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PNSR Congratulates Brigadier General James B. Smith on His Selection for Nomination for Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

June 8, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON– PNSR today hails the intended nomination by President Obama of Brigadier General James B. Smith to be Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

James Smith is International Business Development Executive with Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems having previously served as Raytheon’s Vice President of Government Business and Vice President of Precision Engagement. Before joining Raytheon, Gen. Smith was director of Navy C2 systems with Lockheed Martin Mission Systems.

As an Air Force officer, Gen. Smith served as deputy commander at the Joint Warfighting Center of the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Virginia, where he was responsible for managing the joint force exercise and training development program. His distinguished aviation career includes combat sorties during Desert Storm. He commanded the 94th Tactical Fighter Squadron and 325th Operations Group. He served as the CSAF chair at the National War College and as Vice Director of Operations for the North American Air Defense Command. Gen. Smith previously served as commander of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in Japan. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in military history from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master’s degree in history from Indiana University. Gen. Smith is a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College, the Air Command and Staff College and the National War College.

Congratulating General Smith, PNSR Executive Director James R. Locher III said “General James Smith is a friend of the Project on National Security Reform, and we are pleased that President Obama has selected him for a key ambassadorial position. His wife, Janet Breslin-Smith, is a senior PNSR staff member, leading our efforts to bring about national security reform in Congress. “

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

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Project on National Security Reform Applauds President Obama’s Reorganization for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

May 28, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON– PNSR hails President Obama’s decision to integrate fully the White House staff supporting national security and homeland security. This move, which closely parallels recommendations in PNSR’s landmark report, Forging a New Shield, eliminates an artificial division of the White House staff who deal with overlapping issues of national and homeland security.

The president’s new policies particularly align with PNSR’s perspective that the current national system is imbalanced and inefficient. “These decisions reflect the fundamental truth that the challenges of the 21st Century are increasingly unconventional and transnational, and they demand a response that effectively integrates all aspects of American power,” said the statement by the president.

PNSR is especially enthused to see President Obama address the artificial division of homeland security and national security. The president’s order calls for the full integration of White House Staff supporting national security and homeland security.

PNSR Executive Director Jim Locher is available to journalists for interview or comment on President Obama’s changes to the White House. He is also a frequent public speaker on the subject of national security. Please see contact information above.

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Former UN Ambassador Presents PNSR Recommendations To Enhance the National Security Workforce

April 29, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON — Thomas R. Pickering, former ambassador to the U.N. and member of the PNSR Guiding Coalition, will appear before the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia. The hearing, entitled National Security Reform: Implementing a National Security Service Workforce, will examine current national security professional development programs, and the challenges of creating and improving the current national security workforce.

Thursday April 30, 2009,
2:30 p.m.
Room 342
Dirksen Senate Office Building

Ambassador Pickering will call for improving the national security workforce as an essential element for addressing the increasing and evolving threats of the 21st century. Pickering makes a series of proposals to improve the current workforce based on the Project’s report, Forging a New Shield. The recommendations envision a system in which workforce issues are thought about strategically, a common culture is developed, investment is made in the workforce, and strategic leadership is encouraged.

The report’s recommendations, include: developing a National Security Human Capital Strategy and a accompanying implementation plan; creating a Human Capital Advisory Board to assist the President and National Security Council; enacting career planning processes and requiring national security professionals to fulfill rotational assignments; training and educational requirements; creating career professional development programs such as a national security fellowship; enacting and enhancing the National Security Education and Training Consortium; recruiting talent through tuition reimbursement and loan repayment plans; and building a personnel float to enable career development opportunities.


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

Jordan Smith
(703) 387-7628 (o)
(202) 569-0099 (c)

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PNSR Applauds National Security Advisor Jones’ Plans for Sweeping Reform of the NSC and His Call for Reform of the Transatlantic Alliance As Well

April 17, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON– National Security Advisor Jim Jones is making clear that it will not be business as usual for the national security system. In a recent memo and in a speech to the Munich Conference on Security Policy, General Jones announced his intention to lead a top-to-bottom transformation of the National Security Council to meet the realities of the new century.

