A Prescription for Protecting the Southern Approach
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Protecting the United States from attack is a core mission of the Department of Defense DOD. Historically, the Armed Forces provided a shield against conventional threats at sea and through an integrated air defense system developed during the Cold War. As the events of September 11, 2001, demonstrated, however, the Nation must confront nonstate adversaries who target the United States and its interests at home and abroad. The 2005 Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support directs an active, layered defense that seamlessly integrates military capabilities within the United States, in the geographic approaches to its territory, in the forward regions of the world, and through space and cyberspace. In other words, it is defense-in-depth. The challenge of asymmetrical threats led DOD to create U.S. Northern Command USNORTHCOM in 2002 to protect the homeland. Charged with coordinating security cooperation with Canada and Mexico, this command must detect potential threats, dissuade adversaries, and defeat direct attacks. Furthermore, USNORTHCOM supports civil authorities within the continental United States, Alaska, and U.S. territorial waters. The command plays a leading role in improving threat awareness and guarding the geographic approaches to protect the Nation at a safe distance. To the north, east, and west, the framework for a coordinated defense of land, sea, and air domains with Canada is highly developed. To the south,however, DOD faces formidable hurdles to organizing a layered defense. Planning for a coordinated defense to the south often defies conventional strategic thinking. Although all states there, with the possible exception of Cuba, are trying to stamp out the triple menace of drugs, corruption, and violence, which also threatens the United States, there are serious resource scarcities, and most security.
- Government and Political Science
- Civil Defense
- Defense Systems