Terrorism: The United States is Not Ready to respond to the Threat Against the Homeland   [open pdf - 1MB]

The principle threat to the United States' national security has undergone a significant change. The dissolution of the Soviet Union has shattered the global balance of power and left the United States as the world's lone superpower. The threat facing our nation has shifted from a single, definable foe to one that is much less clear. The threat facing our nation today is characterized by terms such as homeland defense, rogue state, non-state actor, and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). This modern threat is terrorism within our nation's borders. Currently, the United States is not prepared to counteract this threat. While significant attention has been paid to the terrorist threat over the past five years, our nation's strategy for dealing with this danger is still unfocused and inefficient. Today, America's strategy to defeat terrorism is contingent on the participation of several different state, local and federal agencies. Due to civil liberty concerns, the nation's most qualified agency, the Department of Defense (DoD), plays only a minor role. More importantly, the U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM), which is assigned the responsibility of providing military assistance during homeland terrorist attacks, has an equally limited role in countering the terrorist threat. To improve our ability to counter this emerging threat, the United States must re- evaluate the way in which we deal with this threat and assign assets based on capability. In particular, our nation must amend the laws, which restrict Department of Defense's participation in homeland defense so that the U.S. Joint Forces Command is allowed to play a larger role in the Crisis and Consequence Management missions.

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