Research Report


Richard Weitz Editor
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2012
Pages: 1026
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. vii-x)

    Our current national security system is more than 60 years old, inaugurated by the Truman administration and adjusted only periodically and incrementally ever since. Designed for a world in which the primary threat was nuclear war between the two superpowers, in today’s rapidly changing global security environment the structures and processes of the national security apparatus have become more than antiquated: they are dangerous. Though talented men and women work tirelessly to keep America safe, they struggle within a system that inconsistently supports, obstructs, and even undermines their efforts.

    The increasingly interlinked challenges of to­day-from global jihad to global warming...

  2. (pp. 1-20)
    Richard Weitz

    The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public interest organization working to revitalize the American government by transforming the national security system. Since the current national security system was developed in 1947, the world has changed. The PNSR’s sole focus is to help the government transition its national security system to this new world. We need an institution that looks at opportunities as much as threats, plays to America’s strengths, preserves its national values, and helps fulfill its promise to its people and the world as a leading force for good.

    Funded and supported by Congress,...

  3. Part I: Organizing the National Security Apparatus
    • (pp. 23-86)
      Aaron Mannes

      The Clinton administration’s Russia policy was innovative in two major ways. First, at a level unprecedented in American history, it actively sought to foster economic and political liberalization1 as a tool to advance American security interests. Second, it specifically empowered a Vice President (VP), Al Gore, to play a leading foreign policy role, in this case through the Bi-National Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, which he co-chaired with the Russian Prime Minister.2 These commissions, which became known by the names of their co-chairs (initially the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission, or GCC), were an attempt to establish a stronger and more systematic...

    • (pp. 87-148)
      Alex Douville

      In 1979, when revolutions forced two American allies, Iranian Shah Mohammed Riza Pahlavi and Nicaraguan President General Anastasio Somoza Debayle, from power, few could have predicted that these events would set in motion a breakdown of the U.S. national security apparatus. Yet, after the Shah was replaced by an Islamic theocracy under Ayatollah Khomeini, and the leftist Sandinistas succeeded Somoza, that is exactly what happened. In just a few short years, frustrations in foreign policymaking led the Ronald Reagan administration to bypass legitimate national security decisionmaking and implementation bodies to conduct covert operations in Iran and Nicaragua, resulting in what...

  4. Part II: Mitigating and Managing Unconventional Threats
    • (pp. 151-238)
      Al Mauroni

      The U.S. Government (USG) has recognized the possibility of a domestic chemical or biological (CB) terrorist incident since the 1970s, but only after the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo Tokyo subway attack did the national security apparatus earnestly focus efforts on the challenge of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism.1 Prior to 1995, terrorists considered or employed CBRN hazards in only a handful of incidents, and of those, none led the USG to develop specific plans and responses for the possibility of similar attacks in the future.

      After 1995, in contrast, the federal government re­leased a multitude of directives and initiatives...

    • (pp. 239-302)
      Elin Gursky and Sweta Batni

      The 2007 Andrew Speaker case of highly drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) created a sobering awareness of the fault lines in strategy and policy necessary to contain the global spread of an infectious disease. When Speaker boarded a plane bound for Europe, he left in his wake numerous state, local, and federal officials—health, homeland security, and transportation—bereft of abilities to cross-communicate, garner consensus, and act decisively to resolve the situation without sowing confusion and international criticism. This chapter summarizes the events and facts associated with the Speaker case, recalls the actions taken by key agencies, and offers an evaluation of...

    • (pp. 303-374)
      Richard J. Chasdi

      On March 8, 1985, a car full of explosives detonated in the Bir al-‘Abd quarter of Beirut, Lebanon, close to the apartment building where Ayatollah Mohammed Hussayn Fadlallah, the “spiritual guide” of Hezbollah, lived. That car bomb killed more than 80 people and injured another 200; however, Fadlallah escaped the bloodletting unharmed. While this counterterror assault was carried out by “local operatives” recruited by the Lebanese intelligence agency, G-2, it happened within the continuously evolving framework of an American “preemption” counterterror program that took shape within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after the U.S. Embassy annex building in West Beirut...

