeland defense entities on American soil. Over the years this technology has enhance and the machines have shrunk in size for better surveillance. They are created to gather information that can be used by our first responders, security personnel, military personnel, or those who need it. They can be utilized to help our first responders survey a dangerous scene quickly during an emergency. The UAV’s cameras can collect information for our first responders during an emergency situation without placing them at risk. If our first responders are injured then they cannot do their jobs, saving the lives of others. Another way these can be used is border security. Unmanned aerial vehicles can provide reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting, and acquisition capabilities across all of the borders of this nation.

The Department of Homeland Security is now using drone technology to protect the borders of the United States. The United States Customs and Border Protection agency and the Office of Air and Marine operate all the aerial assets within the Department of Homeland Security. Customs and Border protection will utilize drone technology to enhance its agent’s capabilities to patrol and protect the borders of this nation. They also use sensors, light towers, mobile night vision scopes, remote video surveillance systems, and directorial listening devices to patrol the border. Using enhanced technology allows the United States Border Patrol to deploy fewer agents to a specified area while being able to maintain its ability to detect and counter intrusions. There are two types of unmanned aerial vehicles used by the Border Protection agency, drones and remotely piloted vehicles. Both are pilotless but drones are programmed for autonomous flight while remotely piloted vehicles are actively flown by a ground operator. The type most used by Customs and Border Protection is the remotely piloted vehicle. Their fleet consists of six low-to-medium altitude Predator B unmanned aerial vehicles. One additional unmanned aerial vehicle was modified with structural, avionic, and communication enhancements. These enhancements are optimized for maritime operations (Haddal, 2010).

There are both benefits and limitations in the use of drone technology to secure our borders that need to be understood. Unmanned aerial vehicles could potentially fill a gap in current border surveillance by improving the coverage along the remote sections of the United States borders. The aerial vehicles are equipped with Electro-Optical sensors or cameras that can identify an object that is about the size of a milk carton from an altitude of 60,000 feet (Haddal, 2010). They can provide precise and real-time imagery to the ground control center. Once the real-time information is received they can then make an informed decision on whether or not to deploy border patrol agents faster than before. The Predator B unmanned aerial vehicles that are used can stay in the air for over 30 hours without having to land to refuel. Compare this to the average flight time of a helicopter which is just over 2 hours before it needs to refuel. The ability of the unmanned aerial vehicle to loiter in the air for prolonged periods of time creates an operational advantage over the manned aircraft that are currently used. The unmanned aerial vehicle can sustain coverage over a previously exposed area due to its ability to stay in the air. This will help improve boarder security. The unmanned aerial vehicles also have thermal detection sensors attached to them. When compared to the stationary video equipment that is used at the border it can better track an illegal border entrant especially in dense woods of mountainous terrains. The extended range and endurance of this technology can lessen the burden that is place on the Customs and Border Protection human resources (Haddal, 2010).

Haddal, C. C., Gertler, J. (2010). Homeland Security: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Border Surveillance. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from https://bluehawk.monmouth.edu:2572/?view&did=21432

Comment by Django

February 27, 2015 @ 7:26 pm

9/11 had a baby and they called it the department of homeland security.

Besides other roles, the child serves as a political football when necessary.

A case of child abuse?

Comment by Chris Kears

February 27, 2015 @ 10:39 pm

For this week’s post, I want to address ICCTV technology and the significance that it can provide for our homeland in the future. Inspection, detection, and surveillance (IDS) technologies provides our homeland security enterprise with an upkeep ability to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure. While vulnerabilities are hard to detect in today’s ever-changing threat environment, IDS technology can help support our homeland security strategies in a proactive way that counters future threats and hazards. Although there are numerous components to IDS technology, I believe that intelligent surveillance systems are a vital proactive element that incorporates intelligence gathering through the utilization of observation and suspicious activity. Our current surveillance systems have prevented terrorist activities in the past, such as the suicide bombers who tried to target the London Underground in July 2005 (Bigdeli, Chen, Lovell, Sanderson, and Shan, 2007). However, our current surveillance systems only provide a reactive security measure and as our world becomes more high-tech, newer technology needs to be implemented to adapt to the ever-changing threat of terrorist activity.

