Security Beat

By Book, Elizabeth G. | National Defense, November 2002 | Go to article overview

Security Beat


Book, Elizabeth G., National Defense


U.S. `Self-Obsessed' With Homeland Security

"All the major powers are self-obsessed, for different reasons," said Therese Delpech, director of strategic affairs at the French Commissariat de I'Energie Atomique. She spoke at the Eisenhower National Security Conference in Washington, D.C.

"The United States is obsessed with homeland security; Europe is obsessed with enlargement and the European Union; Russia is obsessed with its internal problems, and China is not an international actor and wants to make itself so."

Critical Infrastructure Report Released

The President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board released the first draft of its report, "A National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace."

The board's chairman is Richard Clarke, a former member of President Clinton's National Security Council. Clarke reported that President Bush tasked the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board "to ensure that America has a dear roadmap to protect a part of its infrastructure so essential to our way of life."

The draft was developed in collaboration with key sectors of the economy that rely on cyberspace, state, and local governments, colleges and universities, and concerned organizations, Clark said.

"Town hall meetings were held around the country, and 53 clusters of key questions were published to spark public debate. But even more input is needed," said Clarke.

"This unique partnership and process is necessary, because the majority of the country is cyber resources are controlled by entities outside of government. Eight the strategy to work, it must be a plan to which a broad cross-section of the country is committed," he said.

Eight more town hall meetings are scheduled around the country to further solicit and receive feedback. The report can be read at http://wwwwhitehouse.gov/pcipb/.

Eisenhower Would Have Been 'Appalled'

President Dwight D. Eisenhower would have been appalled at how the homeland security argument has turned into a partisan debate, said David Gergen, a political analyst who was an advisor to four presidents. Most recently, discussions about the creation of a homeland security department stalled because of party disagreements about giving civil service protection to agency employees.

"As a result of 9/11, the message from the public is that they don't want partisanship," said Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif, chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

"These homeland security employees will not be working at Health and Human Services or the Social Security Administration. They should be treated as national security employees, with a different set of civil service rules. That is such an obvious way out of this impasse," Gergen said.

Air Guard a 'Natural' for Homeland Defense

Homeland defense "is really a natural for the Guard," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Daniel James III, the new director of the Air National Guard. "We have been doing it since our inception, over 360 years ago, and now we continue to do that," he told reporters at a breakfast meeting.

Initially, James emphasized, the National Guard was intended as a crisis response force. "[They] stepped forward and helped stabilize the situation until the active force could be put into the theater."

However, James said that the Guard should be careful about becoming 100 percent vested in homeland security, because that might typecast the service. James hopes to prevent the service from being "relegated to a second-class force ... or a `do-only-one-thing-well' force," he said.

"We've become the `always-say-yes' kind of force," he said. James said the secretary of the Air Force is looking at ways to change that, "because he feels it is important that there are certain times when we need to say 'no' to a certain tasking."

Identifying 'Sources' of Fanaticism

The Western world's values and judgments about economic development contrast sharply with the Muslim world, which "literally decayed after the 12th century," due to rigid political systems, said Douglas North, a Washington University constitutional economist and Nobel Prize winner. …

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