Earlier today North Korea launched a missile across northern Japan. this was the second time they took this very provocative action in recent weeks. This launch has understandably led to a high degree of concern among the U.S. and our allies. The U.N. Security Council has been called into emergency session to deal with this latest development.
Such a missile launch from one of the most rogue nations in the world is understandably alarming. However missiles even as they get better are not North Korea’s only threat, and not necessarily their worse threat. we must at least consider the possibility that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is more of an expensive diversion than their greatest threat. While the threat from their missiles is very real, we cannot allow ourselves to be so distracted that we ignore other very real threats.
So what else should we be concerned about ?
North Korea’s Leadership– For three generations of North Korean dictators things have gone like this. North Korea goes publically ambitious with its nuclear program. The international community “gasps.” Then things go back and forth for awhile. then the international community in a sort of diplomatic blackmail provides humanitarian relief and things calm down for a bit. The current problem is that this has allowed the North Korean program to get better than the international community can tolerate. What makes this worse is the North Korean leadership has routinely demonstrated that they have no interest in rules set by the rest of the world. The international community’s treatment of North Korea throughout its history has left it acting like a spoiled brat trying to figure out what to do when it finally has to act like an adult. North Korea’s leadership seldom shows any signs of being able to grasp logic or common sense. In fact if North Korea were a person not a country it probably would be declared mentally incompetent.
Terrorism- It is well known and has been for years that North Korea is major state sponsor of terrorism. They not only have contacts with a wide range of terrorist groups all over the world, but these contacts and groups owe them a lot of favors. One of the key vulnerabilities of this factor is they have access to a large pool of operatives who do not look Asian. This can make tracking their operatives problematic. Another aspect of this vulnerability is that terrorists are cheaper than missiles, and they may be able to leverage off operatives of their terrorist partners than could well be already in the United States !
Cyber-Attack– You could easily argue that cyber-attack is just another form of terrorism. For instance cyber-attack like terrorism is cheaper than missiles. From North Korea’s perspective it also has some of the same “hands off” advantages they get from terrorism. However the advanced state of modern cyber-warfare leads me to consider it as a separate threat. Much of our nation infrastructure depends on electronic control and monitoring circuits collectively referred to as SCADA. Under normal circumstances these circuits make things easier and even safer. Such sensors etc. allow non-stop monitoring of what is going on in even the most remote locations. Unfortunately that makes it easier for North Korea or anybody else to remotely attack our utilities and other infrastructure, even in the most far off locations. Even worse the entire attack can be carried out from anywhere in the world. Not that SCADA cannot be protected, it can be and is. Still it is a vulnerability that bears watching on a constant basis !
This is not a time for panic, but for vigilance. Nothing I have outlined here is beyond being countered. The threat from north Korea has not been greater since the 1950’s ! However if we pay attention to our surroundings, and what is going on in the world we can get through this.
ROBERT A. CRUTCHFIELD is an internationally known bi-vocational minister based in Katy, Texas. In 1986 the governor of Texas awarded him the rank of Admiral, Texas Navy. He served in the Military Police Corps-Texas State Guard, and in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary before becoming a Board Member with the U.S. Selective Service System. Following 9/11 he was named to the Homeland Security/National defense Task Force of the Republican Party of Harris County. The RPHC is one of the largest county Republican party’s in the nation. He later served as Chaplain of the Katy Fire and EMS Department.
I originally wrote this essay in 2003 during the first Gulf War. It was published in WorldNetDaily.Com’s book We Support You ! Love America. That book was compiled out of poems, essays etc. written by people all over the country. The book was a work of laove and admiration for the members of our armed services. 14 years later, this essay still very accurately portrays my love and admiration for those who defend our country. With tensions rising between our country and places like Iran, and North Korea,this essay was brought to my mind. Now seems a perfect time to reshare its insights.
America is, as you know, a great nation. Unfortunately, the responsibilities of a great and free nation fall upon its people. No one knows this better than those of you who are away from us battling our enemies. I for one sent you off with great regret. Your sacrifices are as great as our nation itself. I only wish they were unnecessary.
Unfortunately in our imperfect world logic, diplomacy, and decency sometimes fail. At these times a nation must call on its best to come to its defense.
America is blessed to have outstanding young people willing to ensure its security. This is a very nervous time for your fellow Americans. Only their knowledge of the bravery,ability, and perseverance of those at the ready to defend them that allows them to sleep well at night.
The American fighting men and women are the best, most intelligent warriors the world has ever known. You are not only an heir to this legend. Daily as you go about the defense of our great nation and the safety of the world, you are writing the next chapters of that legend.
You have already given much, and your countrymen are very grateful. I regret that we will be calling on you to give even more. I have no doubt you will do so generously.
The fight ahead will not be easy. Your country needs you more than you know. The challenge ahead is surpassed only by your ability to best it. May God watch over you, guide your steps, and return you safely to us.