According to Bigdeli et al. (2007), the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center put much stress on both the industry and research community to developed advanced surveillance systems for our mass transportation environments. Our nation has now witnessed the severity of terrorism and in order to protect our nation’s critical infrastructure, the homeland security enterprise must implement and evaluate new strategies moving forward, starting with the mass transportation systems. Bigdeli et al. (2007) discusses that Intelligence Closed-Circuit TV (ICCTV) systems should be acknowledge as today’s proactive security; as they use “powerful computers to analyze video feeds to assist human operators to detect events of interest as they occur – an example might be recognizing the face of a suspected terrorist or person of interest in a crowded railway station” (p. 1).

As millions of Americans utilize the railway system daily, ICCTV technology can provide our citizens with better protective measures as they utilize proactive tactics to investigate multiple points of interest. They also have the capability of including: robust detection of background changes; tracking and identifying individuals by their appearance across multiple cameras, detecting suspicious activity such as luggage, objects, or dangerous behavior that is being carried out at the time; and video summarization to produce brief video summaries of activities (Bigdeli et al., 2007).
As mass transportation railways can be the gateway for terrorist activity, it is vital that the homeland security enterprise immediately replaces our current surveillance systems with ICCTV technology. According to Bigdeli et al. (2007), our current surveillance systems have numerous limitations, such as “low resolution, recording only a few frames per second, non-uniform time delay between frames, and proprietary codes” (p. 3). ICCTV technology would have the capability of detecting possible threats and hazards in quicker ways, providing a safer environment for public rail transportation. Although ICCTV are more expensive than our current surveillance systems, they are much more cost-efficient than an incident occurring where our citizens and the environment are in danger. In a consequential perspective, the question is: do the ends justify the means? In this case, the ends would be funding ICCTV technology to accomplish the means, which is to protect and serve the American People. Therefore, it does; as funding ICCTV technology and replacing our current surveillance systems allows our homeland security enterprise a greater chance to mitigate threats and protect our citizens and our nation’s critical infrastructure. Policy makers and the homeland security enterprise need to continue to collaborate and discuss successful integration over the upcoming years but ICCTV technology has the potential to continue to protect our nation from tomorrow’s uncertainty.

Bigdeli et al. (2007). Vision Processing in
Intelligent CCTV for Mass Transport Security.
Brisbanc: Safeguarding Australia Program.
Retrieved from:

Comment by Justyna Gromadzka

February 27, 2015 @ 10:55 pm

For this weeks forum, I would like to address the threat that terrorist use of social media poses. Since its emergence, social media has become increasingly popular throughout the world. Individuals now have easier access to the internet and can communicate with others around the world by simply using forums such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Terrorists organizations are not blind to the popularity of social media and have utilized this tool to further their own agenda. Most young individuals in today’s society have social media and use it regularly, therefore, terrorist organizations utilize forums to appeal to this group. This becomes a vital tool for terrorists who are trying for recruit westerners for their cause. Thanks to social media, contacts can be made with individuals all over the world relatively easy and at a low cost. Terrorist organizations utilize social media to find like minded individuals in the west so they can aid in planning and carrying out of attacks. Thompsopn discusses how “Al-Qaida focuses its attention on recruiting young people from the West to help them transport material, act as suicide bombers, or do what they can for the cause” (2011). The terrorists group ISIS has been the leader in using social media to recruit Westerners for their cause. They make their videos in english or with english subtitles so young individuals in the west can relate to them.

The use of social media by terrorists organizations is proving to be a challenge for law enforcement around the world. More resources would be required in order to go through all the chatter on social media. Intelligence agencies are struggling to figure out just how to separate the noise from the real threats that exist on the internet. Currently, the policy of most social media sites is to suspend accounts that encourage illegal activity or violence against individuals. However, usually these profiles have to be brought to their attention by a complaint from a third party, rather then the companies looking for them regularly. Furthermore, suspension of accounts is not an effective solution for the long term since the organizations can just create new profiles and accounts after their old ones are suspended. For instance, “the Syrian Electronic Army have resurfaced more then a dozen times in different iterations on Twitter after having their previous accounts suspended” (Peters, 2013).

