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Dealing With Today's Asymmetric Threat to U.S. and Global Security

Terrorism and Islamic extremism are major factors in the current asymmetric threat picture. However, there are myriad asymmetric threats to U.S. and global security that must be examined further in developing a truly Integrated National Asymmetric Threat Strategy.

Asymmetrical threats are not uniquely military, but require the engagement of all elements of national power, including that applied by Congress, the judiciary and the executive branch, as well as the private sector. To best meet today's asymmetric threat to U.S. and global security, government and industry should partner to develop a comprehensive and unified national strategy. Leaders in all sectors must work together if we are to be successful against a dedicated, capable and multi-faceted threat.

Four major functional areas of responsibility have been suggested that are integral to a global and national asymmetric threat response paradigm

  1. Strategic Communications
  2. Securing the Homeland
  3. Economics
  4. Diplomacy

Together, these areas would unite all relevant departments of government and other national resources, where appropriate, to build a consensus on a national strategy to address and defeat such asymmetrical threats.

A broad, yet in-depth, understanding of the scope and complexity of these diverse challenges and how the U.S. must deal with them is required. This response should be based upon a formulation of national policies and strategies that address diplomatic and military responses and synergies, social and cultural initiatives to bolster the understanding and will of the American people, and other programs to directly counter the terrorist and extremist threats faced by the U.S. and our foreign partners.

These policies and strategies implemented at the national level must be integrated and synchronized, considering the application of all elements of our national resources and power, including

  • Military capabilities
  • Economic capabilities
  • Diplomatic and political capabilities
  • Information and communications capabilities
  • Intelligence Community capabilities
  • Law enforcement capabilities
  • Legal frameworks
  • Scientific development
  • Educational and cultural resources
  • All other branches of U.S. and local government

A new Integrated National Asymmetric Threat Strategy response plan must incorporate this multitude of potential threats and remain flexible so that we may defend ourselves, our country and our allies against future potential threats. There is consensus that asymmetric threats, including acts of terrorism, will be a prominent feature of the threat environment that the U.S. and our allies will face for at least the next several decades.

Co-sponsored by CACI and the National Defense University

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Four Pillars of a Unified Asymmetric Threat Strategy

1. A Strategic Communications Strategy

America's strategic communications programs are a significant national weakness. The U.S. government must revitalize, reinstitute and aggressively implement an enhanced, worldwide strategic communications program addressing both near- and long-term needs.

2. A Defense and Homeland Security Strategy

Asymmetric threats are not solely military and require the integrated engagement of all elements of international and national power to be effective. It is, therefore, imperative for national homeland security planners, military strategists, doctrinal experts, policy analysts and scholars to coalesce around a set of common terms, strategies and operational methods to successfully combat these threats.

3. An Economic Strategy

A sound economic strategy contributes to national security. The next administration will have to address the de facto economic crisis, while planning to meet long-term economic goals. This will include identifying what should have the highest priority in government s pending – defense, homeland security, health, education, intelligence, diplomacy and aid for natural disasters, for example.

4. A Diplomatic Strategy

National, regional, cultural and religious influences require a different global and regional diplomatic model. Various governmental agencies "carve" the world differently and one department or agency's regions do not necessarily overlap with those of another. This degrades the quality of coordination, integration and synchronization of missions and programs. Consequently, there needs be a national alignment of regional responsibilities among U.S. governmental departments/agencies to fully develop a new and relevant diplomatic strategy. (more)

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