Securing America's Future: National Strategy in the Information Age

Securing America's Future: National Strategy in the Information Age

Securing America's Future: National Strategy in the Information Age

Securing America's Future: National Strategy in the Information Age

Synopsis

As we move further into this Information Age and the ensuing increased levels of globalization, the ability to harness all of the elements of national power in an integrated, coordinated, and synchronized manner will be even more critical to the successful defense of the United States, our people, and our ideals and values. Gerstein argues that we as a nation are largely unprepared to reap the full benefits of the Information Age and unable to address an increasing threat level because our methods, procedures-and indeed, our thoughts-remain anchored to the Industrial Age that we are rapidly leaving behind. To understand and adapt to this emerging environment, the U. S. must re-examine the development and the implementation of national security.

Excerpt

Over the course of the last fifteen years, the United States has moved at an ever-increasing pace into a new era, the Information Age. The ability to acquire, sort, and distribute data has increased several orders of magnitude over this relatively short period of time. This increased capacity is both extraordinary and overwhelming. We are driven by a law, not of nature but of man’s creation, Moore’s Law, in which Gordon Moore of Intel Corporation observed an exponential growth in the number of transistors per integrated circuit and thus computing power, and further predicted that this trend would continue. His observations and predictions have been and remain on target, with no reason to believe that current trends will not continue for the foreseeable future.

In many respects, we are largely unprepared to reap the full benefits of this new era, as our methods, procedures, and indeed our thoughts remain anchored to the Industrial Age that we are rapidly leaving behind. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the highly bureaucratized world of national security.

In thinking broadly about the issues of U.S. national security and defense, one can essentially consider two broad categories of action: foreign and domestic actions for security and defense to protect U.S. territory, interests, property, or people; and “hard” or “soft” power. While the range of tools is as varied as the elements of national power, a logical grouping of hard power and soft power provides articulation of the manner in which the United States has executed strategy throughout our history. Using this construct forms a diagram with four quadrants referring to the use of either hard or soft power in a foreign or domestic setting (figure 1). For example, deploying the military to enforce a . . .

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