The U.S. government, along with other nations, and the private sector need to work on ways to address the threat that social media usage by terrorists poses. There are no effective policies to combat the issue at the moment and that needs to change. The policies that address internet usage need to catch up to current times and stay relevant. Technology changes rapidly, yet the laws that control it stay the same for years, making them ineffective. However this can only be done by senior officials who might not be very knowledgeable on the issue and social media use in general. For this reason, a course should be set up for senior leaders that overviews how technology and social media are used and exploited by terrorist organizations (Thompson, 2011). This would not only increase awareness on the problem but also aid in establishing policies and funding initiatives to address the problem. Government agencies along with the social media companies should work together on developing a solution to this problem.

Peters, C. (2013). Social Media: A New Medium for Terrorism. Project Censored. Retrieved from http://www.projectcensored.org/social-media-new-medium-terrorism/

Thompson, R. (2011). Radicalization and the Use of Social media. Journal of Strategic Security. (4:4, 167-190). Retrieved from http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jss/vol4/iss4/9/

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 28, 2015 @ 6:48 am

reference: Trumpet.com

A must read — Germany and the Holy Roman Empire

Many people are aware of the atrocities committed by Germany in World War II, but would consider them ancient history. These people are completely unaware of the legacy which Adolf Hitler drew upon in creating his Nazi war machine. His was merely the latest resurrection of a war-making empire with a long and bloody history. Did you know that the Bible prophesied of his regime-as well as the terrible emergence of one last resurrection in our day?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 28, 2015 @ 7:17 am

Mr. Kears,

Thank you and others for your postings and I concur that given the vulnerability of our mass transit and the increasing utilization of mass transit especially here in Boston and in New York and other and while more monies are needed to modernize and bring more efficiency to these aging systems and I along with many scream for better transparency and accountability with such mass transportation budgets, ICCTV technology should definitely be urgently incorporated into the overall infrastructure requirements which must now be addressed.

W/DHS permitted known convicts to run the streets among us and this WH encouraging the return of known terrorists who have killed or taken limb(s) from our precious youth and the same terrorists, convicts are returned behind enemy lines, those who seek our demise have been so encouraged and Barry Obama, Hillary Clinton and others should be held accountable – no matter their political party affiliation and no matter their position granted by We here on “Main Street USA” for no one, no one is above the law!

Our Judeo-Christian values and our requirement to have a strong arsenal and to defend against those who seek such beastly acts must be conveyed with urgency and seriousness, not this ongoing political charade….Far too many this very moment are being tortured and Christians persecuted as well as even Muslims feeling the wrath of these individuals who are computer literate and should not be underestimated….already America has suffered humiliation and embarrassment and this warped and perverted WH will see to it that we are further weakened in every way….God help us!

My concern remains with our local, state and federal governments and the lack of citizenry interest in demanding that every budget be transparent and scrutinized as the waste of hard earned American taxpayer seems of little interest to those we “entrust” to manage and when did public service jobs outpace the private sector in wages and salary as well as benefits so if the “big guys” are going to be paid such high end salaries, then more the reason for accountability for fewer and fewer Americans are working and while this present WH administration seeks to spend and spend making us more and more bankrupt, one day soon, all Americans will see poverty which has not been seen since the Great Depression of 1929!

Stay the course for as long as our border remains open and partisan politics continue to play out and the executive administration plays its perverted games and sits with Tehran instead of ridding us of all these soldiers of Lucifer, the USA is vulnerable and God help humanity shortly as these “Brutes of Tehran” have multiple launchers and WMDs to result in much anguish for so many good people!

Welcome Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and with God witness to all, tell the world what is really before us because it is far too obvious that Barry Obama and his Muslim Brotherhood pals and the Palestinians who use their own people as pawns, well as you can see a little group which is now known as IS and has taken over substantial land mass and areas where our precious youth gave its blood and few really could give a damn and this administration has allowed this land mass to fall to these new thugs, though sophisticated in their technology and policy planning for even America cannot seem to stop the killing of Christians and Muslims and the sickening tearing down of artifacts and burning of churches and even mosques, well “BibI” tell the world the real facts of Life and damn anyone who cares little to listen….

“”Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy upon us. Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Both now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen. Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. Holy, Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let your mercy be on us, O Lord, as we have set our hope on You. Blessed are You, O Lord. Teach me Your statutes. Blessed are You, O Lord. Teach me Your statutes.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 28, 2015 @ 9:08 am

Can anyone link to a good article on LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS and/or HROs [high reliability organizations]?

