Determining the capacity to secure America
National security is a consumer product
To what level do American citizens expect their nation to be secured?
I submit that the correct answer is 100%.
What happens when it is not secured to that level?
In 1812, America was attacked by the British.
“On August 24, 1814, led by General Robert Ross, a British force occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following the American defeat at the Battle of Bladensburg. The facilities of the U.S. government, including the White Houseand U.S. Capitol, were largely destroyed, though strict discipline and the British commander's orders to burn only public buildings are credited with preserving the city's private buildings. This has been the only time since the Revolutionary War that a foreign power has captured and occupied the United States capital.”
When security failed America’s largest city, and the HQ for the Department of Defense were attacked by terrorists.
“The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/11[nb 1]) were a series of four coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. areas on September 11, 2001. On that Tuesday morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets.”
American citizens expect their nation to be secured against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That is one of the primary purposes of government under the U.S. Constitution.
National security is accomplished by both economic and military policies and strategy. If the economy fails, then there may be insufficient resources to provide for the common defense.
“Providing for the common defense” is a primary activity of government that is accomplished by multiple departments working collaboratively at the direction of the President and in close coordination with Congress. The security of the nation becomes vulnerable when collaboration and coordination breakdown.
Under today’s government, one has every reason to feel insecure:
1. Economic performance is deficient to satisfy the nation’s needs.
2. Government, Congress and the President, are performing in a dysfunctional manner.
3. Plans, programs, and budgets are in a state of reconciling with available resources that are known to be declining.
The reason that I characterize “national security” as a consumer product is because resources are consumed to provide a 100% secure outcome from which every citizen benefits and where every day of security is taken for granted as being a necessity. We may consume it without being aware.
If national security is provided in excess, the chances are we would not know it when the economy is robust. When the economy is deficient and if national security is reduced too far, then the effects may be realized as breaches in security resulting in unintended disasters.
The place to begin is estimating our capacity for national security and comparing that with known and anticipated threats and reconciling that with legacy obligations.
Outcomes will include:
1. Level of response
2. Defense policy and guidance
As well as performance metrics associated with security outcomes such as confidence levels.
All of this will result in sizing and mapping brands of military service and defense allocations as mechanisms for providing for the common defense.
“Defense Secretary Panetta faces tough choices on national security in 2012
By Walter Pincus, Published: January 2
When it comes to national security issues in 2012, the person who faces the toughest choices is Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.
Look at what’s on his plate: the Pentagon’s budget crunch, the war in Afghanistan, the postwar period in Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israeli issues, U.S.-Pakistan relations, China’s growing military and the biggest challenge of all — Congress.
(Omar Sobhani/REUTERS) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has a lot on his plate: the Pentagon’s budget crunch, the war in Afghanistan, the postwar period in Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israeli issues, U.S.-Pakistan relations, China’s growing military and the biggest challenge of all — Congress
Hovering over him like a cloud is the presidential campaign. A chorus of Republican candidates, as Mitt Romney already has done, will almost certainly take issue with the Obama administration’s defense policies and spending levels. While the economy will be central to the campaign debate, defense will be a close second.
The budget crunch goes far beyond numbers. This week, the Pentagon will produce a revised defense strategy that will provide the basis for the fiscal 2013 Defense Department budget. The numbers themselves will come later this month as part of President Obama’s budget and will reflect the second year of a 10-year plan to cut $489 billion in defense spending, made in response to August’s Budget Control Act.
It remains to be seen what further defense reductions will be made as Congress wrestles with the “sequestration” requirement in the August statute — across-the-board budget cuts of more than $1 trillion over 10 years, half of which are to come from national security spending. These cuts were triggered by the failure last fall of the congressional “supercommittee” to come up with a deficit-reduction plan.
In a Nov. 14 letter to Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.),Panetta wrote that the Budget Control Act cuts “are difficult and will require us to take some risks, but they are manageable.” Further cuts under sequestration, he said, “would tie [the Defense Department’s] hands.” For instance, he said that across-the-board reductions would have to be applied equally to major construction programs, rendering “most of our ship and construction projects ‘unexecutable’ — you cannot buy three quarters of a ship or a building — and seriously damage our modernization efforts.”
Panetta has proposed that, if additional cuts are required, the Pentagon be allowed to pick and choose where they are made and not have to apply them across the board.
To reach the initial $489 billion in cuts, Panetta will have to defend before Congress the expected reductions in personnel for fiscal 2013, as well as the scaling back or ending of some weapons programs. All of these have their constituents inside and outside government — and especially on Capitol Hill.
How many F-35s do you buy; should you choose manned or unmanned weapons systems; how many nuclear supercarriers do you need; do you modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad — strategic bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and strategic submarines? While dealing with these questions, Panetta must also protect money for operations, maintenance, and research and development, the favorite areas for congressional budget cutters.”