General Jones is calling for an end to stove-piping in order to make the interagency process strategic, agile, transparent, and predictable. The Project on National Security Reform is gratified by Jones’ goals, which closely parallel the recommendations contained in its report, Forging a New Shield. Jim Jones was a member of PNSR’s board at the time the report was being researched and written. In addition to Jones, several members of the Obama national security team were associated with PNSR as board members or in other key roles.

In his March 18 memo, Jones notes that the United States is navigating an environment in which traditional organizations and means of response to global challenges may be inadequate or deficient. In order for the country to succeed, he calls for the cohesive integration of all elements of national power.

PNSR applauds several initiatives in particular: Jones believes that a strategic process will ensure that all who should be heard will be heard and the emergence of premature policy consensus will be avoided. An agile system will enable the NSC to cope with multiple crises simultaneously. Transparency would make the council responsive to the views and perspectives of all NSC members. Finally, Jones emphasizes the importance of the strategic implementation of decisions in such a manner that concrete results are achieved within the agreed time.

In his Munich speech, Jones urged reform upon the transatlantic alliance, saying that the world has changed but that the alliance has not yet changed with it. Echoing the changes he intends for the NSC, Jones called upon NATO to be less reactive and more proactive, less rigid and more flexible; less stationary and more expeditionary, and more -not less- essential to transatlantic collective security.

PNSR Executive Director Jim Locher is available to journalists for interview or comment on the reform process now underway at the NSC. He is also a frequent public speaker on the subject of national security. Please see contact information above.


PNSR is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization –funded and supported by Congress – dedicated to the modernization and improvement of the U.S. national security system to better protect the American people against 21st century dangers. To that end, it is working for the recommendations of its report, Forging a New Shield, to become public policy and/or law, as applicable.

Frances Hardin

(703)387-7613 (o)

(202)640-9387 (c)

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Rep. Wittman – Project on National Security Reform Hearing

March 19, 2009 in Video by admin

On March 19, 2009, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) makes an opening remark on a hearing held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Armed Services Committee on the Project on National Security Reform’s findings from “Forging a New Shield.”

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James R. Locher III at the Reserve Officers Association

March 11, 2009 in Video by admin

PNSR President and CEO James R. Locher III briefs recommendations for overhauling the U.S. national security system to an audience at the Reserve Officers Association on March 11, 2009.

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PNSR hails nomination of former Guiding Coalition member Ashton Carter to Under Secretary of Defense

February 25, 2009 in News by admin

Carter served as a PNSR Guiding Coalition member until joining the Obama-Biden Transition Team in November.

He is a professor of science and international affairs at Harvard University’s School of Government. He served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy from 1993 to 1996 in the Clinton Administration. He also served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Countering Terrorism and advised on the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

In response to Carter’s nomination, PNSR Executive Director James R. Locher III issued the following statement:

“Ash Carter is incredibly talented on a wide range of defense issues, including acquisition matters. Given the Obama Administration’s determination to fix serious problems in the defense acquisition system, Ash Carter is a wise choice for this assignment. PNSR was indeed fortunate to have Ash Carter as a member of its Guiding Coalition.”

In addition, former PNSR Working Group Leader for Processes Kathleen Hicks has been appointed Deputy Under Secretary of Defense in charge of planning, strategy and force development.

Of the Hicks appointment, Locher said, “Kath Hicks contributed to PNSR’s analytic efforts for more than two years. Her knowledge of the policy, strategy, planning, execution, and assessment processes was invaluable to our work.”

Carter and Hicks join four other PNSR alumni with extensive government experience and supportive of the need to overhaul the U.S. national security system tapped to serve in the Obama Administration. The others are: General James L. Jones as National Security Advisor, Admiral Dennis C. Blair for Director of National Intelligence, Michèle Flournoy as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and James B. Steinberg as Deputy Secretary of State.

“These six PNSR alumni understand the organizational problems that are plaguing the national security system and what needs to be done to fix them. PNSR looks forward to providing assistance to their efforts,” Locher said. “ The other members of the Guiding Coalition and the entire PNSR community congratulate Ash Carter, Jim Jones, Denny Blair, Jim Steinberg and Michèle Flournoy and Kath Hicks on their selections for these important positions.”