DHS may have some organizations that are either or both of the above but not many IMO!

Wondering how many Masters in Public Administration DHS employs and where are they organizationally in DHS?

And for Chris B. what gets taught at the Naval Post-Grad School about management and organizational theory, if any?

Comment by Christopher Tingus

February 28, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

….and as far as our Homeland Security and the coming global conflagration encompassing many good people, when it comes to the executive WH and a US Congress and Senate so paralyzed by their own self-serving agenda no matter their party affiliation, I believe John Bolton says it best:

His reckless withdrawal from Iraq was an invitation to ISIS.
His failure to support the Ukraine emboldened Russia to invade.
His meaningless “red lines” in Syria caused us to miss a huge opportunity to crush ISIS.
His appeasement of Iran will result in a nuclear-armed radical Islamic state hell-bent on destroying Israel and the United States.

Comment by Drew Buffalino

February 28, 2015 @ 10:30 pm

For this weeks forum I would like to discuss the possibility of Congress failing to come to an agreement on the funding of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). What types of implications would this have on the state of homeland security? Homeland Security is more than just a department within the government it is an idea that encapsulates the entirety of homeland defense, whether that be through constitutional values, economic standing, or national sovereignty and border protection. 21 hours ago Congress passed a 1-week bill to keep homeland security open. Espo and Werner of the Associated Press state, “Hours after conservatives joined with Democrats to vote down a three-week funding measure, 224-203, the Senate presented a one-week alternative to keep open the agency, which has responsibility for border control as well as anti-terrorist measures.” (2015). This extension is a mere example of the need to debate further how homeland security should be implemented.

One reason for the inability to agree upon funding comes from the Presidents Executive Actions on Immigration. The orders “…shield as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.” (Mullen & Diamond, 2015). Opposition to the bill has drawn the attention of 26 states across the nation who believe the executive orders to be outside the bounds of the President’s authority (Mullen & Diamond, 2015). These actions, being directly implemented by the DHS, means that those in opposition to the executive action would want to see the funding and ability to implement be removed. Overall, others will argue that there is more to the DHS than just border security and enforcement of immigration laws. DHS is the physical form of the homeland security philosophy of a “whole community approach” of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery to all-hazards.

While a cut in funding to the DHS would significant implication for the present functionality, it will not end the implementation of the idea. Homeland security in its nature is robust and adaptive to the changing environment. It has brought about notions of information sharing, preparedness planning, and collaboration among all stakeholders. It is not an idea that is solely linked to a government department and can be utilized in markets without government involvement at all. Thus, the possibility of the shutting down of the DHS is not an end-all be-all to the idea of what homeland security and the safety of the country. State and local law enforcement, National Guard, even citizens if need be will fulfill the gaps lost with the closure of the DHS and succeed in keeping the nation secure. Security is not limited to and derived from one agency or department. Like homeland security teaches it is a collaborative effort and will continue to be so even if its main player is lost.


Mullen, J., & Diamond, J. (2015, January 1). Obama vows to abide by immigration court order – CNN.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/17/politics/texas-obama-immigration-injunction/

Espo, D., & Werner, E. (2015, January 1). Congres OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from http://news.yahoo.com/republicans-prepare-pass-homeland-security-funding-080933043–politics.html

Comment by Drew Buffalino

February 28, 2015 @ 11:17 pm

In addition to the last I also find it relevant to discuss the new technology of RFID chips. Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a new technology that offer a wide spread of capabilities. RFID chips are readers that consist of an antenna, a transceiver, and a decoder (Wyld, 2005). This combination of these three elements allows for RFID chips to transmit frequencies that can be read at multiple ranges determined by the size of the antenna. Wyld (2005) states that the most common range of frequencies start from 0-18 inches and max out at 10+ feet with the implementation of microwave energy. An example of a low frequency 0-18 inch RFID is access control, such as RFID implemented in ID cards, while microwave RFID chips are utilized in systems such as EZ-Pass toll collection readers (Wyld, 2005). This technology provides for increase efficiency at border crossings and in human identification due to the fact that all information that is stored on the RFID chip is transmitted and recorded into a database.

