Most Americans live their lives without any sense of fear; unplugged from the realities of the constant danger the nation faces. Many Americans that are plugged in are often plugged into what’s trending in mainstream or social media; left to think that the President’s taxes or the end of the Kardashian’s reality show pose the biggest threat to the American way of life.
While unpleasant to think about and certainly not meant to deter living freely — Americans need to understand that real threats and real dangers face the nation on a minute by minute basis.
Last month FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Director Wray conveyed to the Committee the following “Worldwide Threats to the Homeland” —
Counterterrorism | Election Security | Lawful Access | China Threat | Cyber
This month the US Department of Homeland Security published the “Homeland Threat Assessment or HTA” that covered the following threats —
Cyber | Foreign Influence Activity | Economic Security | Terrorism | Transnational Criminal Organizations | Illegal Immigration | Natural Disasters
Reading into both of these public records from the two foremost authorities on protecting the homeland — it is conclusive that terrorism and cyber threats are persistently hovering against the United States of America. Dually, foreign actors (both nation state and non-nation state organizations) are hard at work as adversarial forces against our nation’s security and prosperity.
These threats appear not random but concerted — the common threads amongst the aforementioned public records are clear and pointed directly at the following —
China | Russia | Iran | North Korea | Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs) | Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVEs) | al-Qaeda (AQ) | Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) | Lebanese Hizballah | Mexico Cartels
Any reasonable person with an understanding of the world can see the common threads amongst the threats to the homeland. Religious, political, and societal ideologies are the primary drivers behind the threat actors — however aligned those ideologies may be are inconsequential to the core thread of a hatred and disdain for the American democracy, values, and way of life. Freedom, foundational common structure, and diversity are the very things that trigger these adversarial forces.
A Challenging Perspective
It is hard for most Americans to have any perspective on the threats facing the nation. With exception to those that experienced the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — terrorism is perceivably an anomaly to most if anything at all to some. A major reason behind that being how the US Government has successfully thwarted attacks on and within the homeland over the last 19 years.
The shadow activities of nation states like China and Russia are also challenging for the everyday American to have any perspective on — nonetheless many of which have been unwitting pawns. The list goes on for what Americans may know or see; or rather may not know or see…
So what’s the point of understanding the notion of living in a state of constant attack — while never actually experiencing or being impacted by it? There are plentiful points and purpose as follows — (1) awareness and vigilance without infringement on living freely; (2) recognition and appreciation of those that counter these threats for the nation’s security; and (3) reflection on how unique and privileged American life actually is — considering that it is under constant attack!