Progress in Washington

by Kevin D. Freeman on May 13, 2011

Over the past two years, we have been warning about the threat posed by economic warfare and financial terrorism. We are pleased to acknowledge some good work on the issue by the House Armed Services Committee  that was mentioned in a CNBC interview with Congressman Mac Thornberry of Texas that aired on May 6, 2011.

Here is a link to an article regarding the House Panel language:

House Panel Directs Pentagon To Size Up Economic Warfare Threats
(Inside the Pentagon – 05/05/2011)

“A House panel wants the Pentagon to prepare a study on economic warfare threats to the nation, expressing concern about the long-term vulnerability of the military to attacks designed to erode the economic health of the nation and sap investments required for the armed forces to sustain technological superiority.”

Here is the actual language from the House Armed Services Committee (note that it mentions our 2009 report):

Economic Warfare

                The committee is aware that the national security posture of the Nation is directly tied to the health and vitality of the economy. Periods of economic hardship have historically caused pressures on budgeting, execution, and planning for defense capabilities, and thus can slow or halt acquisition and modernization activities. Since U.S. military strength is underpinned by its technological superiority, the committee is aware of the direct dependency that military strength has on economic health.

                The committee is concerned that our adversaries understand this dependency, and are developing means to attack our military strength by attacking our economy. The committee is aware that in public statements and documents, Al Qaeda has discussed “bleeding the Nation dry” through economic attacks, and has conducted a number of physical attacks internationally in order to cause economic damage. In addition, other nations have written about using economic warfare to complement or support military actions. Historically, even the United States has planned for and conducted economic warfare to subvert adversaries during World War II and the cold war.

                The committee is aware that there is a 2009 report from the Irregular Warfare Support Program titled “Economic Warfare: Risks and Responses” that offered plausible scenarios about how economic warfare might be used against the United States. The committee is concerned that there does not appear to be any organization within the Department responsible for looking at the threats of economic warfare, or the impact economic attacks might have on military capabilities.

                Therefore, the committee directs the Director of the Office of Net Assessment to conduct a study on economic warfare threats to the United States and deliver a report on the findings to the Senate Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Armed Services within 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

Here is a link and transcript of the CNBC interview:

Thwarting Economic Terror Threats

Fri 06 May 11 | 02:26 PM ET

The following transcript has not been checked for accuracy.

osama bin laden dead but the threat of terror alive. particularly threats against wall street that could push america’s economy still struggling to fully recover back into recession. cnbc’s eamon javers is with us. i guess congress wants the pentagon to deal directly with wall street. reporter: that’s right. we’ve been talking about the flash crash and all the cyber hack attacks. feels like all week this week. that’s why it’s worth flagging there are concerns here on capitol hill that some of the stuff may not be the accidental rogge wave one of your previous guests were talking about but may represent a real opportunity for those with malicious intent against the united states government to inflict real economic damage on the u.s. government. take a look here at some of congress’s key concerns. you’ll see what i’m talking about earlier this week a key congressional subcommittee is asked, the pentagon’s office of net assessment, their internal think tank, to conduct a study of economic warfare and threats against the united states. congress is worried economic weakness of the united states could sap the military strength of this country going forward. and they’re also concerned there’s no one agency inside the pentagon or inside the u.s. government focused exclusively on economic warfare threats against the country. i talked to the congressman who asked the pentagon to conduct this study and hes he’s concerned about a wide range of potential threats against the united states. . we’ve already seen through cyber attacks attempts to influence nasdaq. can our banking system, our stock markets, our financial systems or other systems be attacked in some way whether through the internet or something else that would damage the country? reporter: erin, this is one congressman asking for one study. i don’t want to make too much of this but this is on the radar screens in washington. people are concerned about what other ingenious ways the united states’ enemies can reach the united states and attack us if they can’t take our military on head to head will they look for other opportunities to damage the united states. thank you very much, eamon.


All posts Copyright (c) 2011 Kevin Freeman, All Rights Reserved

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