The DHS states, “They [RFIDs] can also be embedded in identification documents and even human tissue. Both the private and public sectors are increasingly using RFID to rack material (such as inventory management), but RFID is also being considered and adopted by DHS and other government agencies for use in tracking people”(2006, p. 3). This type of technology would especially useful in tracking shipments across boarders to ensure every package is legitimate and going to its intented location. The use of RFID in the free market are endless and would provide for increased efficiency. The use for RFID in human trafficking, however, is up for moral debate. The DHS states, “This latter practice raises far greater privacy concerns than explicit tracking and it should be rejected in all cases except when the security mission calls for tracking individuals about whom suspicion has met an appropriate legal threshold” (2006, p. 3). With this statement the Department of Homeland Security does an good job of exemplifying the limits that should be placed on RFID technology.

RFID would be efficiency utilized in the tracking of known illegal immigrant and/or individual who pose a threat of overstaying the time allotted to them on their approved visa’s. This technology would also be beneficial in keeping tabs on violent offenders who have been released on parole or probation and may still present a risk to the liberties of others. The threshold of the use of RFID technology is drawn when it is implemented on law-abiding citizens who are unsuspected of committing any violent illegal crimes. To do so would infringe upon one’s right to privacy and the 4th Amendment by tracking individuals without issue of a warrant or reasonable suspicious of a crime being committed. Overall, both of these technologies offer benefits to security of the public at large, but it risks infringing on liberty if implemented on an U.S. citizen-based individual level and without suspicion of a crime such as murder, theft, illegal immigration, etc.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (2006). The Use of RFID for Human Identification. Privacy Office. Retrieved from https://monmouth.desire2learn.com/d2l/le/content/191074/viewContent/1953667/View

Wyld, D. C. (2005). RFID: The Right Frequency for Government. IBM Center for The Business of Government. Retrieved from https://monmouth.desire2learn.com/d2l/le/content/191074/viewContent/1953666/View

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 1, 2015 @ 9:04 am

Free form and a suggestion to read the New York Times article herein re a brave young woman (Paveena) reaching to Democracy and slain by those who dismiss such practice….

…from the New York Times article I just read this morning and from ongoing advances by the many who seek to bring society back to the 7th century and news report after news report depict a western populace turning its face from the death to the wst being chanted by many….

….it is obvious America has failed many…once the Beacon of Hope to the persecuted and the downtrodden, the perverted and warped scope of this eight year WH resident has done more to damage our American credibility, but has caused so many to grasp at the hands of Democracy and WE are no place to be seen other than some facade of a demagogue and from my perspective nothing but a Chicago city street slicker who pledge remains steadfast to tearing America in a divisive way and his pledge to Hussein Obama, his father, who with his anti-Christian Kenyan pals sought to weaken America in every way and when we talk about Homeland Security, never since the mid and late 1930’s have we seen such failure in American leadership….Far too many have given the Loved ones and far too many have given their Life or limb(s) to allow such bandits as our presently elected officials with their self-serving ways to hood wink us and take our freedom away from us and allow such courageous women you must now read about and her plight and journey to Democracy which cost her Life….

Paveena’s death must not be in vain much like as we recall Ned? ?gh?-Solt?n shot at protests on the streets of Tehran by these “Brutes of Tehran” who are being enabled, yes, enabled by this eight year WH resident and his illustrious Rev Wright spewing hatred towards the Hebrew referring to the Jews as “Zionists” and surely one must realize that this present executive WH will allow Tehran to have multiple missile launchers and WMDs and shortly conflagration will bring much anguish to so many instead of humanity Respecting one another and while not embracing one another, at least affording everyone the right to a Life of choices w/o any government or organization dictating how Life should be led….

Do not underestimate IS or Hezbollah, AQ or anyone who seeks the demise of the west….often sophisticated and quite computer literate and socially savvy, those who seek the demise of western culture are intent in their commitment.

Get past yourselves and don’t lie to yourself. Your loyalty to self-serving agenda and political party is a travesty for your obligation is to protect the Judeo-Christian values of our nation and our Constitution.

God Bless America and God Bless us all!

SPECIAL REPORT Sunday, March 1, 2015 8:01 AM EST

Afghan Policewomen Struggle Against Culture

Parveena almost got away.

She was on her way home from a visit to her parents in a remote corner of eastern Afghanistan with her children by her side and a small group of women.

