Small Wars Journal

Homeland at Risk?

Wed, 09/26/2012 - 9:03pm
A USNI blog post by Robert Kozloski presents another scenario that would envoke a US military response in domestic operations.  The argument is based on the recent concerns expressed by senior military officers and officials from the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities that nation-states now have the ability to use conventional and unconventional means to attack the US homeland, especially during periods of military conflict.

The so called American way of war ensured the security of US interests over the past sixty years by taking overwhelming military force to the enemy’s doorstep. Unfortunately, the US will not be afforded that luxury in the future.  Our nation’s military and civilian leaders must incorporate defending the homeland into their decision making calculus should military action be realistically considered in the future.  The US public must also be aware that the decision to use military force will likely affect the livelihood of each American citizen in ways Americans have not witnessed during this generation.



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Jack Gander

Thu, 09/27/2012 - 7:46am

Ok, I will show my ignorance. I’ve noticed a lot of great material migrates to SWJ from USNI and MCA forums. Do the Army and Air Force have similar organizations? Are they as influential among their interest groups?

I recently came across some great work being done at the Simons Center on interagency reform. Recently Army Major Jonathan Graebener published a good report that dovetails nicely with this USNI post -may be of interest to those interested in TCOs.…

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 underscored the vulnerability of the U.S. homeland. In response to those attacks and to protect the homeland, U.S. policy-makers created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for homeland security, and its military counterpart, U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), responsible for homeland defense.

However, even with DHS and NORTHCOM’s efforts, threats that pose significant danger to national security continue to emerge. At the forefront of these threats are al-Qaeda’s continued aim of conducting a massive attack on U.S. soil and a significant increase of violence caused by Mexican-based transnational criminal organizations (TCO) over control of ungoverned areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. While the U.S.-led efforts are producing positive results against violent extremists and TCOs, these successes are insufficient to counter growing national security threats.

Using a capabilities-based assessment model as a guide, this paper examines the current operational capabilities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and NORTHCOM. The analysis highlights the capabilities required to combat current and future threats along the southwest border and identifies the gaps between existing and required capabilities. From this analysis, a set of solutions to fill these gaps and leverage existing DoD capabilities is proposed. While not all-inclusive, these solutions provide the U.S. government with a framework to build DHS capacity along the southwest border and better counter the threats of growing instability within Mexico.