The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission) was created to examine how the terrorist attacks of September 2001 could have occurred and what could be done to prevent future attacks. Among other things the Commission recommended that there should be a National Intelligence Director who would have “two main areas of responsibility” namely:
1) to oversee intelligence centers on specific subjects affecting national security; and
2) to oversee the national intelligence program and the agencies that contribute to it.
In effect the Commission wished to have a single authority that could that could task and co-ordinate the processes and operations of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). The U.S. Congress was more or less forced to act on this specific recommendation because of public pressure. Thus the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) was created by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
In April 2005, Ambassador John D. Negroponte, former Ambassador to Iraq, was sworn in as the first DNI. Negroponte was chosen because no qualified candidate from the so-called IC was willing to take the job. In truth, the DNI was forced on the Federal Government by outside forces and began with no support either in the Congress, the Executive Branch, or the so-called IC. Indeed President Bush made it clear that he considered the DNI unnecessary. The position of DNI had responsibility for, but no authority over the IC, had no ready made constituency within the government, and was considered an unnecessary intrusion on intelligence operations by the principal members of the IC.
UPDATE: A colleague from within asked us to highlight this quote with the observation that neither the US IC nor DoD have any clue how to execute. We agree. Both lack leadership with vision and multinational panache; they simply do not know what they do not know because they have both wasted the last 21 years refusing to listen or learn.
P.23. They must embrace open-source, population-centric information as the lifeblood of their analytical work. They must open their doors to anyone who is willing to exchange information, including Afghans and NGOs as well as the U.S. military and its allies. As General Martin E. Dempsey, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, recently stated, “…[T]he best information, the most important intelligence, and the context that provides the best understanding come from the bottom up, not from the top down.”
The Cold War notion that open-source information is “second class” is a dangerous, outmoded cliché. Lieutenant General Samuel V. Wilson, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, captured it perfectly: “Ninety percent of intelligence comes from open sources. The other 10 percent, the clandestine work, is just the more dramatic.
Good News: Some good people in the field have finally re-invented half the wheel–the company-level bottom-up half. Unfortunately they have absolutely no idea what can be gotten from the rest of the world (non US citizens without clearances); they are jammed into a legacy system that demands at least a SECRET clearance; there is no Multinational Engagement Network that is totally open albeit commercially encrypted, and therefore this is going nowhere. We could fix this on leftover loose-change, but ONLY if DoD intel leadership will accept the iconoclastic multinational solutions that have been in gestation for 21 years.
Bad News: CIA and DIA are still broken and not likely to get fixed anytime soon. The Human Terrain Teams (HTT) are an utter disgrace. DoD commanders still have not figured out Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and OSINT does not appear in this report, nor does Reach-Back, 24/7 tribally-nuanced on demand web-cam translator services, and on and on and on. Army G-2 is non-existent–Army is simply not trained, equipped, nor organized to do tactical intelligence in small wars. Neither is the Marine Corps, but they adapt better. What is so very tragic is that this is a problem that can be fixed FAST with Multinational Engagement and a proper use of distributed linguistic and cultural assets. All it needs is an internationalist mind-set, which no one now serving in DIA or CIA actually can muster. All of the pathologies we have been writing about since 1988 are to be found in Afghanistan, and none of the solutions that many, many authors have written about for the last 21 years are even on the table.
Phi Beta Iota: The below material is a bit cluttered as it was built up over time as the individual pieces came to light. The important point in our view is that each element of the dynamic planning model is an intelligence (decision-support) requirement, and the U.S. Intelligence Community is completely unable to address of of them in a tactical near-real-time neighborhood level of granularity such as Dr. Stephen Cambone knew in 2000 we would need. This is why General Flynn says intelligence is not helping in Afghanistan. 95% of what we need to know to support this planning and operational campaign management model is available for open sources of information–multinational open sources of information.
Phi Beta Iota: These guys were around long before the new handbook came into being, and chances are most of it was drawn from their earlier work. This is righteous brilliant good stuff, and it is precisely the kind of thinking and leadership process that should go into Whole of Government Planning, Programming, and Budgeting, if we can ever get the Office of Management and Budget back in the business of “managing” to outcome and effect.
UPDATE: A single page of text has come available and the slides are now infamous after media discussion. Below is the graphic used in the NBC report:
We thought we would add a couiple of thoughts:
1) Whole System thinking is long over-due for a renaissance. We have a government that overseas is all fist and no brain or heart, while at home it is all lips and no brain or heart.
2) If you think of the world as a three level chessboard, the bottom level is the Earth–natural resources and the specifics of the atmosphere, climate, and so on. The middle level is the vast public, a power that cannot be suppressed in the long run. The top level is the Industrial Era menage a plus of governments, corporations, and other institutions, all working on a zero-sum basis, none actually willing to share information or work from a shared Strategic Analytic Model to harmonize spending.
3) The dynamic planning model, the Navy’s global gaming, the DARPA efforts to “simulate” what everyone on the planet is thinking, all are the right idea executed in the wrong way: divorced from reality. Creating a World Brain Institute with an embedded Global Game that absorbs all true cost information as it becomes available is the fastest possible way to “get a grip” and achieve non-zeroinfinite wealth.
