Homeland Security

Time to fix our seriously misaligned nuclear strategy

In anticipation of the G8 summit next month, we can expect serious discussion to be held about how to address today’s nuclear threats, including proliferation, the risks posed by the Iranian nuclear program and North Korean provocations.

As we have seen over the past 12 years, should a military response be deemed necessary to meet these threats, the U.S. has demonstrated itself to be the most effective practitioner of symmetric warfare the world has ever seen — but addressing asymmetric challenges has proven significantly more difficult.

Our experiences have shown that the biggest threats to our warriors have not been other armies, but IEDs; the biggest threats to our ships have not been big navies, but small boats and missiles. And today, the biggest threats to our nuclear security are asymmetric as well.

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Leadership from Congress critical to ensuring global nuclear security

Security vulnerabilities in the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise have made startling headlines in recent weeks. An 82-year-old nun and her two cohorts were found guilty of sabotage after breaking into Oak Ridge, Tenn.’s Y-12 nuclear complex, the nation’s main storage vault for weapons-usable highly enriched uranium. They breached a $150-million-a-year security system. In North Dakota, 17 officers charged with controlling nuclear missiles at Minot Air Force Base — home to 150 of the U.S. arsenal of 450 nuclear-tipped Minuteman 3 ICBMs — were stripped of their duties amid safety and security violations.
 
Congress has held hearings on these disturbing failures—and rightly so. Recalling the unintended 2007 flight of six nuclear-armed cruise missiles across several U.S. states, it’s clear that the United States needs to do more to uphold the solemn responsibility of making certain that our nuclear weapons and materials are effectively secured. 

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Continuing Daniel Inouye's fight to restore Memorial Day's meaning

Daniel Inouye, who passed away in December after a half-century representing Hawaii in the U.S. Senate, was one of America's most beloved public servants. Even before he arrived on Capitol Hill, Inouye had already distinguished himself in a different kind of national service. Enlisting in a Japanese-American volunteer regiment during World War II, he bravely led his platoon in a successful assault on an enemy-controlled ridge in Italy, personally neutralizing enemy machine gun emplacements. Inouye eventually was presented with the Medal of Honor for his heroism under fire, though the battle cost him his right arm.
 
Inouye, however, knew that other American service members have made even greater sacrifices in wartime. That is perhaps why, for the last quarter-century of his life, Inouye carried on a lonely fight to restore Memorial Day to its proper focus as a time for honoring Americans who have lost their lives in service to our country.


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Congress must move carefully in regulating corporate cybersecurity

The Federal Trade Commission's recent lawsuit against hotelier Wyndham neatly encapsulates the most vexing problem information security practitioners face — how to protect digital data residing inside corporate networks.

In its initial response to the FTC, Wyndham rightly brings to the fore the irrationality of being accused of improper consumer data custodianship while not receiving specific instructions on the methodology, tools or best practices it should have adhered to in order to protect the data.

It's absurd for the FTC, a federal agency, to accuse public and private firms of improperly handling consumer data while a recent report from the Pentagon claims that as far as cyberattacks from abroad are concerned, even our military is not prepared to defend against this threat.

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Should we give China 'eyes and ears' to U.S. communications?

The $20 billion proposed merger between U.S. cellular carrier Sprint/Nextel and Japan’s SoftBank seems like a good match. Sprint would partner with one of the most dynamic cellular companies in the world, whose latest claim to fame is the Advanced Extended Global Platform (AXGP), the fastest mobile broadband network serving Tokyo and other Japanese cities. But Sprint has another suitor, the TV satellite provider DiSH Network. DiSH would actually offer Sprint shareholders more money than SoftBank, and offer significant synergies that benefit consumers.

Yet there is more to this than innovative platforms, synergies and returns for shareholders. There is the potential for a SoftBank-acquired Sprint cellular network to serve as a convenient transmission path for malware and spyware, courtesy of SoftBank’s Chinese business partners or their government.

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The false debate

Even an act as terrifying and damaging as 9/11 is no excuse for engaging in torture.

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E-Verify wrong for America

More than 30 years ago at a Cabinet meeting on immigration reform, Ronald Reagan dismissed the idea of a national ID card with a broad smile and a wisecrack. “Maybe we should just brand all the babies,” he said. The Justice Department’s plan to put a national ID in the hand of every worker didn’t make it out of the Cabinet Room.

Today, conservatives and Republicans are the strongest backers of the national identification system in the Senate’s Gang of Eight immigration reform bill. If they get their way, they may just deliver the American people over to a national ID and tight, comprehensive control from Washington, D.C., through the program known as E-Verify. Politically, it appears that the price of enough conservative votes to pass a broader immigration reform package is giving the federal government the power to approve or decline every American business’s hiring decisions from now on.

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North Korea, Iran threats demand military readiness

Many of the most tragic days in American history feature a common thread: a surprise attack for which the United States simply was not ready. This is true of the sinking of the USS Maine that began the Spanish-American War. So too of Pearl Harbor, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Each was a watershed moment that changed America’s approach to national security and the defense of our homeland. The lesson learned was that reacting was wholly inadequate when faced with rogue enemies and determined foes. Our Armed Forces would need to be on the front foot, anticipating and preparing for the next assault on our way of life.

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Sessions amendment would harm military families

The Senate Judiciary Committee will turn to questions of immigration enforcement in the coming week as the senators continue to mark up the immigration bill crafted by the Gang of Eight. One amendment in particular could cause huge problems for military family members by mandating the imprisonment for 60 to 90 days of people who overstay their permission to be in the United States. It’s doubtful that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) realizes how military families would be affected by the fifth of his 49 amendments to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, or S. 744, but serious harm will result if his proposed amendment is adopted.

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