Two men, their faces covered by kaffiyehs, pulled up on a motor scooter.
“Who is Parveena, daughter of Sardar?” said one, looking at the group of women, their faces hidden behind blue burqas.
No one answered. One of the men took his Kalashnikov and used the muzzle to lift the burqa of the nearest woman — in conservative Afghan society, a gesture akin to undressing her in public. It was Parveena, who like many Afghans used only one name. She grabbed the muzzle, according to her father and her brother, and said, “Who is asking?”
But the gunmen had seen her face, and they fired 11 bullets into her.

Parveena’s story — she was one of six policewomen killed in 2013 — is an extreme case, but it reflects the dangers and difficulties of Afghan policewomen and the broader Western effort to engineer gender equality in Afghanistan. The plight of women under the Taliban captured the Western imagination, and their liberation became a rallying cry. A flood of money and programs poured into Afghanistan, for girls’ schools and women’s shelters and television shows, all aimed at elevating women’s status.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

March 1, 2015 @ 10:33 am

…and interesting to read others and perspectives often contrary to our views here on “Main Street USA” when reading various outside the country viewpoints and a number of them as follows by just folks who may differ in opinion from my viewpoints here on “Main Street USA” and while I may disagree w/most, when discussing Homeland Security and American policy making and int’l relations and what is best for the Middle East region and the good people of the various countries in the Middle East, well, some folks see us (the US) as the culprits sometimes making me think that maybe best if the rest of the world rots, stop sending our precious youth to give Life or limb(s) to the unappreciative and we close our country up tight and let the evil doers live among one another and kill one another, but w/full understanding that America will lash back w/great might if we are adversely affected….a complex world for sure and many viewpoints to consider as there are always two sides of the story!

Now in reading various viewpoints across the pond and far distant, from foreign media sources. others in commentary and shared perspectives….


Reader wrote:

It’s true that in an effort to restore peace and stability in the region, “any strategy must challenge IS directly in Iraq and Syria”. “the growing role of Iran and the Shia militias”, which has no doubt alienated the Iraqi Sunnis, especially remnants of Saddam Hussein’s army, driving them into the arms of ISIS. So he urges for “military and political support to Kurdish forces and Sunni tribes”. His notorious anti-Iranian and anti-Shia stance will only exacerbate the sectarian divide in Iraq. Yet in 1990, as George HW Bush’s special assistant he advised the president on military operations against Saddam Hussein during the first Guilf War. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, led by George W. Bush brought down the Sunni-led regime under Saddam Hussein and brought the Shia majority to power.
As ISIS has its stronghold in Raqqa, Syria, more regional, Sunni engagement in fighting ISIS. After all most Muslims refuse to identify themselves with extremist ideology and accept the Islamists as the “true defender of Islam”.

If there was a global strategy in curtailing dependence upon oil, there would be less petrodollars to fund terrorism, less strategic dependence upon the Middle East and less carbon emissions. Hard to find a goal that ticks so many boxes……

CommentYou say, “Curtailing the flow of recruits is even more essential.” No, we should be encouraging people living in the West that want to join IS to do so, and perhaps even pay their way there. We don’t want anyone like that in our homelands. IS seems to dream of a final battle with “Rome,” and we should give it to them. I doubt that they understand what ground combat in the open plain would be like against an enemy that has A-10s, Apache Helicopters, and B-1s dropping fuel-air bombs.ISIS killed Americans, just because they were Americans, so Americans should kill the
there will be no ‘beating ISIS’ to a final conclusion. ISIS is here to stay
These ISIS people are nothing more than the manifestation of the environment that they grew up in, whether that is Saddam Hussein’s Iraq/Gulf War/Iraqi War and the general hubris of the region.

Not that I agree with what they’re doing. Far from it. But if you’ve ever been there, you *know* why this happened. In fact, it couldn’t have happened any other way.

1) To stop the worst of it we need to do a number of things, and number one on that list by a significant margin is Western nations supporting everyone and anyone (of any political stripe) who is a known Moderate. By far, that is the most profound and important thing that we can do.

Not at a marginal level, but a full-on blitz to find known moderates and support them. This would need to be a long term project, no dropping the ball the day after the fireworks stop.

2) There is precedent to lowering or eliminating terrorism by offering a safe haven, enclave, or region to some groups.

