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PNSR Awarded Contract to Study Interagency National Security Professionals

August 4, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of the Secretary of Defense has awarded a contract to the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) to study and propose a system for the career development and management of interagency national security professionals. This study fulfills a requirement prescribed in section 1054 of the FY2010 National Defense Authorization Act.

The study is to support efforts to improve the quality of interactions among agencies engaged in national security and increase their overall interoperability — especially in times of national crisis from natural disasters or national security threats.

PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III stated, “This is an important study for advancing national security reform. Interagency national security professional staff with the right skills and capacity to deal effectively with the strategic challenges of the 21st century are crucial. The way the system manages national security professionals greatly affects their career choices, including their willingness to work across departmental boundaries.”

PNSR will study current efforts at developing interagency national security professionals, professional development, coordination, incentives for collaboration, potential funding mechanisms, and the feasibility of integrating and coordinating military, state and local personnel in a national security professional development system. PNSR will coordinate its work with interagency representatives, the Office of Personnel Management, National Security Staff, and departments and agencies.

PNSR will bring a unique and fresh approach to the problem, applying the lessons of existing efforts, broad knowledge of the interagency environment, and a wealth of talent with experience throughout and beyond the government. Expert panels consisting of former officials who have led large-scale government reforms will advise the study.

In this study, PNSR will partner with PRTM, a leading management consulting firm that specializes in operational transformation. PRTM brings experience from the commercial and federal government sectors in performance management, strategic planning, and human capital.

For further comment please contact:
Project on National Security Reform
(646) 662-4092


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PNSR Calls for Action on Bold Changes Urged by QDR Independent Panel Study

July 29, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Independent Panel, a group of distinguished Americans with deep experience and expertise in the national security arena that includes Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) Guiding Coalition member John Nagl, offered a bold endorsement of national security reform in its report, released July 29. After an intense evaluation of the QDR with a view to the long term, the Panel called for sweeping reforms in the national security system. PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III said, “I am heartened by the growing chorus for national security reform, especially coming from this high-level group representing the best of the national security establishment.”

The Report stated,”[T]he Panel notes with extreme concern that our current federal government structures – both executive and legislative, and in particular those related to security – were fashioned in the 1940s and they work at best imperfectly today… A new approach is needed.”

The Panel’s recommendations, similar to PNSR’s, included improving integration through legislation, providing education and incentives for personnel to work in “whole of government” assignments, creating a unified national security budget, establishing interagency teams, and instituting a new National Security Strategic Planning Process. The Panel also called for enhanced civilian “whole of government” capacity and reform of international security assistance.

The Panel’s recommendations are the second articulation of the need for organizational reform in recent months. The Obama administration’s National Security Strategy, released in May, gave prominent attention to the requirement for dramatic changes to national security institutions.

The Report used strong words to convey its findings: “The issues raised in the body of this Report are sufficiently serious that we believe an explicit warning is appropriate… The potential consequences for the United States of a ‘business as usual’ attitude towards the concerns in this Report are not acceptable.”

Locher said, “Reaching the kind of system envisioned by the QDR Independent Panel will be a difficult process taking years. The most logical starting points are a roadmap for change that starts with pilot projects and expands them, and an implementation plan for the goals laid out in this president’s National Security Strategy. The Independent Panel has issued a powerful call to action, and as always, PNSR is ready to assist.”


Project on National Security Reform
(202) 390-0559


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PNSR Experts Comment on the Washington Post’s

July 22, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – Three Project on National Security Reform experts released the following statements on the Washington Post’s “Top Secret America” series:

James R. Locher II, President and CEO:
“It is not surprising that serious deficiencies and disconnects have been discovered in the intelligence community. The authority of the Director of National Intelligence is not commensurate with the position’s vast responsibilities and management challenges. The sixteen intelligence agencies remain too separate and independent to produce the unity of effort today’s intelligence work demands. The same problems plague the entire national security system, where the integrating mechanisms – the NSC and HSC systems – are institutionally weak compared to the power and influence of the departments and agencies. As long as we have antiquated organizational arrangements at the national and intelligence-community levels that are incapable of effectively dealing with the complexity and speed of today’s security environment, we are going to be disappointed, if not shocked, by the results.”

