Authors: Stephen E. Flynn, and Daniel B. Prieto, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Counterterrorism and National Security
Council on Foreign Relations Press
Council Special Report No. 13
The withering scrutiny that ports have received in recent weeks has highlighted America’s ongoing state of national vulnerability.
In the fifth year since 9/11, federal efforts to enlist the private sector in bolstering homeland security remain largely stillborn. In January 2005, the Council on Foreign Relations initiated a year-long project, informed by a nonpartisan working group drawn entirely from the private sector, to assess and identify practical solutions for what is inhibiting progress on this vital agenda. Neglected Defense: Mobilizing the Private Sector to Support Homeland Security is the fruits of that effort. The central finding is that the federal government has had a naïve view of what the market is able to do when left largely on its own to protect critical infrastructure. First and foremost, the private sector needs active and sustained leadership by the White House and Congress. Washington needs to set priorities based on risk and consequences versus politics as usual. It needs to move beyond clarion calls for the private sector to do more and establish smart regulations where industry seeks them and provide meaningful incentives for their early adoption. Agency heads must be held accountable for their foot dragging on information sharing. Finally, the federal government needs to resolve the questions of who pays, and tackle the many unique liability issues associated with security. Everything that can be done is not being done to redress America’s most glaring vulnerabilities.
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Stephen E. Flynn is the author of the critically acclaimed national best seller, America the Vulnerable. He is the inaugural occupant of the Jeane J. Kirkpatrick chair in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Flynn served as director and principal author for the Task Force report “America: Still Unprepared—Still in Danger,” chaired by former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman. Since 9/11, he has provided congressional testimony on homeland security matters on seventeen occasions. He spent twenty years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, including two commands at sea; served in the White House Military Office during the George H. W. Bush administration; and was director for global issues on the National Security Council staff during the Clinton administration. He holds a PhD and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a BS from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Daniel B. Prieto is director of the Homeland Security Center at the Reform Institute. Previously, he was research director of the Homeland Security Partnership Initiative and fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He has served on the professional staff of the Select Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a former technology-industry executive and investment banker. Mr. Prieto is a recipient of the International Affairs Fellowship from the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an associate member of the Markle Foundation Task Force on national security in the information age. He holds an MA from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a BA from Wesleyan University.