From: "Total International Terrorist Attacks"
Understanding National Security
National security is not just about terrorism. In truth, it is about all the major issue sectors including: Economy, Education, Energy, Environment, Healthcare, and Political Reform. All these things, when manage sensibly, contribute to our national security. Of course, when we discuss security, we are usually talking about our military capability and current threat assessments as well as trends. reports such as the Quadrennial Defense Review produced by the Pentagon round out all the relevant confluence issues:
Protecting the Nation
The threat of global terrorism, the situation in Iraq and Iran have been at the forefront of the media of late. But other national security issues exist and we must continue to pay attention. Brinkmanship around the world is expected. Keeping the balance of power in line with the composition of wisdom in a fast changing world requires strength, courage and finesse. At the same time, global warming has entered the field of national security as a factor. As regions become challenged by food and water shortages, we can expect a rise in regional conflicts that could have international ramifications. This also brings the issue of immigration to the forefront as countries may have more and more reason to secure their own borders.
National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) 2010
Threat Assessment and Politics
We need to be wary of how politicians might influence policy to favor a political view or public perception. The main goal of intelligence is accuracy and relevance. Anything else reduces our ability to see reality clearly in order to formulate good short and long term policy. As an example of how politicians can manipulate what you see let us examine how the recent Bush administration adjusted how numbers were reported making things look less threatening. This may have been an attempt to show the public that things were better than a more accurate assessment would indicate:
As of 2004/5 the measurement of Terrorism Incidents was redefined.
To: "Total Significant International Terrorist Attacks"
This lowered the reported number of incidents reported.
The George W. Bush administration reported:
Total Significant International Terrorist Attacks (2004)
- 651 Incidents (Attacks)
- 1,907 Dead
Here is the data in standard format:
Total (2004) - including all data that was not categorized as significant:
- 31,70 Incidents (Attacks)
- 7,690 Fatalities
- 18,835 Injuries
- 6,086 Hostages
- 32,611 Victims
New data can be found at the Worldwide Incidents Tracking System web site: http://wits.nctc.gov/
Examining the Wisdom
It is reasonable to assume that we can not spend $300 billion, or a trillion, dollars every time terrorists spend $500,000 on an attack. We will have to work smarter than that.
The link below at the U. S. National Counterterrorism Center shows "Total International Terrorist Attacks".
Communication is Key
Addressing current and developing threats and considering our intel strength as well as our ability to communicate our proper intentions to people around the world is primary.
Actions speak louder than words. Our actions should match our intended message. Justice and peace should be paramount. Peace for all peoples in all nations, as this is now what is required in order to enhance and protect the national security of America.
For those that would do harm to freedom and individual human rights, we must continue to protect against. The balance of power has never been easy or perfect. Keeping human rights at the forefront of our argument can keep the focus on the prize, that justice may bring greater peace to all nations and significantly enhance national security.
Orientation to current and future needs is required to maintain relevant policy.
Addressing the situation at hand: While all nations work to gain position to strengthen their own economy and security, we must consider policies that have caused rifts that reduce our own ability to maintain strength. Ask any general or admiral: Having the most powerful military is not the best advantage when you get boots on the ground, if the people of the nation you are in do not support the effort. This is why we hear so much about hearts and minds. In all cases, for those that support democracy and individual human rights, we should do our utmost to achieve such ends.
The fight is on two fronts. One is to address the immediate threat of terrorism. The second is the means and methods that can lead to alleviating the stressors that cause terrorism and dictatorships. These two paths must be walked with reason and consideration to achieve the goal of greater peace.
Common sense may not seem to exist everywhere, but in our nation and in the world we must continue to raise it to a level where reason becomes a part of our daily lives. We must also realize that what is common sense in America is not the same as common sense elsewhere in the world. If you lived in a nation where militias rule the day your common sense would shift to primary needs. This must be a part of our consideration if we are to address long term solutions.
Building the bridges of communication necessary to alleviate the stressors that exist between peoples, cultures, regions and nations in order to reduce the likelihood of conflict; Promote that which we, as a people, have in common around the world; examine our own perspectives and recognize needs to be addressed that are key to bringing people together rather than furthering the rift between peoples and nations.