Archive for February, 2011

No More Secrets: Adapting to a World Where Everything is Out in the Open

February 28, 2011

The WikiLeaks incident suggests a provocative question: Is the world rapidly approaching a time when secrets no longer exist?  The U.S. government has traditionally depended on secrecy to gain a competitive advantage in counterintelligence.  However, the difficulty of keeping information secret is rising exponentially.  Technology has outraced the country’s defensive posture and is forcing greater transparency upon individuals, organizations, and governments who are more interconnected than ever before.  With the proliferation of sophisticated cyber-security threats, corporate espionage, and social media networking, the world may be approaching a time when there are no more enduring precious secrets.

Adapting to this new reality is challenging.  The government and private sector will need to develop strategies and reform current policies to limit the amount of secrets held if they are to survive in such a transparent environment.  Failure to adjust could present a dangerous vulnerability to national security.  A proactive shift in strategy may allow the U.S. to prevail over its adversaries.

The July 2010 conference titled “No More Secrets: National Security Strategies for a Transparent World” was sponsored jointly by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security, Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, and the National Strategy Forum.

The conference examined the likelihood of a world with no secrets.  It defined the concept of secrets, identified current inadequacies in managing critical information, and offered solutions to these problems.

The general consensus was that the government, private sector, and individuals must learn to address these new threats and challenges.  The government should engage with the private sector in developing new ways of doing business to enhance innovation and seek processes that require maintaining fewer secrets.  Ultimately, those who figure out how to operate with fewer secrets will gain an advantage over those who cling to traditional notions of indefinite information monopoly.

The conference report can be found here: No More Secrets: National Security Strategies for a Transparent World

Winter 2011 National Strategy Forum Review

February 21, 2011


The Winter 2011 issue of the National Strategy Forum Review is now available online.  This issue titled “Thinking About National Security: An NSF Guidebook for 2011” serves as a concise overview of the emerging trends in national security and national strategy.

There are a number of emerging national security threats that will define this decade.  How should the US think about economic security?  What are the trends in homeland security?  How can the DoD respond to budget cuts while preparing the military for the future?  Is US foreign policy focusing enough attention on emerging regions?  Given the challenges in Afghanistan, what should be our strategy with Pakistan?

Crafting a national security strategy requires: 1) an understanding of the issues; and 2) developing possible policy solutions.  The Winter 2011 NSFR puts these emerging trends in context and suggests ways of thinking about policy solutions.  Articles are available for download as PDFs.

Winter 2011 National Strategy Forum Review: “Thinking About National Security: An NSF Guidebook for 2011”

Beyond the Border: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness

February 15, 2011
The following is a declaration by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States of America.  The official release can be found at:  Separate statements on trade, energy, and border security are also available.

4 February 2011

Ottawa, Ontario and Washington, D.C.

Canada and the United States are staunch allies, vital economic partners, and steadfast friends. We share common values, deep links among our citizens, and deeply rooted ties. The extensive mobility of people, goods, capital, and information between our two countries has helped ensure that our societies remain open, democratic, and prosperous.

To preserve and extend the benefits our close relationship has helped bring to Canadians and Americans alike, we intend to pursue a perimeter approach to security, working together within, at, and away from the borders of our two countries to enhance our security and accelerate the legitimate flow of people, goods, and services between our two countries. We intend to do so in partnership, and in ways that support economic competitiveness, job creation, and prosperity. (more…)

Missiles and the Balance of Power

February 9, 2011

Missiles are again prominent in international news.  This time, however, it is not the United States or Russia that is making headlines, as was the case during the Cold War, but rather small and rising powers across the globe.  The ramifications of diffuse missile technology is altering the face of geopolitical power and causing advanced countries to rethink their strategies.  Developing countries with small military forces are finding that they can effectively counter-balance larger, more advanced militaries by deploying low-tech missile technology.

There are four recent examples of missiles changing the balance of power in the international system.  Read the analysis in the article below.

Missiles and the Balance of Power

By Eric S. Morse