The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs have announced they will seek help from the private sector on finding a way to share personnel files between the two huge organizations. This follows a disastrously unsuccessful attempt to resolve the issue themselves, costing more than $1 billion. The system has been choking for far too long. Why has this happened?
Military and Homeland Defense
May 28th, 2013 - by Steven Bucci
May 23rd, 2013 - by Ronald Marks
President Obama delivered a major counterterrorism speech this afternoon laying out America’s modified approach to this ever-dangerous issue. In it, Obama has once again made a run at closing most of Gitmo. He also is beginning to move the use of drones away from CIA and back to the Defense Department.
May 17th, 2013 -
There are 166 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, and more than half are on a hunger strike to protest their imprisonment. The Joint Detention Group at Guantanamo is in an impossible situation. On the one hand, they are obligated to look after the detainees and keep them alive. On the other hand, their efforts to do so are criticized, with some seeming to suggest forced feeding rivals the water-boarding controversy of years past.
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.
December 10th, 2012 - by Ronald Marks
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.
September 28th, 2012 - by Robert Liscouski
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.
July 27th, 2012 - by David Trulio
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.
Last week, Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, Director Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), testified in a closed session before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security on the threat posed by IEDs in the United States. Lt. Gen. Barbero knows better than anyone how the knowledge and experience of bomb makers in Afghanistan and Iraq can be easily transferred here to conduct attacks in the United States. The trend is clear – we need to take this threat as seriously as we are taking the cyber threat.
People talk. That’s a fact. Whether at the water cooler, the fence post or on Facebook, people talk about almost anything and everything. Eventually though we all reach a point where what we really should do is just shut up. We’ve long crossed that point when it comes to intelligence and national security operations in this country. Lately there have been a truly disturbing number of very public examples that bring these conditions to light.
May 17th, 2012 - by Steven Bucci
A panel at the MilBloggers Conference provided a very interesting discussion earlier this month. The main point of the meeting is that the news media covers the military differently. Social media is driving fast reporting online and has created a constant drumbeat for information NOW. The panel was asked if this effect has created a tabloid-type, low quality product today. The reporters agreed blogs add a valuable corrective and much positive context to the media landscape.
May 14th, 2012 - by Steven Bucci
I attended the MilBlogger’s Conf in Arlington on May 12. Congressman Randy Forbes was the keynote speaker, who noted most people in Washington are only asking, “How can we cut spending in the military?” They must ask, “What is the effect on the security of these cut?” Forbes reminded everyone present that most Americans (and a lot of legislators) simply do not understand that cuts to the military will actually have consequences.
May 3rd, 2012 - by Steven Bucci
Should President Obama be taking credit for the removal of Usama bin Laden from this mortal realm? The short answer is “yes,” based on the logic that if the mission that got UBL had failed, Obama would have had to take the blame. That said, it is a distorted view to think that nothing was done until before the present Administration arrived, and no one should be credited except President Obama.
May 1st, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
The U.S. Secret Service, the TSA and the U.S. Military have all been involved in recent public relations disasters that exposed poor choices on the part of federal employees and disrupted the public trust in government agencies. Fallout continues over the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia. News reports of TSA agents breaking rules and laws are ongoing. Military personnel have been caught in photos urinating on dead bodies and in other offensive acts. Why did these incidents occur and what can be done to ensure they do not happen again?
An elective course called “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism” was summarily cancelled at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA by General Marty Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The course apparently had asserted, “Islam is at war with the West.” OK, the Chairman gets high marks for ensuring we don’t offend anyone, but Al Qaeda, its affiliates and ideological progeny have declared war on the West. They did it well before 9/11, and they have never declared even a ceasefire.
April 18th, 2012 - by Wendell Shingler
One of the great things about the United States is that our forefathers wrote and established a timeless Constitution as a cornerstone to the best nation in the world. It is the basis for the best legal system in the world, where citizens are afforded due process. Sadly, there are more and more instances where the press has self-appointed itself judge, jury and even attorney for both sides. What happened to reporting the facts and not opinions? Indeed, many in the press have tried and convicted the Secret Service agents and officers that were in Colombia recently.
Reporting over the past few days regarding an advance detail of U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Military personnel’s activities in Colombia has been riveting. Being a former federal law enforcement officer, I was not shocked by their activities, but I was truly saddened. People responsible for the safety and security of the President and others just cannot engage in this kind of behavior. Part of the problem could be that the Secret Service is incorrectly situated in DHS. My own sense is that they are in the wrong department, with leadership problems, and are starved for funding.