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