  5. Part III Dealing with the New World Disorder
    • (pp. 377-438)
      Rozlyn C. Engel

      Like conflicts of a more direct and physical nature, the forces of international financial crisis can inflict real damage on societies, contributing to uncertainty, instability, and disruption.1 Unlike more traditional conflicts, however, there is no enemy, no one state or nonstate actor to repel or to contain in an international financial crisis. In its Mapping the Global Future (a report from its 2020 Project), the National Intelligence Council identifies the management and containment of financial crises as a key uncertainty for the future. Furthermore, the current global economic crisis serves as a reminder of how quickly the deep fear and...

    • (pp. 439-542)
      Dylan Lee Lehrke

      During the 1994 Rwanda genocide, killers with machetes moved more rapidly and with greater unity of effort than did the U.S. national security system. Despite successive regional crises and ample warning that acts of genocide were likely in the country, Washington was unprepared. Once the genocide began on April 6, the United States and the United Nations (UN) stood by as the highly organized Interahamwe militias and the Hutu Power movement killed an estimated 800,000 people in 100 days.1 According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, Leave None to Tell the Story: “By appropriating the well-established hierarchies of the...

    • (pp. 543-642)
      Nicholas J. Cull and Juliana Geran Pilon

      The transfer of the United States Information Agency (USIA) to the Department of State (DoS) reorganized the conduct of public diplomacy and strategic communication throughout the U.S. Government (USG) in response to the end of the Cold War. Yet, since 1999, when this transition took effect, there has been little interagency coordination of this increasingly important component of foreign policy. Given this outcome, and coupled with other shortcomings of U.S. public diplomacy over the past 12 years, it is important to examine the assimilation of USIA by DoS in order to ascertain future lessons for interagency organization and public diplomacy...

  6. Part IV Leveraging and Supporting Allies
    • (pp. 645-738)
      Michael B. Kraft and Celina B. Realuyo

      International collaboration in intelligence, operating techniques, and in the legal and law enforcement arenas is essential to counter the transnational nature of the terrorist threat to the United States. However, effective interagency coordination has also been important to the U.S. Government’s attempts to defeat terrorism unilaterally, bilaterally, and multilaterally. In preventing duplication of effort and ensuring an adequate flow of information among various agencies, multiagency cooperation is absolutely necessary to successfully address terrorism at the international and domestic levels. Closer international and interagency cooperation have been objectives in U.S. counterterrorism (CT) policy for decades.

      The U.S. Government’s counterterrorism foreign assistance...

    • (pp. 739-832)
      Richard Weitz

      The East Timor case is important to the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR), because it presents an example of successful international peacekeeping, which was achieved with a minimal commitment of American assets. In fact, analysts often cite the 1999 U.S.-Australian cooperative intervention in East Timor as a model of how the United States can work with regional powers to manage major security issues without dispatching a large American military contingent. The importance of Australian leadership and other favorable factors should not be underestimated when considering how far to generalize the lessons of East Timor. Nonetheless, the case could prove...

    • (pp. 833-912)
      Christine R. Gilbert

      In the mid- to late-1950s, the Eisenhower administration undertook a concerted effort to make King Saud bin Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia an outstanding leader in the Middle East and a counterbalance to Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. The endeavor constituted one strand of a complicated regional policy at a time when the U.S. national security apparatus first began comprehensive engagement in the Middle East. An analysis of the U.S. Government’s (USG) promotion of King Saud, therefore, provides lessons on interagency policy development and execution in an important theater at a critical time. Ultimately, it affirms that the interagency system...

    • (pp. 913-962)
      Richard Weitz

      The case studies in this volume confirm the conclusions of other Project on National Security Report (PNSR) analyses that the performance of the U.S. national security apparatus is inconsistent. Although some cases illustrate relatively clear, integrated strategy development; unified policy implementation; and coherent tactical planning, coordination, and execution; others depict flawed, divided, contradictory, and sometimes nonexistent strategy promulgation and enactment. Similarly, the U.S. national security system can provide resources efficiently, but it also can do so in an inadequate and untimely manner. Flawed responses recur in issue areas as diverse as biodefense, public diplomacy, and military intervention. They also occurred...