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This Week in Defense News – National Security Infrastructure Reforms

November 29, 2009 in Video by admin

James Locher appears on This Week in Defense News with Vago Muradian to discuss National Security Infrastructure Reforms on November 29, 2009.

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PNSR op-eds on World Politics Review

November 23, 2009 in News by admin

Last week, PNSR was afforded a great opportunity by World Politics Review, a forum we hold in high regard for its writers’ insight and depth of analysis of important issues. WPR hosted three op-eds authored by PNSR President and CEO, James R. Locher III, adapted from PNSR’s recently released report, Turning Ideas Into Action. Each piece focused on a significant initiative discussed or recommendation made in TIIA, and explained their objective.

The first in the series focused on PNSR’s call for a Next Generation State Department, one that “possesses [and] exercises sufficient authority to manage the full range of international civilian programs effectively:”

The second explains the need for empowered interagency teams. In an era of “czars,” the president still runs high-risk with this unchecked, informal set up, and institutionalization of stand-up issue teams would be beneficial to the way national security is managed:

The third op-ed deals with the need of improvement to high-level, national security strategic planning. “With the National Security Staff consumed with day-to-day priorities, and without comprehensive strategies for the medium- and long-term timeframe in place, planning and budgeting inevitably lack coordination and coherence,” Locher said.

Please follow the links to read each op-ed at World Politics Review, and download the whole Turning Ideas Into Action report here. Also, please share your thoughts in the comments section of our blog, or by emailing

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PNSR Releases Report on the Status of Reform of U.S. National Security

October 27, 2009 in News, Report by admin

The latest report from the Project on National Security Reform, Turning Ideas in Action, gauges progress in national security reform in the Executive Branch and Congress, reiterates and refines recommendations from PNSR’s previous report, Forging a New Shield, and outlines specific next steps that must be taken by the government to implement systemic transformation.

Download executive summary here.

Findings and messages:

• Reform is underway. Progress is being made toward a national security system able to respond more effectively to 21st-Century challenges and opportunities. The vision is a collaborative, agile, and innovative national security system that horizontally and vertically integrates all elements of national power.

• President Obama supports national security reform. He and others in the administration have spoken of the complex challenges facing the United States and the need for change. Initial steps have been taken, but the system remains stove piped rather than an integrated, horizontal interagency collaboration. The system lacks unity of purpose and strategic direction, partially because strategy and resources are not aligned. Further, all elements of national power are not routinely considered in decisions and strategies. Also of note: Congress lacks the proper structure to exercise oversight of interagency activities.

• Rhetoric and initial steps are not enough. It’s time to stop talking and start doing national security reform. The broken system must be fixed. We cannot afford to handle the next crisis poorly, nor be unprepared for it.

• Specific steps can be taken now on the path to reform by the President and other key players. They are listed in the executive summary and conclusion of Turning Ideas Into Action.

• Reform will take sustained effort and leadership. It is time for champions to step forward and push it to the next level. PNSR stands ready to assist, as it continues to work on implementation with stakeholders across the whole reform front.

Since release last fall of its seminal report on national security reform, Forging a New Shield, PNSR has been working on the implementation phase.

Specific initiatives include:

• Redesign of the National Security staff in order to facilitate end-to-end management of interagency processes

• Development of the interagency system, especially human capital system and information sharing

• Next Generation State – reform of the State Department structure and processes

• Focus on empowered interagency teams, such as the Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning of the National Counterterrorism Center

• National Preparedness System to strengthen integrated intergovernmental homeland security planning

Turning Ideas Into Action is the statement of what PNSR hopes to achieve in reforming the United States’ critically important, yet lumbering and outdated, national security system. National security reform affects every citizen of the United States—the necessary changes may be esoteric and bureaucratic in nature, but the end result is a more effective government for a safer America.

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Army Vice Chief of Staff Notes PNSR Efforts at National Security Reform

October 22, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON — In a speech on the changed nature of warfare, Army Vice Chief of Staff, General Peter Chiarelli, singled out the Project on National Security Reform’s work on comprehensive reform across the interagency. Addressing the annual interagency symposium sponsored jointly by National Defense University and the Army Combined Arms Center last week, General Chiarelli said that there has been no real progress over the past five years in reforming the interagency to meet the demands of the new strategic environment. However, he noted that work on the issue done by PNSR could stand up to naysayers.