We’re in the process of trying to track down the Army originator of this brief, which is both exquisitely focused and extraordinarily complex.
Below is a first cut–nothing more than an ugly concept for consideration, of what could become a generic approach to assuring our personnel going in harm’s way that everything possible has been study to study, understand, and plan for every aspect of what we call Stabilization & Reconstruction Operations, what others call Occupations.
Major Contribution That Congress is NOT Paying Attention To,
March 4, 2007
This is a major contribution to national security & prosperity that is being actively ignored by Congress. We must all buy the book and force the issue. HR 1 from the House purports to implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission but does so in a shoddy, incomplete, and largely anti-democratic fashion, imposing the secret stovepipe model of one-way federal to state communications, without any respect (or understanding) of what this author recommends instead, which is to add the public to the loop, and also create localized means of facilitating communications among all the leaders–county government, law enforcement, business, academic, labor, religious, etc.
This book is every bit as good-even better–than the author’s first book, “America the Vulnerable,” which I reviewed and rated very highly. I recommend that both be bought, and then waved in every public meeting possible.
The major leap forward in this book is the juxtaposition of localized resilience to disaster of any kind (not just terrorism), with the very pointed and strong dismay about how we are wasting $700 billion a year on a heavy-metal military to fight (and anger) people overseas, while spending less than $70 million a year on key infrastructure and homeland defense needs. While the Department of Homeland Defense now has roughly $36 billion a year (perhaps even more), they are giving waste, fraud, and mismanagement a completely new meaning, taking pathological irrelevance to new heights. This is especially true of their antiquated approach to intelligence and not sharing information nor being receptive to bottom up non-secret information.
I especially respect the author’s detailed cataloguing of our infrastructure vulnerabilities that are of our own making. Badly patched dams, high-rises built on sand, hospitals with no excess capacity, power grids over 50 years old that a single tree can bring down, waterways that are broken, and that if broken any more cannot deliver coal to run power plants essential to Middle American commerce, the list goes on. Especially frightening in the concept of the firestorm, which I first encountered in the 1980’s when a newspaper looked at the NYC water mains, most built in the 1920’s (that’s the nineteen TWENTIES). If they break in a certain way, and a fire starts, NYC gets burned to the ground.
The author is gifted as both a former Coast Guard officer, and as a serious and articulate scholar that has done his homework. Especially valuable to me was his citation of a 2005 series of studies done by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in which our Nation received 4 C’s, 10 D’s, and one Incomplete. That alone is grounds for the impeachment and dismissal of every Governor and every Senator and every Congressman. These people are not minding the public interest in a substantive sustainable way.
I have the word “holistic” written in my notes. This author provides in this book both a “big picture” and a whole range of vignettes that drive home the fact that the devil is in the details, and no one, at the Federal or the State levels, with a handful of exceptions, is actually minding the public interest.
He offers specific recommendations for the local level including improved webcam surveillance of ports and waterfronts, a bigger COPS II program, infrastructure committees with weight, a tax on the wealthiest beneficiaries of the public infrastructure, and his older recommendation from the first book, pushing cargo inspections overseas and incentivizing those that comply with Green Lanes that save hundred of thousands in ship and crew time.
Two success stories are Project Impact, and the Disaster Resistant Business (DRB) Program.
The Coast Guard is under-funded in all respects and I agree with this. As one who designed, with Norman Polmar and Ron O’Rourke, the 450-ship Navy for global coverage, I absolutely agree that we can afford to scrap plans for more nuclear carriers and B-2 bombers, and instead fund the resilience and disaster relief and waterway safety needs of the Coast Guard.
The author concludes that our top priority should not be a heavy-metal military global war, but rather a focus on being able to weather the age of terrorism (that I would add, Bush-Cheney have done more to exacerbate than anyone else–Cheney started this war, not Bin Laden, and Larry Silverstein murdered most of those who died at the World Trade Center, not Bin Laden. For these two individuals to not have been indicted, along with Rudy “scoop and dump” Guliani, tells me that our entire government is corrupt and inattentive to the public interest. It is time to either reconstitute the entire government, or break up into the “Nine Nations” and stop giving Washington money to waste on Dick Cheney’s favorite crime syndicates).
The author ends very persuasively with the admonition that the Federal Government is totally out of date and unable to shift from stovepipe secrecy to networked information sharing and shared bottom up resilient decision making. He recommends that we begin at the home and neighborhood level, and then work up to the village, county, and state level. He does not suggest what can be done to beat the Federal government back into affordable utility.
Here is an abbreviated version of the ten recommendations at the end of the book:
1) Force Washington to build national resiliency at home 2) Put terrorism in the context of the other threats (see Wikipedia, “Ten Threats”) 3) Fix the infrastructure now 4) Inform the American people, they are our greatest asset 5) Tap the ingenuity and resources of the private sector 6) Do not underestimate the value of individual preparedness 7) Do not allow government to pretend the pandemic will not happen 8) Discourage construction along vulnerable coastlines and in flood plains 9) Properly fund and support local police and emergency responders 10) Promote the concept of resiliency as a global imperative.
