National Security

Pentagon Aims To Fight Terror Networks By Creating Networks Of Its Own

REUTERS/Yves Herman

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Secretary of Defense Ash Carter believes to counter terrorist organizations, the Department of Defense must create its own networks.

Carter referred to his security philosophy as “networking security” while speaking at the Center for a New American Security’s 2016 conference Monday. The theory focuses on enabling various military forces across the world to engage in coordinated action to deter conflict, protect citizenry and counter transnational threats. When it comes to countering the terrorist threat, Carter believes the U.S. and its allies must utilize regional nodes across the world.

“These so-called regional nodes – from Morón, Spain to Jalalabad, Afghanistan – will provide forward presence to respond to a range of contingencies, terrorist and other kinds … enabling unilateral crisis response, counter-terror operations, or strikes on high-value targets,” said Carter.

The Pentagon’s “forward nodes” are multi-functional. One of the most important factors in the strategy involves pre-positioning military assets that can be utilized by the U.S. and its partner when needed. According to Carter, they will also allow the ability to “innovate” everything from command-and-control to new military prototypes.

While Carter has focused on innovation during his tenure as secretary, he is certainly aware that the node concept will require changes. In particular, Carter noted that reforming the role of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is crucial. Integration of the combatant commands is “inadequately supported” by the chairman’s formal authority.

To alleviate the integration problem, Carter said the Pentagon has proposed changes to the chairman’s position as prescribed by the Goldwater-Nichols act, the 30-year-old legislation that governs the Department of Defense. These proposed changes will help the chairman spread resources globally to aid in the Pentagon’s day-to-day flexibility.

While Carter — and the Obama administration — have only around seven months in office, he believes his strategy will continue.

“And because of the investments, reforms, and changes we’re making at the Defense Department, the United States will not only remain the most powerful military and underwriter of stability and security in every region across the globe – we’ll also continue to be the leader and enabler of these networks for decades to come,” Carter concluded.

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