General Chiarelli said that PNSR’s recommendations are authoritative because of the experience of project leader Jim Locher. Locher was a principal architect of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 that modernized the military along joint lines. The Army Vice Chief of Staff said that PNSR had prepared a new report for the President recommending what can and should be done to achieve needed reform in the days ahead.

On the subject of the military, Chiarelli said that his experience as a former commander in Iraq had taught him that, “Warfare – as we know it- has changed forever. The new nature of warfare requires that soldiers today be versed and agile enough to operate across the continuum – from high intensity conflict or major combat operations to counterinsurgency, peacekeeping, and humanitarian efforts. Simply put, every soldier must be a utility player.”

General Chiarelli called on Americans to work together–soldiers, government civilians, the NGO community, contractors and volunteers–to maximize the full measure of the elements of national power. He said the security and stability of the nation and world depend on it.

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James R. Locher III at the New America Foundation

September 28, 2009 in Video by admin

PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III talks about national security reform at the New America Foundation in 2009.

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Former Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell to Join Guiding Coalition of the Project on National Security Reform

September 24, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON — PNSR is pleased to welcome to its Guiding Coalition, former Director of National Intelligence, Mr. John M. “Mike” McConnell. McConnell is currently Senior Vice President at Booz Allen and a member of the firm’s leadership team.

Mr. McConnell’s distinguished career includes having served as Director of National Intelligence, Director of the National Security Agency, and as an intelligence officer for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense.

PNSR’s Guiding Coalition is comprised of former senior federal officials and others with extensive national security experience. The bipartisan group is helping to communicate to the government, policy community and public the urgency of national security reform and the findings of PNSR’s report, Forging a New Shield.

In welcoming Mr. McConnell, PNSR Executive Director James R. Locher III said, “Mike’s keen intellect, distinguished career and understanding of organizational issues make him a valuable addition to the Guiding Coalition. I am very pleased to have him on board as PNSR works towards implementation of its recommendations for reforming national security.”

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PNSR Commemorates 9/11 With a Renewed Call for Systemic Reform

September 11, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON — Today PNSR commemorates the eighth anniversary of the most devastating attack on the United States since Pearl Harbor. We remember the victims and their families, and honor the heroism of the fire fighters, police officers, emergency workers and everyday Americans who rushed to help those in need after the unprecedented attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Over the past eight years, the United States has reacted to the tragedy by making progress towards strengthening our nation’s security. In 2007, with bipartisan support, Congress enacted legislation to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, in both its domestic and foreign-policy dimensions. By so doing, Congress addressed major vulnerabilities in the system and improved our homeland security across the board. But there is much more work to be done.

It is widely understood that the security environment of the 21st century differs significantly from that which the national security system was created to address following World War II. Regrettably, the system is still organized to combat the last challenge, not those that lie before it. Despite the shock of 9/11, we have failed to keep pace with the rapidity and scope of change in the world. While the U.S. government has made incremental modifications, it has failed to produce an integrated, agile, and anticipatory system that can adequately meet today’s challenges.

One of the basic problems that led to 9/11 and plagues us still is that the system does not know what it knows. Information is not shared between agencies, knowledge is neither captured nor leveraged, and collaboration across the interagency is close to impossible. For example, according to the 9/11 Commission report, “NSA information that would have helped identify Nawaf Al Hamzi [one of the hijackers of the plane flown into the Pentagon] in January 2000” was not properly shared with relevant agencies. Although the information was accessible, someone would have had to ask for it first before it could have been widely disseminated. Quoting the report again, “Agencies uphold a ‘need-to-know’ culture of information protection rather than promoting a ‘need-to-share’ culture of integration.” Eight years after the attacks and five since the landmark report was published, this still remains the case.

These problems are more a reflection of prevailing mindsets and outdated processes than technological challenges. The technology exists in the private-sector; government needs to adapt that technology to its needs, and shift to the information-sharing culture that current generation technology enables. PNSR is currently involved in creating an on-line, real-time, national security collaboration environment that will be the foundation for making information-sharing a reality.

