National Security System

The National Security System

Intelligence Community/    Dept. of Defense/    Domestic Security

The challenges to national security in the 21st century increasingly stem from non-state actors, such as terrorists and insurgents, loan wolves, and cyber-terrorists, which have the ability to compromise the nation’s political and economic system.  The shifting nature of warfare has required an overhaul in the bureaucratic structure of the military and intelligence community and redefined the objectives of public safety organizations.   This section details the dizzying transformations in the national security system required to combat the threats of the 21st century.

Intelligence Community

Since the inception of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, the organizations and agencies responsible for the collection and dissemination of intelligence on national security threats has expanded to a 17-member community that crosses foreign and domestic lines.  The intelligence blunders that resulted in the 9/11 attacks transformed the compartmentalized, stove-pipe structure of the intelligence system into one focused on information-sharing and streamlining to create actionable intelligence, or information that can immediately be acted on.  This section contains primary and secondary documents on the organizations and operations of the U.S. intelligence community. [Read More…]

Department of Defense

Since the end of World War II, the United States has been one of the greatest military powers in the world.  However, terrorists and insurgents from Vietnam to Iraq have revealed and exploited the vulnerabilities of a military prepared to battle another superpower, but not a non-state actor.  The Department of Defense is reorganizing itself to improve its ability to run the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations required in modern wars.   This section contains primary and secondary sources on the changing focus and structure of the Army, Navy and Air Force.  [Read More…]

Domestic Security/Law Enforcement

The 2001 terrorist attacks were the first foreign attacks on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.  The United States responded by overhauling its domestic security system, which blurred a previously well-drawn line between foreign and domestic intelligence and security operations.  The Department of Homeland Security combined 22 federal agencies and is redefining the objectives and culture of local and state police departments.  This section contains primary and secondary documents that detail the transformations in federal, state and local organizations responsible for domestic security. [Read More…]