The Administration is preparing for cyberwar, but its plans are incomplete. Presidential Policy Directive 20 concerning U.S. cyber operations does not specifically address the important relationship between transportation safety and security. This glaring gap leads one to question the Administration’s understanding of the economic importance of transportation systems and the significant damage that can occur if a transportation system is successfully attacked by hackers.
How hard is it for migrants to cross the southwest border illegally and enter into the United States? That question has long been difficult to answer, but it is one that has become more urgent as Congress prepares once again to consider a broader immigration reform. A new report from the Government Accountability Office gives a surprising assessment – that it appears to have become far more difficult than most Americans realize.
The radical ideology that attracts people to sympathize with and engage in Islamist terrorism is all-too-often not given the weight it deserves. Two recent separate articulations on the vital need to do more to counter and actually triumph over extremist Islamist ideology deserve a close look, those of former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith at the Aspen Security Forum and HSPI Director Frank Cilluffo speaking before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs.
By David Trulio
Close partnerships and trust built over time – within the U.S. Government and with foreign partners – were key themes as Admiral William McRaven, Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, kicked off this year’s Aspen Security Forum this week here in Aspen, Colorado. Consideration of security matters can often quickly gravitate toward such specifics as personnel, budgets, and weapons systems, but McRaven emphasized what are sometimes overlooked fundamentals to an audience of homeland security and counterterrorism professionals, as well as interested citizens.
Events of the past decade—including 9/11, the anthrax attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic—have shown that public health and emergency management efforts are interconnected and often overlap in time of crisis. In a report just released by our Preparedness, Response, and Resilience Task Force, we believe that the legacy missions of public health and emergency management must be synchronized for disaster preparedness and response efforts to be effective.
After two decades of pouring resources and technology into patrolling the U.S. border with Mexico, there are encouraging signs that Congress is about to start asking the right question: what exactly have we bought for all that money? But the administration is continuing to drag its heels. A May 8 hearing of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security was intended to provide some answers to the critical question of how to assess progress along the border.
Last week, five individuals were arrested in a plot to blow up a bridge near Cleveland. Like other similar stings by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, sharing threat information and using key tools provided by the Patriot Act kept the public from harm. Though a great deal of attention is rightly paid to Islamist-inspired terrorism, they comprise a minority of attacks in the past decade, and a new Heritage Foundation report finds that an all-threats approach to security offers the best defense against terrorist threats.
It has been almost a year since the death of Osama bin Laden. Though we are right to be proud in dispensing justice to the terrorist mastermind, it is no time to rest on our laurels. Al-Qaeda is weakened and scattered, but this has only led them to adjust their tactics. A particularly worrisome trend is al-Qaeda’s shift toward recruiting homegrown terrorists.