James M. Loy, Guiding Coalition:
“The recent series of articles in the Washington Post dubbed “Top Secret America” offers yet another example of the enormous difficulty we’re having adjusting to the challenges we must handle in post-9/11 world. The complexity index of the new security environment has been multiplied by a factor of some number still being determined. Cold War tools are not up to the task. The vertical silos of older times often were sufficient to protect America’s interests. Today’s challenges, however, demand a horizontal approach which is foreign to many but must be learned quickly. The definition of national security then was diplomacy, defense, and intelligence. Today’s challenges demand attention from experts in Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Treasury, just to name a few. Today’s challenges demand strategy development and planning guidance so as to efficiently protect our nation. We have to align resources to those strategy elements. We have to become good at multiple-node interagency-team alignments, and we must produce the skill sets in our leaders that emphasize collaboration, agility, and adaptability. The Post articles suggest we have a long way to go in achieving those goals and that we may be wasting valuable resources in and out of government. If you read the new National Security Strategy, you come to the same conclusion. It’s time to quit writing papers and talking. It’s time to get at the hard work of making the changes to our national security apparatus that will bring it into the 21st Century.”

Steven Trevino, Senior Advisor:
“The recent exposé on the US Intelligence Community illustrates some of the deep, systemic flaws in the overall U.S. National Security system. Assessing the evolution of the U.S. National Security system since 1947 through the various adjustments to address the shifting, changing nature of the threats and challenges we face also helps us to understand the how the system became what it is today. The common thread in any astute analysis points to a prevailing sub-optimization of how nation state resources are applied in a strategically integrated fashion to achieve predetermined outcomes. We lack a coherent strategic planning and implementation framework with which to guide the methodical engagement of increasingly limited resources to achieve strategically reasoned outcomes that take into account increasing complexity and accelerating change across the spectrum of vital national interests. The recently released National Security Strategy Report reflects a bold well reasoned view of America’s fast changing role in the world and how we as a nation can fulfill a strategic purpose that makes rational sense in light of growing resource constraints. What is missing in the Roadmap, Measures and Metrics as aspects of a comprehensive implementation plan that can align vision, purpose, and goals with resources of all kinds. This approach to an NSS strategic implementation plan can also serve as a means by which to better align our political and policy divisions and optimize the program management capabilities by the vast legion of contractors and dedicated government workers referenced in the Washington Post article. Adopting such an audacious approach will call for extraordinary leadership and very hard choices in how we as a struggling nation allocate our still considerable vast resources. How we commit to an implementation plan of this nature will serve as a strong indicator of how we will emerge in the world of the next decade.”

The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) is a nonpartisan organization working to modernize and improve the United States’ national security system to better protect the American people against 21st century dangers.

For further comment please contact:

Project on National Security Reform
(646) 662-4092


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PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III Testifies Before House Armed Services Committee

June 9, 2010 in News, Video by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III testified today before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee in a hearing on “Interagency National Security Reform: Pragmatic Steps Towards a More Integrated Future.” In his testimony, Locher presented ten pragmatic near-term steps that can be taken to move forward on creating a more effective and functional interagency national security system (below).

Also appearing before the committee were: Dr. Gordon Adams, Distinguished Fellow, Henry L. Stimson Center; Dr. James R. Thompson, Associate Professor of Public Administration, University of Illinois – Chicago; and Mr. John Pendleton, Director of Force Structure and Planning Issues for the Defense Capabilities and Management Team, U.S. Government Accountability Office.

On the potential for action, Locher told Chairman Vic Snyder (D-AR) and other subcommittee members that “there is much that can—and must—be done today. Each recommended reform step would contribute significantly to integrating and improving the overall national security system. Collectively these steps are only part of the needed national security reform, but they are synergistic, practical, doable, and necessary.”

See the oral testimony here and video here.

For further comment please contact:

Project on National Security Reform
(646) 662-4092

Pragmatic, Near-Term Steps for Consideration by the
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the
House Armed Services Committee

1. Require the president to submit an implementation plan for the organizational changes prescribed by the new National Security Strategy.

2. Require the assistant to the president for national security affairs to submit a plan for achieving the needed organizational capacity of the National Security Staff pursuant to the National Security Strategy.

3. Commission a ten-year road map for the entire national security reform agenda.

4. Require the president to conduct a Quadrennial National Security Review to establish the security goals and priorities of the United States.

5. Require the director of the Office of Management and Budget to submit illustrative, integrated budgets for two mission areas – combating terrorism and development – with the President’s Budget Request for FY2012.

6. Establish an interagency personnel system to create the proper incentives, education, and training for personnel assigned to interagency positions.

7. Establish a Center for Organizational Performance at the National Defense University or another institution that would undertake comprehensive assessments of organizational performance in the national security community.

8. Require the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to submit a plan on how they intend to improve the curricula of the military war colleges to provide an appropriate level of education on interagency affairs and national security reform.

9. Require the director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) to submit a plan for overcoming obstacles to improved performance by NCTC, especially by its Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning.

