America Security Matters

By Darrel Nerove

If you walked down the street and asked Americans if Security Matters, the answer would be Yes!  If asked what the primary security issues are that we face today, you will likely hear many different answers.  Security is a topic that has many competing values and tradeoffs.

Most of the primary security issues  we face today can be categorized as domestic ( homeland) security, national security issues that extend beyond our borders, and the protection of our national critical infrastructure.

Homeland security issues include, but are not limited to, the protection of our national borders; protection from international s and domestic terrorist groups; protection from weapons of mass destruction; and, protecting our borders.  While many sound  straight-forward, such as the need to protect against terrorist organizations, they can present many challenges and the potential solutions present the need for various tradeoffs.  For example, to better protect against terrorist groups, additional monitoring and surveillance might be necessary; however, that creates controversy about the impact on rights, freedoms, and privacy.  

National security issues include readiness of our military forces; readiness of other agencies involved in international cooperation; our intelligence and counter-intelligence capabilities; our cyber warfare capabilities; foreign relations that impact national security; and many other areas.  In the same manner as homeland security, many of these issues can create much controversy.  Our military forces can get committed to many different regions around the globe for a variety of reasons that can either directly or indirectly impact our national interests.It is fair to question which of these are worth taking that major step.

Protection of our national critical infrastructure is separate from homeland security and national security; however, this impacts both homeland and national security.  By definition, “critical infrastructure” includes these elements that are critical to our national well-being.  Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21), Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, identifies 16 critical infrastructure sectors.  Of the 16 sectors, the Department of Homeland Security is the Sector Specific Agency for 10 sectors (Co-Sector Specific Agency for 2 of the 10).  Sector Specific Agencies for the remaining 6 sectors are the DOD, TREAS, DOE, HHS, USDA, and EPA.  Following are the 16 critical infrastructure sectors, with the Sector Specific Agency indicated in parenthesis:

  • Chemical Sector (DHS)
  • Commercial Facilities Sector (DHS)
  • Communications Sector (DHS)
  • Critical Manufacturing Sector (DHS)
  • Dams Sector (DHS)
  • Defense Industrial Base Sector (DOD)
  • Emergency Services Sector (DHS)
  • Energy Sector (DOE)
  • Financial Services Sector (TREAS)
  • Food and Agriculture Sector (USDA)
  • Government Facilities Sector (DHS/GSA)
  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector (HHS)
  • Information Technology Sector (DHS)
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector (DHS)
  • Transportation Systems Sector (DHS/DOT)
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector (EPA)

Security Matters and American Values Matter!  This gets challenging when security measures impact other American Values, such as Freedoms and Privacy.  We must recognize  there are necessary tradeoffs between security and other American values.  In a perfect world, we would advocate to maximize rights and freedoms.  However, this is not a perfect world and there are various groups that desire to harm Americans.  Thus, we must determine the right balance between providing security and defending against national threats and maintaining the rights and freedoms this country was founded on..  

America Matters will address each of these topics and issues and they will require much dialogue, debate, and collaboration from both sides of the political spectrum to determine the best solution for all Americans.  In order to make informed decisions, all Americans, including our national leaders, must be well-informed and educated on emerging security issues and topics.