The author’s bottom line is clear: the Federal Government is in denial, and also ignorant. We can do better. Public anger needed NOW.
Essential Foundation for Understanding Worst Case View,
December 18, 2006
I was asked recently if I had fallen in with the conspiracy theorists, and my answer was no, I had not, but in my very broad reading, had come to realize that they represent a very important alternative view of reality without which one cannot ably evaluate current threats, policies, and relationships. The invasion of Iraq and our continued occupation of that country, for example, is either sheer stupidity by the White House, or a stroke of genius, depending on your hidden agenda.
I truly respect this author and this book, and along with Crossing the Rubicon and Rule by Secrecy, would put it way up there among the books from this point of view.
Personally I believe that the US Government is populated by good people trapped in a bad system, and that most laws have dual purposes–one as understood by the rank and file in government, the larger one at the very highest levels where the White House and the Wall Street elite (a handful of individuals) speak in studied privacy.
There are other good reviews of the substance of this book, so I want to focus this review on an emerging Collective Intelligence/Natural Capital line of thinking. Collective Intelligence represents to power of the people to attack themselves like leeches to specific corporations and out their misdeeds and bad practices in detail. Natural Capital, something that Paul Hawken has been pursuing since he first helped write Seven Tomorrows and later the The Ecology of Commerce, suggests that the commercial world can only be saved–can only achieve sustainable long-term profitability–if it goes green to both reduce its impact on the environment and to offer the public genuinely intelligent design.
The more I read in this literature, the more I am persuaded that it is both correct and reaching critical mass, yet at the same time, I perceive a positive possibility that the Exxons and Goldman Sachs of this world may finally be on the verge of realizing that if they do not reform themselves, they will be put out of business by a global informed public.
Some will say this book aids the enemy, pointing out with shocking clarity the extreme vulnerabilities of our transportation, communications, and other core systems. I happen to agree with the author’s core point, as Thomas Jefferson would agree: politicians will continue to ignore these vulnerabilities and lie to the public until the public achieves its own appreciation of the threat.
This is a double-spaced book, an easy read from Tampa to Dulles (2.5 hours), and well-worth any thinking person’s attention. For those who disparage this book as “gloom and doom”: go back to your vodka martinis.
THE fundamental point of this book, and one that I happily endorse on the basis of my other 493 reviews of national security non-fiction, is that how we spend the federal tax dollar is completely out of balance. We are spending $500 billion on a “hard power” military that can barely contain terrorism, crime, genocide, revolution, and war between states, while we are letting our states and cities go begging, and refuse to fund just 16,000 Customs inspectors, among other vital initiatives.
This is the single best book I have found that points out that in the era of asymmetric warfare, where non-state actors have both explosive and nuclear-biological-chemical power at their disposal, it is the “soft targets”, the non-military infrastructure targets, which will be most attractive to the “sleeper” agents of Al Qaeda and others. Washington continues to deceive America about its vulnerability, and about Washington’s feckless irresponsibility in failing to redirect funds from hard power only relevant to fighting major states, to a combination of homeland defense of soft targets, which is this book’s focus, and soft power projection such as Joe Nye recommends in his various books, but especially The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone,
The author’s first line is a block-buster: “If September 11, 2001 was a wake-up call, clearly America has fallen back asleep.” He is right. I deal with those responsible for the “Global War on Terror” and most of them are working 9-5, spending half their day gossiping or browsing the Web. [This is still true as of 20 Dec 07, besides which, terrorism is a tactic, you cannot make war on a tactic].
In my view, the author, a former Coast Guard commander and also a National Security Council staff member, is right on target when he says that the Pentagon is guilty of an “escapist” perspective in thinking they can defeat terrorism “over there.” It was this point that caused me to both buy this book in an airport, and to review it concurrently with General Tommy Franks’ book American Soldier General Franks is both a superb officer, and a naive escapist, and reading this book drives that point home in a way that would make any intelligent person pleased to have spent time with the author.
There is a “seam” between our homeland security and our overseas capabilities, and there is no one in charge of any coherent program to decide how best to protect BOTH our neighborhoods AND our overseas investments.
This is a nuanced book, one that makes the point that security must become as embedded as safety has been, and the further point that security properly embedded is actually PROFITABLE! He’s right. Green lanes for containers that have proper GPS and content authentications will SAVE dollars by saving time. Bio-chemical detection across all herds and food supplies will detect “natural” threats such as we have seen with SARS, monkey pox, bird flu, West Nile virus, etc.
Finally, security and openness can help reduce fraud, especially import/expert tax fraud, where containers loaded with priceless equipment are mis-labeled as low-cost machinery, or vice versa, an advanced form of money laundering that is costing the U.S. taxpayer over $50 billion a year in lost tax revenues.
Of the 1000+ books or so that I have reviewed here at Amazon, this book easily makes it into my top ten list of books relevant to getting national security right in the near term. Beyond five stars.