10. Hold joint hearings with a subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (maybe the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, as it aligns with this subcommittee in its oversight and investigations jurisdiction) to examine interagency issues.
a. National Security Strategy
b. Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Iraq and Afghanistan
c. Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP)
d. Strategic communications programs of departments and agencies


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President Obama’s National Security Strategy adopts the Project on National Security Reform’s key ideas

May 28, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – The new National Security Strategy includes many ideas from PNSR’s Forging a New Shield (November 2008) and Turning Ideas in Action (2009). These recommendations included broadening the scope of national security, balancing and integrating all elements of national power, updating our national security organizational capacity and processes for the 21st Century, adopting a longer view for national security, emphasizing the need for attention to the foundations of national power, aligning resources with strategy, embracing integrated whole-of-government approaches to national security missions, and promoting integration of homeland security and national security efforts to include collaboration with state, local, and tribal governments as well as nongovernmental entities and private enterprise.

PNSR comments:

• The National Security Strategy broadens the scope of national security to reflect the emerging challenges of the 21st Century and recognizes the interdependence between American competitiveness and American power in the world. PNSR Senior Advisor Nancy Bearg comments, ” The strategy greatly expands the concept of national security beyond the traditional concerns of the Defense and State Departments. Its attention to the foundations of national power – a sound fiscal policy, education, energy, science and technology, and health – is an important development, as is the emphasis of using all elements of national power.”

• PNSR Distinguished Fellow Jack LeCuyer notes: ” We have been given the substance of the new national security strategy that mirrors many PSNR recommendations. The new National Security Strategy clearly delineates what is different from the Cold War strategic environment and how our national security strategy must adapt to these changes. In so doing, the new strategy also sets forth a strong rationale for institutional reform of the national security interagency system to meet these challenges but does not reveal how the administration plans to put these ideas into practice to underwrite success.”

• In summary, PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III said, ” The National Security Strategy envisions a bold transformation of the national security system. To achieve the organizational capacity to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, the Obama administration must initiate sweeping reforms to the current antiquated system. The administration now needs to provide the details of its reform initiatives and a roadmap on how it plans to achieve a modern national security system.”

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Colonel Christopher Holshek Joins PNSR as a Senior Associate and blogs about America’s place in the 21st century

May 26, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – Colonel Christopher “Chris” Holshek, U.S. Army Reserve (Retired) , has joined the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) as a Senior Associate. PNSR will host his new blog, “Two Wheels and Two Questions,” as he rides across America on his Harley Davidson. Colonel Holshek’s blog will reflect on his experience in the Army Reserve and on America’s place in the world in the 21st century.

Colonel Holshek comes to PNSR after serving as a liaison from U.S. European Command (EUCOM) to the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he helped coordinate the Haitian earthquake relief. Colonel Holshek also served as EUCOM’s liaison to PNSR. Having served in Kosovo, Liberia, and Iraq, he possesses a wealth of experience from a career at the nexus of the three Ds: defense, diplomacy, and development.

After receiving his commission at New Mexico Military Institute, Colonel Holshek earned two Bachelor’s degrees at the George Washington University, majoring in International Affairs, German Language and Literature, and History. He earned a Master of Arts International Relations from Boston University in 1990, and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2006.

In announcing Colonel Holshek’s arrival at PNSR, President and CEO James R. Locher III said, “Chris’ experience at the frontlines of the challenges of the 21st century, managing complex groups of stakeholders, and working across boundaries, provides PNSR with a valuable new member. He can offer personal insights on the challenges of adapting our national security institutions for the future.”

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PNSR partners with PRTM Management Consultants LLC

May 11, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – PNSR is pleased to announce a new partnership with PRTM Management Consultants, LLC, the government-oriented subsidiary of PRTM Inc, a global management consulting firm based in Washington DC, that possesses special expertise in national security, high-performance management and business transformation. PRTM focuses on bridging the gap between business strategy and execution through operational strategies that help its clients achieve their desired results.

PRTM’s partnership will enable PNSR to become a center of excellence and a “living example” of best practice in action, in the domains of management and information science. A blended PNSR-PRTM team will be formed to provide best-in-class strategic problem-solving services.

To cement this relationship, PNSR is delighted to announce that Rahul Gupta, a partner with PRTM Management Consultants, LLC, has joined PNSR as a senior advisor. Rahul’s expertise lies in strategy, policy, and best practices implementation related to national security and other domains. Before joining PRTM, Rahul served in the government in several capacities in both the legislative and executive branch and with several commissions. Rahul was an Assistant Director and Senior Legislative Advisor at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), professional staff on the Congressional Joint Intelligence Inquiry on the events of 9/11, and Chief of Program Analysis for the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), Community Management Staff. He is the recipient of several GAO and DCI awards—including a GAO Meritorious Service citation. Rahul has also received official recognition for outstanding contributions and performance from several members of Congress, the NIMA Commission, and the 9/11 Intelligence Inquiry.

