Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Anti-Terror Strategy Focused on 'Last War'

Magazine article National Defense

U.S. Anti-Terror Strategy Focused on 'Last War'

Article excerpt

Concentrating on the "last war," rather than on the next one, is a fundamental shortcoming in the Bush administration's national security policy after September 11, said a recent Brookings Institution report, tided, "Protecting the Homeland: A Preliminary Analysis."

After the release of the report, U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., told reporters: "Absent a [national security] strategy, we are fighting the last war," and the United States is unduly focused on how to respond to attacks that have already taken place. "A piecemeal security strategy does not a national security strategy make," she said. "We will continue to be vulnerable, particularly in those gaps that we are not filling, because we are not dealing with this in an organized, systemic way.

"The administration owes us a strategy. It gave us a budget before it gave us a strategy. It gave us a color-coding system before we had a strategy. It's given us some things that I think are admirable, like a smarter border system with Canada, and some other improvements, before we had a strategy. But until we have a strategy, there is no sensible way to put our resources, which are not infinite, against our biggest vulnerabilities, and then make sure that all levels of government follow the strategy. …

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