Matters of national security are of great importance to every Nation in the world, large or small. As such, the governments of the world go to great lengths to ensure that they protect their Nations from any breach in National Security. The United States is no different. There are various organizations and arms of government that have been set up for this purpose. There is the Military, the Navy, the Coast Guard, Border Patrol which come under the Department of Defense and the department of Homeland Security among others. At a higher level there is the National Security Council that is headed by the President himself.
Regular attendees of this council include the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State as well as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (“National Security Council”). The Military advisor to the National Security Council is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the intelligence advisor is the Director of National Intelligence. Whenever matters pertaining to their various departments are in discussion then the Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are in attendance.
Other heads are also invited as needed depending on the agenda of discussion for the day. However, Counsel to the President, the Chief of Staff to the President and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, may attend any National Security Council meeting (“National Security Council”). The number one responsibility of the president is to protect his people. As such, the reason the president chairs the National Security Council is to provide leadership and strategies that will help strengthen security within the country (“The Agenda”).
Each era has its own threats and it has been clear to the United States of America that terrorism is the greatest threat in the 21st Century, a fact that President Obama clearly understands. In a speech to the Senate on March 6th, 2007 the then Senator for Illinois, the current President Barack Obama said: We are here to do the work that ensures no other family members have to lose a loved one to a terrorist who turns a plane into a missile, a terrorist who straps a bomb around her waist and climbs aboard a bus, a terrorist who figures out how to set off a dirty bomb in one of our cities.
This is why we are here: to make our country safer and make sure the nearly 3,000 who were taken from us did not die in vain; that their legacy will be a more safe and secure Nation (“The Agenda”). The agenda for homeland security is clear and includes the following: To defeat terrorism worldwide, prevent nuclear terrorism, strengthen American Biosecurity, protect America’s information networks, improve intelligence securities and protect civil liberties, protect Americans from terrorist attacks and natural disasters, protect critical infrastructure and modernize America’s aging infrastructure (“The Agenda”)
Since the infamous attacks on the Pentagon and the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 the war on terrorism has intensified. The agenda of defeating terrorism all over the world has led to attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan as the US fought against the government of Saddam Hussein a known supporter of Al Qaeda. The search is still on for the leader of this terrorist group Osama bin Laden. In the fight against terrorism, thousands of American soldiers have died in what many now call a senseless war. There have been various controversies that have arisen over the fight against terrorism.
One such controversy includes Guantanamo Bay, a US detention center located in Cuba. It is here that terrorism suspects were sent for interrogation. However, in the course of the said interrogations, it emerged that these suspects were tortured routinely in order to give information using methods like sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and prolonged exposure to cold (“US: Steps to end torture”). However, President Obama has stopped all such counter terrorism interrogation methods and set the year 2010 for the closure of Guantanamo Bay (“US: Steps to end torture”).
Another controversial issue in National Security has been the double standard perceived with nuclear disarmament. The United States is the only country in the world known to have used nuclear arms against any other country in World War II against Japan. Whereas the US has repeatedly called for the nuclear disarmament of other countries, it has not disarmed its own nuclear bases. Russia, China, France and Israel are also known to have nuclear weapons in their armory (Perkovich).
Although many times the US has said that it supports a world without nuclear weapons according to the Agenda of Homeland security, the US will not disarm until the rest of the world does (“The Agenda”). Although one may understand the need to disarm Iran and North Korea in a bid to ensure that nuclear armament does not fall into the hands of terrorists, there is also the question of what would happen in the event of another World War. Would the US and other countries with weapons of mass destruction use them? And does that not put countries without the same form of weaponry at a disadvantage?
As stated earlier each country wants to protect its own people and that would include Iran and North Korea. The issue of illegal immigration into the United States has become one of National Security. Since September 11th the departments of immigration and the border patrol have been hard pressed to keep tabs on anyone entering and leaving the country. Measures have been put in place with people at points of entry into the country being checked thoroughly in a bid to ensure that no terrorists hijack planes like they did on that day, or even enter the country.
However, according to a survey of immigrants conducted in the year 2005 it was found that between January 2000 and March 2005, 7. 9 million immigrants, both legal and illegal settled in the US, half of which were illegal (Camarota). According to an analysis by the census bureau, the population of immigrants in the US reached an all time high of 35. 2 million in March 2005. Immigrants therefore make up 12. 1% of the American population (Camarota). With 3. 7 Million illegal immigrants the issue of border security becomes pertinent.
