National Security Affairs Fellows Present Research Seminars

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

"While the objective of homeland security is clear, the roadmap is not," said National Security Affairs Fellow Scott F. Smith, U.S. Air Force, in his seminar "A House Divided: Our Bifurcated National Security" on April 6. Following 9/11, new strategies and organizations, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the National Response Plan, were developed to enhance the domestic mission of national security, Smith pointed out. "Despite these changes," Smith said, "the nation's conceptual and operational approach lacks an embrace of a wartime mission, which limits both efficient and effective levels of security."

Smith, using Hurricane Katrina as an example, discussed the United States government's lack of preparedness in its ability to deal with a crisis. Hurricane Katrina, Smith said, exposed national plans as largely ignoring principles that have long provided a framework for the development of strategy. He believes that the fundamental problem of the government's dealing with a crisis, whether it is a natural disaster or man-made, lies with the ambiguous language and reliance on federal agency coordination as the basis of the approach.

Smith argues that homeland security should be recognized as a wartime mission and, thus, should be organized under the principles of war. The nine principles of war are (1)unity of command, (2)a clearly defined and attainable objective, (3)taking the offensive,(4) mass (concentrate desired effects at key time and place), (5)achieving maneuverability, (6)economy of force (judicious of resources), (7)surprise (action for which enemy is ill-prepared), (8)security (never ceding advantage), and (9)simplicity (streamlined organization).

"This path requires significant changes to key civilian agencies' disposition, the structure and employment of National Guard assets, and substantial reform to fully embrace an operationally minded approach to disaster preparation and response," said Smith.

Other National Security Affairs Fellows who presented seminars include Brian K. Buckles, with the U.S. Marine Corps, "Coming Ashore: The Future of Amphibious Warfare" on March 23; Jim Fanell, with the U.S. Navy, "People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN): Out from the First Island Chain?" on March 30; and Jonathan Moore, U.S. State Department, "The State Department's New Skills and New Challenges: Defining Transformational Diplomacy" on April 20.

The National Security Affairs Fellows Program allows military personnel to pursue intensive, independent research on topics relevant to their service careers.