Don’t ignore serious nonmilitary threats to US national security

Almost two decades after thousands died in the attacks of 9/11, there remain many active efforts underway to protect America from international terrorism.

Since 9/11, American domestic and international security policy has been focused on individual terroriststerrorist groups and rogue countries as the primary threats. The country’s defensive response has been focused on the military and law enforcement capabilities. That’s natural, because the military knows how to shoot, drop and launch things at threats like that. And those dangers still exist.

However, as someone who routinely analyzes threats, vulnerabilities and risks, I see the U.S. again falling prey to a decades-old problem, which the 9/11 Commission termed a “failure of imagination.” That’s when leaders miss important, relevant connections or alternatives to what they’re focused on.

Specifically, there are other, equally, if not more, dangerous risks to American national sovereignty and security, not to mention citizens’ peace of mind that they are able to live and work in a safe and secure society. The economy, climate, transportation and public utilities are all vulnerable to nonmilitary threats. Unfortunately, those weaknesses tend to receive little attention from elected officials – much less any meaningful efforts to solve them. I believe this is because dealing with such concerns isn’t immediately evident, easily profitable, politically expedient or exciting to show on TV.

Read the full piece at The Conversation.