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PNSR Executive Director James R. Locher III Testifies Before the HSGAC

February 12, 2009 in News by admin

WASHINGTON, DC– PNSR Executive Director James R. Locher III testified Thursday February 12 before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in a hearing on “Structuring National Security and Homeland Security at the White House.” At issue is a proposal to merge the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council. Locher spoke in favor of PNSR’s recommendation to combine the the two councils into one entity, to be called the President’s Security Council.

Locher appeared with former HSC Secretary Thomas Ridge, Former Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Frances Fragos Townsend, and Christine Wormuth, a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

On the potential for merging, Committee Chairman Senator Joseph Lieberman, ID-Conn., said, “I have one clear bottom line – that whatever structure emerges, it is essential that homeland security policy issues are given sufficient staff, resources, and attention within the White House and that a process exists to effectively coordinate them. I look forward to engaging with the Administration on this matter in the coming months.”

Locher’s oral and written statements before Lieberman and the rest of the HSGAC appear below. Testimony from Ridge, Townsend, and Wormuth can be found here .

Download or view James R. Locher III’s written statement here

Oral Statement

Chairman Lieberman, Senator Collins, Committee Members, thank you for inviting me to discuss the organization for national security and homeland security in the White House and across the federal government. Most fundamentally, I believe that drawing a bright line between national security and homeland security – as current arrangements do — is a mistake. The nation would be better served by merging the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council into a single council, but with safeguards to ensure that homeland security issues are not lost in a unified system.

This hearing addresses a key issue: How should the highest level of the U.S. Government be organized to protect the nation’s security? It is important, Mr. Chairman, to put this specific issue into a much larger context. The overall national security system — including its national security and homeland security components – is broken. About the seriousness of our organizational problems, the Project on National Security Reform’s Guiding Coalition, made up of twenty-two distinguished Americans, stated in its November report: “We…affirm unanimously that the national security of the United States of America is fundamentally at risk.”

The basic problem is the misalignment of the national security system with 21st century challenges. Today’s threats require a tight integration of departmental expertise and capabilities. We need highly effective teams that stretch horizontally across departmental boundaries. Our government, however, is dominated by rigid, bureaucratic, competitive, vertically-oriented departments and agencies. In sum, we have horizontal problems and a vertical organization.

This misalignment results from a gross imbalance. We have powerful departments and agencies while our integrating mechanisms – the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council and their staffs – are weak. Missing are robust mechanisms capable of producing tight, effective integration. This imbalance was a design flaw of the National Security Act of 1947. This flaw was carried forward into the Homeland Security Council which was modeled on the 60-year-old National Security Council.

In recent years, there has been compelling evidence of the inadequacy of current arrangements: the terrorist attacks of 9/11, troubled stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and poor response to Hurricane Katrina. These setbacks are not coincidental; they evidence our organizational dysfunction. Bold transformation of the national security system must happen. Otherwise, we will suffer repeated setbacks, wasted resources, and declining American power and influence.

Among the early reform topics to address is the issue of this hearing — how to organize our integrating mechanisms. In response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, we bifurcated national security into two major components: national security and homeland security. This bifurcation served the important function of jump starting our attention to many long neglected tasks in protecting the American homeland. Although additional improvements are needed, we have succeeded in elevating these tasks to an appropriate level of attention.

The basic question now becomes: does this bifurcation at the very top of the government serve our needs in handling the increasingly complex and rapidly changing security environment of the 21st century? The answer is no. Dividing out security components at the water’s edge is artificial and creates an organizational barrier, gaps, and seams that weaken our overall security posture.

The security challenges that the United States faces must be viewed in the context of one global system. National security and homeland security are subsystems of the larger global system. But the overarching organizing principle for the U.S. national security system must be the global system. We must assess this system as a whole and understand it in the global security environment. Decisions on our policy, strategy, planning, development of capabilities, and execution will maximize our security when they are taken in an integrated, system-wide context, not when they are artificially subdivided. Moreover, by having separate national security and homeland security councils, we force the president to integrate across this divide. He does not have the time or capacity to do so.