Most people have a family and if they get the opportunity to move their family to a safe location (their new homeland) they will.

In fact, the fight might just end right there.

We participated in the setup of Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous region with defined boundaries in northern and northeastern Iraq.

Since then, no more problems with the Kurds.

Why don’t we do the same for ISIS?

3) Youth unemployment is as high as 50% in some Middle Eastern nations. If ever there were a breeding ground for conflict, that is it.

High youth unemployment (combined with failing economy, etc) has empowered many a radical leader to the heights of power. See; Adolf Hitler prior to 1939 — for one example.

Not that I expect that outcome, but I suspect that nobody in 1934-1939 expected WWII. Populist leaders do emerge and once they do, there is no holding back the floodgates. “There is nothing so pregnant as an idea.”

WE need to be part of that solution before events conspire to marginalize our thus far, Lilliputan efforts in this regard.

Working with regional leaders with the clear objective of lowering youth unemployment (anywhere, but especially in Iraq/Syria/Turkey/Jordan/Lebanon) is in our best interests, especially long term.

Instead of designing solutions to the symptoms, why don’t we design solutions to the actual problems?

To quote my favorite car repairman advertisement; “You can pay me a little now, or a lot later!”

What I’ve outlined above will have some budget impact, but will be surely cheaper than another trillion or two spent on war. And it will be cheaper than suffering the effects of potential future terror against the West for the next 50 years.


historians will have the benefit of the hindsight, and they will be able to look back to present events in a systemic fashion.
Still I think if we take a step back we could also take a wider look to at least try to imagine a solution.

If we take our eyes off ISIS and the Middle East for a moment we could see that chaos and barbarism isn’t only spreading in one region.
In truth the whole global world is in crisis and whether with military means, or financially, economically, culturally many countries take laws into their own hands trying to exert dominance, influence over others, accepting horrific collateral damage as they do so.

We have descended into a general “lawlessness” all over the world, the UN has long been a simple circus, G20 and similar meetings are only good for the media, etc.
Most of the human institutions we ourselves built are slipping through our fingers and are only kept alive by “virtual money transfusions”.

In short as any time before in history when a hedonistic, self-serving empire, civilization started declining barbaric forces, extremism started emerging biting into the failing empire wherever they could.
We have built an empty, value-less, inhumane modern “human” society, destroying all humane values at the altar of consumerism, “constant quantitative growth” and infinite profit.
This society is unsustainable and undefendable.

Stopping extremist face on we will never be able to do, since we have no values to fight for.

Raw military force cannot fight for an unnatural zero society.

If we want to win the ‘war on terror”, if we want to build a sustainable, peaceful future human society first of all we have start building on truly humane values, we have to build mutually complementing cooperation, we have to provide positive example for our youth so they would want to stay in and defend our societies instead of flocking to fight for the “barbarians”.

If we don’t do so perhaps there won’t even be future historians to look back at our times.


We are not managing anything–it is we who are being managed. We desperately need a different scenario. Our present strategies must be downgraded to tactics, and our strategy become the transformation into a mutually responsible dynamic unity. The power of the growing entity alone will bring on others as naturally as bacteria rapidly come together in a mega colony. This alone can fight the new war as an entangling, coordinated complex–a single higher entity–with value and purpose in its own open social connection and unity. It will either digest ISIS or encase it–and all such.

But if we continue our present tea-party social path of blustering, then we best finish our cups quickly before the Mad Hatter collects our cups, and the Queen of Hearts collects our heads.

IS was trained and formed under CIA in Jordan to take out President Assad (Syria). It is also be possible that genesis of IS… was an outcome of strategic consultations under CFR.
President Obama originally agreed to bomb Syria; but finally refrained when he realized what a tactical nonsense it was, since (CIA) equipped forces (IS) were inadequate for the task – irrespective of Senator McCain’s accusations at the time.

What calls *clash within a civilization*, is actually a manifest result of US strategic and security policy in the region – after 9/11.

Multi-national forces, if deployed, with US/Nato command, will reinforce the concept of clash with civilization and arouse Arab/Muslim masses against the West.

In the final analysis, when Kurdistan becomes sovereign, it may be able to take on IS directly. Iraq has not supported Kurdish forces – actually opposed it!