In welcoming Rahul and PRTM Management Consultants, LLC, PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III said, “PRTM’s track record and expertise along with Rahul’s impressive career, first-hand knowledge, and experience in the very problems we are working to solve will prove invaluable to PNSR. I am excited that they have joined our effort, and I look forward to harnessing their intellect and energy in pushing our mission forward.”

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Dr. John A. Nagl, President of the Center for a New American Security, Joins PNSR’s Guiding Coalition

April 7, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – PNSR is pleased to announce the addition to its Guiding Coalition of Dr. John A. Nagl, recognized national security strategy expert. Dr. Nagl serves as President of the Center for a New American Security and as a member of the Defense Policy Board.

Dr. Nagl is a subject matter expert in counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, national security strategy, organizational learning, and adapting U.S. military forces and operations to the changing security environment. He served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years, leading American forces, training Iraqi and Afghan units, teaching national security studies at Georgetown University and the United States Military Academy, and staffing senior leaders at the Pentagon, eventually retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Dr. Nagl earned his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam and was on the writing team that produced the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Dr. Nagl is a leading contributor of ideas in finding new approaches to confront today’s national security issues.

In welcoming Dr. Nagl, PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III said, “Dr. Nagl’s keen intellect, distinguished career, and understanding of key national security organizational issues make him a valuable addition to the Guiding Coalition. I am very pleased to have him on board as PNSR works towards reforming the national security system for the 21st Century.”

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PNSR Commends U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin’s Call for a Quadrennial National Security Review

April 1, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) has introduced a bill to require a Quadrennial National Security Review (QNSR). The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) commends this effort to establish overarching goals to create unity of purpose among departments and agencies pursuing national security objectives.

The bill (H.R. 4974) states that “the President shall, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Congress, and the heads of other appropriate departments and agencies responsible for national security, conduct a quadrennial national security review… to set forth the security goals, including long-term and short-term security goals, of the United States.”

Co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Ike Skelton (D-MO), Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Steve Rothman (D-NJ), Bill Owens (D-NY), Jane Harman (D-CA), Geoff Davis (R-KY), Mac Thornberry (R-TX), and John Carter (R-TX).

This year has seen an unprecedented number of narrower reviews, including the Quadrennial Defense Review, Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review, and Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. Congressman Langevin’s bill would integrate these efforts and finally institutionalize a whole-of-government approach to setting our national security priorities.

The bill notes that PNSR “similarly recommended that the United States needs to develop an overall strategy to provide timely resources and adequate authorities for supporting our national security goals.”

PNSR’s President and CEO, James R. Locher III, praised the bill, saying, “PNSR is pleased to see Congressman Langevin’s leadership on this issue. Production of an interagency National Security Review every four years will be a significant step along the path of national security reform. It will provide the whole government – and Congress – with a common strategy to guide planning and resource allocation across departments and agencies.”

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US National Security and Resilience Expert Steven Trevino joins Project on National Security Reform as a Senior Advisor

March 18, 2010 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC – Steven Trevino, well-known national security and resilience specialist, has joined the Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) as a Senior Advisor. Mr. Trevino brings a wealth of expertise to the PNSR team with extensive senior leadership experience in complex problem solving and integrated strategic planning, as well as risk and resilience planning in support of national and global challenges.

In welcoming Mr. Trevino, PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III said, “Steve is a valuable addition to PNSR, with a distinguished career spanning 25 years in national security and intelligence. His work with many elements of the Executive and Legislative Branches will greatly inform PNSR’s efforts to reform the national security system. PNSR is fortunate to have someone as knowledgeable and experienced as Steve contributing to our organization.”

Mr. Trevino is a former Senior Advisor to the Department of Energy on advanced technology applications in support of global problem solving and also served as a Defense Intelligence Officer and contributor to the President’s Annual Report on National Security Strategy during the Reagan Administration.

Mr. Trevino’s distinguished career most recently includes serving as the Senior Director for National Security with Keane Federal Systems, Inc., a global services firm providing IT optimization services. He leads the Keane Center for Mission Assurance and Resilience, which serves as an advisor to US government organizations with respect to enterprise-level mission assurance solutions, including strategic planning, quality assurance, performance management and independent verification & validation. Mr. Trevino previously served as a Senior Executive Advisor with Booz Allen & Hamilton providing U.S. mission assurance and global resilience solutions.

PNSR was established in 2006 as a non-profit organization to propose and implement reform of the U.S. national security system and has attracted over three hundred current and former senior officials as contributors to its programs. General James Jones, current National Security Advisor, and Admiral Dennis Blair, current Director of National Intelligence, and several other prominent members of the current administration are PNSR alumni.