The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


From "Defending Forward" to a "Global Defense-In-Depth": Globalization and Homeland Security

From 'Defending Forward' to a 'Global Defense-In-Depth': Globalization and Homeland Security - cover

Authored by Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria II, Prof. Bert B. Tussing..

October 2003

32 Pages

Brief Synopsis

The authors have examined the scope and substance of our National Security Strategy for Homeland Security (NSHS). Disturbingly, they find that the NSHS fails to address the challenges that globalization poses for the security of the American homeland. The NSHS focuses primarily within the nation's borders and lacks a comprehensive approach to the problem of homeland security, a problem of global proportions. To remedy these deficiencies, the authors propose a strategic way-a Global Defense-in-Depth-that, among other things, employs some of the opportunities afforded by globalization to address its challenges.


In July of last year, the Bush administration published the National Strategy for Homeland Security (NSHS) which, while commendable in many ways, failed to take into account the effects of globalization in planning for the nation’s security. Safeguarding America’s homeland in an era of globalization requires a more comprehensive approach based on a “global defense-in-depth.”

The NSHS amounts to little more than a strategic directive for the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS), rather than a national strategy. It focuses principally on activities that take place within the nation’s borders, making only a brief genuflection to the need for international cooperation. Other than a passing reference to Northern Command and its envisioned responsibilities in civil support, the NSHS fails to address the roles that the U.S. military’s combatant commands should play. Finally, the NSHS fails to incorporate newly emerging technologies into an overarching strategic concept, or way, that would contribute to keeping Americans safe.

To be sure, an internal focus with regard to protecting the homeland is at least partially warranted. However, the NSHS’s shortsightedness overlooks the ways in which globalization—which is increasing the real and virtual mobility of people, things, and ideas worldwide—exacerbates the problem of safeguarding the homeland. The increased mobility of people, things, and ideas means that an attack against the American homeland need not take place on U.S. soil, and that the range of potential negative effects that could result from such attacks has increased. Consequently, America’s homeland security challenge cannot be seen as merely a national problem; it is a problem of global dimensions.

To address homeland security in terms of today’s challenges requires a global perspective. Accordingly, the NSHS should establish a “global defense-in-depth” characterized by an improved defensive coverage that uses a worldwide continuum of networked surveillance and intelligence-gathering systems to cover multiple intercept points for people, weapons, and dangerous materials, and that is linked to resources dedicated to reacting instantly to identified threats. This network must also include local law enforcement agencies and organizations. One logical nexus for tying together these various elements is the new Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC), established May 1, 2003. Much of the technology necessary to begin erecting such a continuum already exists, or is under development.

A global defense-in-depth would entail extending the deployment of permanent chemical, biological, and radiological sensors—such as those currently being deployed in major U.S. cities and subway systems—beyond U.S. borders to key population centers overseas. It would also involve continuous monitoring and tracking of suspected terrorists and other criminals. While legal constraints can—and should—limit the monitoring or tracking of personnel within the United States, such restrictions do not apply to monitoring physical structures, such as high-security areas and key pieces of infrastructure like bridges, tunnels, airports, and border crossings. In terms of cyber-security, a global defense-in-depth would employ a more decentralized approach based on the cooperation and vigilance of individuals worldwide in both the public and private sectors. It would also include political, economic, and socio-cultural forms of national power in critical roles aimed at crushing an immediate threat as well as bringing about changes that would prevent its resurgence. All of this will, of course, require significant international cooperation centered on a coherent agenda that includes forums through which participating nations, particularly poorer ones, have opportunities to air their concerns about the unintended consequences of a global defense-in-depth.


• The DHS, the DoD, the intelligence community, and other federal agencies and organizations must think of homeland security—in all of its dimensions—in global terms. All of the regional combatant commands, for example, have geographic responsibilities under homeland security, and as a minimum their Theater Cooperation Programs (TCPs) should be integrated into the NSHS.

• The next iteration of the NSHS should feature as its centerpiece a global defense-in-depth—a seamless continuum characterized by greater intelligence capabilities, enhanced visibility of areas and objects of concern, and multiple types of rapid intercept capabilities. Such a continuum will require a reexamination of the division of responsibility between DHS and DoD to ensure command and control are transferred effectively.

• DoD should invest more in the research and development of dual-use technologies appropriate for military forces as well as law enforcement agencies. Concurrently, DoD should do a better job of informing DHS (and the other organizations that play a role in homeland security) of existing dual-use technologies as well as those currently under development.

• The NSHS and the national security strategy must complement each other. Efforts to defend the homeland against immediate threats should complement those aimed at achieving peace and stability abroad.

• The NSHS should do more than refer to the need for international cooperation; it should outline a general plan for building that cooperation.

Access Full Report [PDF]: From "Defending Forward" to a "Global Defense-In-Depth": Globalization and Homeland Security

Join the mailing list