Earlier this month, the White House released a short document titled The National Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism. This is a document I’m not sure we needed, and certainly does not meet the expectations of a national strategy document. While it does outline eight distinct ‘lines of effort’ (objectives), which identify the priorities of this overall strategy, it provides no new approaches and very little substance, even for a national strategy document.
Those Lines of Effort are:
- Deny terrorists access to dangers materials, agents, and equipment
- Detect and defeat terrorist WMD plots
- Degrade terrorist WMD technical capabilities
- Deter support for WMD terrorism
- Globalize the counter-WMD fight
- Strengthen America’s national defenses against WMD terrorism
- Enhance state, local, tribal, and territorial preparedness against WMD terrorism
- Avoid technological surprise
The lines of effort are solid and practical, but are activities which are already taking place and are generally proven best practices. Though most of the descriptions for each of the lines of effort are a page or less, making the whole document read more like an executive summary. Most strategic plans usually identify some key activities (strategies) associated with each objective, which in this document are uninspiring and buried in narrative. As mentioned previous, there are also no new information or novel approaches in this document. It seems like it was prepared by an intern who was directed to synthesize some background information for a meeting. A well-developed strategy is something that can be referenced in future related activities, but this document is so unremarkable, it really doesn’t seem to matter much. Had direction been given to the National Security Council or the Department of Homeland Security, I’m confident that their subject matter experts could have developed a document that is much more meaningful. This document was a swing and a miss, providing us with nothing new or tangible in our efforts to counter WMD.
What are your thoughts?
© 2018 – Timothy Riecker, CEDP