Small Wars Journal

Shifting Mood May End Blank Check for US Security Efforts

Shifting Mood May End Blank Check for US Security Efforts by Scott Shane, New York Times.

... The drumbeat of terrorism news never quite stops. And as a result, for 11 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the security colossus constructed to protect the nation from Al Qaeda and its ilk has continued to grow, propelled by public anxiety, stunning advances in surveillance technology and lavish spending - about $690 billion over a decade, by one estimate, not including the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now that may be changing. The looming federal budget crunch, a sense that major attacks on the United States are unlikely and new bipartisan criticism of the sprawling counterterrorism bureaucracy may mean that the open checkbook era is nearing an end...


The author makes valid points. We have established a new security norm that probably is excessive in scale, but reducing it will be difficult based on the real and perceived threat. Hindsight is always clearer than foresight, but it seems we had a fairly good system in place prior to 9/11 with the exception of our intelligence community's ability to share information with one another, and the biggest shortfall we had was the will to act decisively prior to the 9/11 attacks. Imagine if we used SOF to kill UBL before 9/11, what would the world look like today? Hopefully we won't ignore emerging problems until they're a major crisis in the future.