This past week, General Jim Jones, President Obama’s national security advisor, discussed the major changes that the president and he intend to make at the top of the national security system. In an interview in the Washington Post this past Sunday and a speech on the same day in Munich, General Jones stated that the National Security Council would expand its membership and have increased authority to set strategy across a wide spectrum of international and domestic issues. In essence, many if not all of the functions of the Homeland Security Council may be subsumed into the National Security Council. At the same time, General Jones has asked John Brennan to do a sixty day review to ensure homeland security issues will receive appropriate attention in a merged council.

The Project on National Security Reform (PNSR) agrees fully with the changes that General Jones outlined. Our own recommendations parallel the direction that President Obama and General Jones have set. This convergence is not surprising. General Jones served on PNSR’s Guiding Coalition, as did other Obama appointees – Admiral Denny Blair, Jim Steinberg, and Michèle Flournoy.

Merging the NSC and the HSC is a critical step towards building a more coherent and unified approach to national security – in the broadest sense of the term. Though I believe that a merger is a necessity, it must be undertaken with safeguards that will ensure homeland security issues remain at the forefront of national security affairs. Merging the NSC and the HSC must be done in a way that ensures that homeland security issues receive the focus and resources they deserve.

As this committee approaches this issue, it has two hats to wear. The first hat is as the Senate’s overseer of the homeland security function. The second hat – focused on government affairs – ranks more important in examining this issue. To make a wise decision on this organizational question, we must take a whole-of-government perspective focused on the global system. Doing so reveals the value of the new direction that the Obama Administration intends to pursue.

This committee worked hard to create the Department of Homeland Security and to guarantee in law a functioning Homeland Security Council. The idea of merging the HSC with the NSC is intended to preserve and enhance the key roles of both councils through integration, not subordination. And since the details of the integration are still under study by the new administration, I trust that this committee’s views can help shape the final arrangements. I believe that you should view integration as an opportunity for preserving high-level focus on homeland security issues, not as a threat to that vital function.

Mr. Chairman, Senator Collins, and Committee Members, thank you for the opportunity to testify on this important issue. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.

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University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Biosecurity Endorses PNSR Report

February 9, 2009 in News by admin

The Center for Biosecurity endorses the conclusions and recommendations of Forging a New Shield, a report from the Project on National Security Reform.

Without question, the “. . . national security structures designed in 1947, and incrementally tweaked ever since, arose and evolved in response to a singular, unambiguous threat to the United States and its constitutional order that was expressed principally in military terms . . . ” [page ii, Executive Summary] are not the structures required for the national security challenges of the 21st century.

While it is never easy to implement large-scale changes in government, today’s challenges demand bold actions. The recommendations in this report came from a coalition of more than 300 national security experts from think tanks, universities, federal agencies, law firms, and corporations. This eclectic team was led by a 22-member Guiding Coalition, including General James L. Jones, USMC (Ret) the National Security Advisor designee.

From the UPMC website:

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PNSR Executive Director James R. Locher III Responds to Washington Post Article

February 9, 2009 in News by admin

Americans should applaud the bold changes that President Barack Obama and General James L. Jones are bringing to the National Security Council, said PNSR Executive Director James R. Locher III.

In response to a Feb. 8 Washington Post article, “Obama’s NSC Will Get New Power,” Locher issued the following statement:

“The Obama Administration and General Jones understand that the national security system is outmoded at best, and at worst, puts the nation at risk. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the troubled operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina, show that the current system is failing badly. We should not wait for another catastrophic event to take place on American soil before recognizing the extent of the system’s flaws.

We must approach the national security challenges of the future with a renewed sense of urgency. Too often, our unity of purpose has been clouded by competing departmental interests, leaving our security entirely on the ability of national leaders to overcome bureaucratic wrangling. The administration’s decisions provide encouraging evidence that the newly assembled national security team will marshal all the instruments of national power and work as one with a singular vision and purpose.

General Jones’ new direction is both visionary and pragmatic. Breaking away from the norm is essential to freeing ourselves from the confines of the old, broken system. But it will take more than one man to reform the national security system. Congress must pass a new National Security Act to replace the obsolete legislation created in 1947. Still, for now, Americans can take solace that General Jones, one of its top leaders, has taken that first step.”


Frances Hardin

(703) 387-7613 (o)

(202) 640-9387 (c)

Judith Evans

(703) 387-7610 (o)

(202) 679-6668 (c)