Rethinking National Security

When World War II ended the US was totally secure.
Since then, we have spent trillions to improve our national security.
Yet we now can be destroyed in under an hour.

What went wrong?


The Statement: In just 153 words, this statement summarizes what went wrong and how it might be fixed. Signers include a former Secretary of Defense, a former Deputy Secretary General of NATO, a former Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), and Ronald Reagan’s Ambassador to Moscow. A more complete list of signers follows the statement.

The Paper builds on the statement by briefly exploring twelve assumptions that form the foundation for our thinking on national security, but that turn out to be questionable.

Congressionally Mandated Study of Nuclear Risk: Congressman Jim Cooper, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee, realized a 10-year old dream of mine by getting Section 1674 into the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. This directs the Secretary of Defense to contract with the National Academy of Sciences for a study on the risk of nuclear war. My research indicates that the risk is on the order of 1% per year, which would correspond to worse than even odds over the roughly 80 year life expectancy of a child born today. If the study reaches similar conclusions, it will awaken society to the need to rethink national security. The report from this study is expected to be available in the fist half of 2022.

National Security and COVID-19: A few words and a great drawing powerfully communicate that we have defined national security far too narrowly. Self-described hawk and conservative columnist Max Boot makes the same point in his March 31, 2020 column.

Understanding the Level of Risk: A short story about the man in the TNT vest graphically communicates why the risk is so much greater than society realizes and a list of some post-Cold War nuclear risks dispels the myth that nuclear war is merely a nightmare of the past.

For more details, see publications 74-82 on my Publications Page, especially publication #81.

What You Can Do: Getting society to rethink its approach to national security is such a huge task that many people ask, “What difference can I make? What can I do that could possibly help?” This page lists a number of effective actions that you can take, many of which take just minutes.

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