Turkey also has a stake in the game now, and it may finally allow Kurdistan to be formed across its frontiers, as a sovereign state.


I would like to see more here about the possibilities of co-opting the Islamic State in the same way as the Wahhabi were co-opted following their successful campaign in central and western Arabia. Their tactics may be heinous, but right now, IS is focused on “the Persians,” meaning the Shia in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Why is that our problem? Has our sponsorship of the government in Baghdad made us responsible for that government as well as Assad’s in Damascus? Are the American people really prepared to again spend lives and treasure in support of lesser evils?


Are you for real? Co-opt the Islamic State?
Oh yeah like Pakistan co-opted the Taliban to fight a proxy war in Afghanistan which has now become a continuous uncontrollable insurgency within its’ own borders. Like the CIA has generated numerous right wing paramilitary groups throughout Central and Latin America which have fueled a narcostate instability throughout the region and generated millions of economic refugees flooding into the U.S. border states. Brilliant!

I nominate Turkey to be the next Pakistan /Israel being so cunning in ‘using’ the forces of religious fervor to interfere in its’ neighbors affairs only to realize too late that those forces aren’t easily controllable.

If you look at the lessons of history in the region, a bunch of spiritually charged tribesmen coming out of the desert in the 600’s brought down both the Byzantine and Persian Empires before going on to knock out Egypt and the Visigoths in Spain.

Best policy – support the Kurds, support the Christian and minority groups along the Kurdish border, make a deal with Bashir al Assad to make some kind of truce with the Sunni rebels (a statelet within Syria) and join forces to pound the Islamic State within Syria. Give the Sunni tribesman their own state or autonomous province within Iraq and then join forces with the Sunni tribes to pund the Islamic state within Iraq.

The Sunnis are feeling unempowered in the region and being used to being the lords of the region for so long they are drawn to the Islamic State ideal of again being rulers of a vast caliphate. This can be short-circuited by giving them a sustainable state or statelet with sufficient resources to be sustainable.
This isn’t going to be what happens of course. With the Americans trying to make Iraq functional when the Shia have no intention of sharing the oil wealth with the Sunnis, the Kurds wanting their own state, the Turks wanting to re-establish the Ottoman Empire, the Israelis wanting to break all the countries around them into tiny warring easily controllable States, the Saudis belatedly waking up to the consequences of decades of support of fundamentalist forces, and a mass of impoverished, unemployed, uneducated Arab youth seething at their lack of opportunities within the autocratic framework of the current Arab societies – there is a wealth of possibilities for the region.

To talk about co-opting these forces is lunacy.
Russia aside, it’s not the 50’s or the 70’s. It’s not the Cold War with rival dictators and clearly understood rules and a reasonable distribution of income and the reasonable WWII seasoned Bob Hope generation. No it’s 2015 with the Baby Boomers in control , vast worldwide disparities in wealth, market forces are the mantra, self interest informs politics, and few politicians have any notion of how badly things can go wrong by trying to do today what Henry Kissinger did back in the day.

George Bush junior was responsible for this stuff up, but I doubt he would accept any blame for what has happened. Still he has been a decent agent of change. The Kurds have been released, Iraq has become a Shia state and an extremist Sunni state is on the rise. It’s just a shame that a fundamentalist Christian has been responsible for the misery of thousands of Middle eastern Christians left unprotected by his actions.

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 2, 2015 @ 8:20 am

Brad Keiserman, former Coast Guard career officer and former Chief Counsel of FEMA, and now running the NFIP for FEMA [as of the last 3 weeks] was interviewed on CBS’ 60 MINUTES LAST NIGHT.

The topic was falsified engineering reports on Storm Sandy claims.

Apparently a class action has been filed by a Texas lawyer.

Stay tuned!

Comment by William R. Cumming

March 3, 2015 @ 8:04 am

I watched a lengthy interview with Harvard Law Prof Lanier Guanier [sic] over the weekend on C-span booknotes. She has a new book out entitiled THE TYRANNY OF THE MERITOCRACY!

Her interviewed focused on various issues clustered around problems, policies, and issues in Higher-Ed and Harvard and Harvard’s LAW SCHOOL specifically.

She discussed how current Higher-Ed fails to teach effective leaders because it spends no effort on cooperation and collaboration in the achievement of organizational success NOW!

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