Improved information sharing is part of the bold, carefully crafted plan of comprehensive reform the United States needs in order to institute a national security system that can manage and overcome the challenges of our time. In its 2008 report, Forging a New Shield, PNSR laid out recommendations that begin to resolve the problems affecting the current system. If implemented, PNSR’s recommendations would constitute the most far-reaching governmental design innovation in national security since the passage of the National Security Act in 1947. PNSR has a singular focus: to be a valuable resource for holistic reform of the national security system so that the nation can successfully address 21st-century challenges and opportunities.

Perhaps the victims of that horrific day in 2001 can best be honored by transforming the system to ensure such an event never occurs again. PNSR stands ready to help.

Michael Drohan
(703) 387-7608 (o)
(703) 470-3202 (c)

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Matching Policy and Resources: A PNSR Issue Brief. Available for download

August 27, 2009 in News, Report by admin

As PNSR’s report, Forging a New Shield, states, the U.S. national security system must improve at “linking resources to goals through national security mission-based analysis and budgeting.” As part of the organization’s ongoing analysis, PNSR’s team of resource experts, led by Michael Leonard and Steve Johnson, have submitted an issue brief.

You can download the brief here

From the brief:

Starting in the early 1990s, and especially since 2001, the rising complexity of potential threats and the importance of interagency cooperation in accomplishing national security missions have revealed systemic weaknesses. Some of the more serious such problems are related to national strategy development and aligning resources with strategy, which implies cross-agency resource allocation.

Resource reform is critical if we want our national security system to address complex security threats and major emergencies effectively. National security priorities and the budget should be linked so that policymakers can make decisions across the whole of the national security system. Ultimately, relevant portions of individual agency budget requests should be integrated into a national security budget display that is based on high-level strategy and missions.

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Former OMB Director Jim Nussle Joins PNSR’s Guiding Coalition

August 21, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON — PNSR is pleased to welcome Jim Nussle, former director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to the project’s Guiding Coalition. Mr. Nussle has had a distinguished public service career, specializing in budgetary issues.

Mr. Nussle served as Director of OMB from September 2007 through January 2009, overseeing a broad portfolio of presidential initiatives, from the chief executive’s fiscal agenda to policy decisions. In this capacity, he served in the National Security Council, Homeland Security Council, National Economic Council, and National Domestic Policy Council.

Prior to leading OMB, Mr. Nussle represented Iowa’s 1st district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007. As a member of Congress, he served on the Ways and Means, Agriculture, Banking, and Budget Committees. Mr. Nussle chaired the Budget Committee for three successive terms starting in 2001.

After leaving government, Mr. Nussle founded The Nussle Group, a government relations and strategic consulting firm based in Alexandria, Virginia.

“I am very pleased to welcome Jim to the Guiding Coalition of the Project on National Security Reform,” PNSR CEO and President James R. Locher III said. “His knowledge and expertise of budgetary issues, in both the legislative and executive branches, are important assets to PNSR. His advice will be invaluable as PNSR refines its recommendations on improving the link between resource allocation and strategic objectives.”

Frances Hardin
(703) 387-7613 (o)
(202) 640-9387(c)

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Networking Expert Dale Pfeifer Joins PNSR

August 17, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON– PNSR is pleased to welcome Dale Pfeifer as Director of Network Development. Ms. Pfeifer brings to PNSR a wealth of experience in this area, as well as in the fields of leadership research and growth.

Prior to joining PNSR, Ms. Pfeifer was Deputy Director of Leadership Programs and Global Networks at the EastWest Institute, based in New York. At EWI, she designed, built and managed the Global Leadership Consortium, a network of top security think tanks. She also had overall supervision of EWI program initiatives.

From 2005 to 2008, Ms. Pfeifer was Acting Director and Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Leadership at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. In that position, she provided strategic leadership and oversight of the center’s research program with a focus on cross-cultural, inter-group and global leadership.

Ms. Pfeifer holds an MS in Management and a post-graduate diploma in Business Administration, both from Massey University, New Zealand.

In announcing Ms. Pfeifer’s arrival at PNSR, President and CEO James R. Locher said, “Dale’s training and experience in networking development and leadership, combined with her background in international affairs, make her a valuable addition to PNSR. I am pleased to have her join PNSR as we work towards implementation of our recommendations.”