According to the Homeland Security Agenda, the improvement of border security is a must and shall be done by increasing support to physical and virtual infrastructure as well as manpower necessary to ensure that the Nation is kept safe by securing the borders (“The Agenda”). The question arises, of the 3. 7 Million illegal immigrants, how many are used to fund terrorist groups, spy on the country or even for the implementation of terror? Not only can illegal immigrants be used in terrorism but according to forth coming news, diseases like Polio and TB that had been long gone from the US are now being reintroduced into the country.
Chagas disease that originates in Latin America has now been reported in California and other parts of the US, and is said to have come into the country via illegal immigrants who do not go through health screening before coming to the US (Wagner). This is an issue of National Security as a country made up of sick people cannot build its economy or fight in times of trouble. At the same time, the illegal immigrants who have no health insurance and suffer from poverty drain the welfare coffers as well as health funds in the country. According to Camarota, the poverty rate of immigrants and their children born in the United States is 18.
4% which is 57% higher than the natives. Additionally, one third of them lack health insurance accounting for three quarters of the uninsured population of America (Camarota). It is therefore clear that the US needs to look into this issue in a bid to fortify National Security. Another major threat to the United States is Bioterror. Biological weapons are a great threat to national security. As such, the US is taking certain measures to ensure the safety of all Americans by preventing such an event from occuring, and by coming up with counter measures in the event of a bioterror attack.
In a bid to prevent bioterror, the US will have to fortify its intelligence collection abroad. This will help intelligence identify and interdict the said terrorists before they even strike (“The Agenda”). However, in the event that this does not happen and the terrorists manage to strike, a massive linkage system is to be put in place that will connect hospitals, public health agencies and healthcare providers in order to execute a rapid epidemic response. This would greatly reduce the consequences of such an attack (“The Agenda”).
At the same time there are major efforts being made in a bid to accelerate the development of new vaccines, medicines and production capabilities. These vaccines, new drugs and diagnostic tests will be used in the event of such an attack. They are to be created quickly in a bid to counter any such attack should the need arise. It is important to note that this will not just be confined to the United States, the idea is to make it a worldwide effort making these new diagnostic equipment, drugs and vaccines both available and affordable internationally (“The Agenda”).
The issue of National Security is vast and there are many aspects to it. With the threat of terrorism that the United States is currently facing it is important that various measures are put in place and implemented to ensure the security of the American people. This is the Presidents first responsibility. With terrorists like Osama bin Laden on the loose and terrorist groups like Al Qaeda continuing the fight against the US, the National Security Council has much work to do. As such, issues like bioterror, illegal immigration, terrorist attacks and the availability of nuclear weapons must be taken into account.
However, the double standard that has been exhibited by America in the past needs to be eliminated if other countries currently manufacturing or planning to manufacture weapons of mass destruction are to disarm. President Barack Obama has taken a new approach to the war on terror. The world can only watch and see what strides he will make in the effort to bring peace between America and the Middle East, which has proven to be a thorn in America’s side. Works Cited Camarota, Steven A. “Immigrants at Mid-Decade: A Snapshot of America’s Foreign-Born Population in 2005.
” Centre for Immigration Studies. Dec 2005. Retrieved 16 Mar. 2009. <http://www. cis. org/articles/2005/back1405. html> “National Security Council. ” The White House. Updated 16 Mar. 2009. Retreived 16 Mar. 2009. <http://www. whitehouse. gov/administration/eop/nsc/> Perkovich, George. “Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: Why The United States Should Lead. ” Carnergie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 16 Mar. 2009. <http://www. carnegieendowment. org/files/abolishing_nuclear_weapons. pdf. > “The Agenda – Homeland Security. ” The White House. Updated 16 Mar. 2009.
Retreived 16 Mar. 2009. <http://www. whitehouse. gov/agenda/homeland_security/> “US: Steps to End Torture Set a New Course: Obama’s Executive Order Reverses Abusive Bush Counter-Terror Policies. ” Human Rights Watch. 22 Jan. 2009. Retrieved 16 Mar. 2009. < http://www. hrw. org/en/news/2009/01/22/us-steps-end-torture-set-new-course> Wagner, P. F. “The Dark Side Of Illegal Immigration: Facts, Figures And Statistics On Illegal Immigration. ” Retrieved 16 Mar. 2009. <http://www. usillegalaliens. com/impacts_of_illegal_immigration_diseases. html>