The anticipated nomination of Jeh Johnson to become the fourth DHS Secretary is welcomed news almost any way you look at it. Johnson’s prodigious resume and professional history is being chronicled by the homeland security, defense and legal establishment writers. Most of those stories will focus on Johnson’s past experience at the Pentagon, but here are the five most pressing issues he ought to address in his confirmation hearing, as well as his tenure as Secretary (should that occur).
At the beginning of June, NATO held the first Alliance meeting of ministers dedicated exclusively to the subject of cyber defense. this comes at a time when countries are strapped for funds and citizens have little appetite for additional defense expenditures. In the months ahead, NATO will decide how to support members that are the target of cyber attack and request aid. As always, the real test resides in the manner and extent to which agreed-upon principles are operationalized.
You have heard the saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it must be a duck. News sources and government officials tell us we live in a world of constant cyber attack, so we must be at war, right? In cyber world, this kind of talk is harmful and obscures the new world in which we really exist. We are not at war – we are in conflict, and some of the tools we are using cross interesting and controversial 20th-century political lines.
There are few spots left around the world without Internet access, and few people who cannot reach out to access it. It has been relatively free of state interference and American dominated. However, the Net has had mounting problems, and 2012 has marked the end of the old Internet as we knew it. The days of an American-controlled freewheeling Internet with unlimited access and relatively cost-free access are over.
Honoring our country’s military is important. For those who lay down their life to uphold the freedoms we cherish, we rightly celebrate their service, not just on Veterans Day, but year round. Celebrations took place across the country on Sunday, but while thousands of veterans received their just tribute, there was at least one soldier who did not. After 37 years of honorable service, four-star General David Petraeus’ reputation is being dragged through the streets and dissected in media reports. This is not how we honor our veterans.
An interesting thing happened this weekend – two diverse voices came in violent agreement on the threats America faces today. First, CBS reporter Laura Logan, a renowned Middle East war correspondent; then, Governor Mitt Romney, in a foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute this past weekend. They separately emphasized that only by showing strength to foreign radical groups will we ever hope to have a degree of safety.
Facing a deadly IED threat in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Government developed an array of technologies to protect American troops against improvised bombs. With the troop draw down underway, these technologies are being brought home and could be valuable assets to homeland security professionals facing an IED threat in America.
On Thursday, September 6, The Heritage Foundation will host a showing of the film “The Horse Soldiers of 9/11”, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker, Ms. Alex Quade. This important film is NOT a recapitulation of the events that made America’s brave warriors some of the first heroes of the post-9/11 conflict. This film is about what happened after the smoke had cleared.
The Aspen Institute’s Security Forum, held at the end of July, proved why it has become, in only three years, a “must-attend” event for those of us working in the homeland and national security space. The four-day program was packed with insight from leading thinkers and past and present policy makers and influencers on the subject of national and homeland security. There was not a single bad panel, but three sessions stood out in my mind as being a slight cut above the rest.
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.