Word has been rampant this week that the Office of Management and Budget is considering massive cuts to the U.S. Coast Guard’s already anemic budget. This is one of the worst ideas any administration from either party has come up with in decades, and there are several reasons why. In fact the idea is so bad, that word barely broke before a group of 23 U.S. Senators ( almost 25%) signed a letter asking that the cuts be reversed. Such a step by so many senators so early in the process is almost unheard of ! In their letter they stated in part,
““We urge you to restore the $1.3 billion cut to the Coast Guard budget, which we firmly believe would result in catastrophic negative impacts to the Coast Guard and its critical role in protecting our homeland, our economy and our environment,”
Some of the specific reasons this is such a bad idea include,
The Coast Guard is a vital cost effective multi mission agency. The Coast Guard has 11 statutory missions mandated by Congress, This missions span National Defense, Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. The fact is most of the time these missions are conducted by the same people facilities and equipment simultaneously. It is the Coast Guard’s ability to multi-task vital missions which makes it so cost effective. It also helps explain why further cuts would be so disastrous.
The Coast Guard’s capital ships and planes are rusting away. The Coast Guard’s Acquisition Budget alone has already been cut 40% between 2010 and 2015. Much like its much larger cousin the U.S. Navy too many of its ships are already serving past the end of their service life even after maintenance designed to extend their service life. This endangers the life of every Coast guard member that we ask to serve us in these outdated ships and even buildings. In their letter the group of 23 senators even point out that these cuts will likely lead to an expansion of the “ice breaker gap.” In others words there will be an eeven longer period of years where the U.S. will have NO large ice breaking capability. The need for this function is increasing with the reduction in the polar ice cap, not reducing and certainly not going away.
Moves us backward on Immigration Control Our current president campaigned hard on reducing illegal immigration. In fact part of the supposed rational behind these cuts is to finance the wall at the U.S. Mexico border. However these cuts show a severe lack of understanding, or commitment on the issue of immigration. The Coast Guard including the port Security Teams etc. have a leading role in preventing illegal immigration. Hardening the target against illegal immigration by building a wall at the U.S./Mexico border will force those involved to attempt to find another way in. This makes the Coast guard’s contributions in the area of immigration control more vital than ever, not less so. In fact a strong argument can be made that the border wall, and Coast guard anti-immigration efforts are and must be part of the same strategy and must both be funded accordingly.
Puts Drugs on the Streets. The Coast guard is thought of as a sea going service, and for good reason. However there is not a street in America it does not protect. The service’s drug interdiction efforts alone take tons of drugs of American streets every year. Cut the funding and those drugs will go straight back on our streets. The link between the international drug cartels and funding international terrorism also cannot be ignored. By cutting the Coast Guard’s budget not only do we put drugs on our streets, but bring better funding to groups around the world who would bring violence to our door steps !
The Coast Guard is an easy target for budget cuts because most Americans give it little thought. That is partly intentional. The better the Coast Guard performs its 11 statutory missions the less we should have to thing about it. However because of the reasons above an others we need to defend OUR Coast Guard against those who would slash its budget after it has already been slashed so much, so many times.
Robert A. Crutchfield was granted the rank of Admiral, Texas Navy by the Governor of Texas in 1986 at the age of 24. He served as a staff officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary from 1990-1995. He has also served as Chairman of the Republican Party of the Sixth State Senate District of Texas. Later he was a local board member with the U.S. Selective Service System. He also is a Life Member of the Navy League of the United States.
BOSTON – The Coast Guard is scheduled to participate in Operation Dry Water Friday through Sunday as part of a nationally coordinated effort to reduce the number of accidents and deaths related to boating under the influence.
Operation Dry Water is a year-long campaign with heightened enforcement leading up to the Fourth of July, a period known for increased boating and alcohol use.
Coast Guard boarding officers will be on the water educating boaters about the dangers of boating under the influence and detecting boaters who are impaired.
Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is against federal law, and boat operators found to be under the influence can incur severe penalties including termination of voyage, arrest, fines, and even loss of boating and driving privileges.
Boating under the influence of drugs or alcohol endangers the operator’s life and the lives of others. Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. Impairment can be even more dangerous for boaters than drivers because the sun, wind, noise, and motion of being on the water can intensity the effects of alcohol. Also, most boaters have less experience driving a boat than a car.
“The combination of alcohol and inexperience can be deadly,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Thomas Ciarametaro, a tactical coxswain and boarding officer at Coast Guard Station Boston. He said boating under the influence has been a factor in recent accidents in the Boston area, and continues to be a major problem nationwide.
In fact, alcohol consumption is the leading cause of boating deaths. Alcohol is also dangerous for boating passengers. Intoxication can lead to slips, falls overboard and other dangerous accidents.
BUI laws pertain to all vessels, from canoes and rowboats to the largest ships.
In 2014, 585 local, state and federal agencies participated in the 72 hours of heightened BUI enforcement. Over the three-day weekend, law enforcement contacted 146,711 boaters, made 318 BUI arrests, and issued 18,607 citations and warnings for safety violations.
For more information on Operation Dry Water, please visit operationdrywater.org.
TUCSON – Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally today announced her placement on the House Armed Services Committee, a committee responsible for overseeing U.S. military policy and the Department of Defense. With two major military installations in Southern Arizona and a growing defense industry presence, the Armed Services Committee represents a key assignment for McSally.
“I’m honored to serve on a committee that has such a large impact on our district and country,” said McSally. “The Armed Services Committee plays a key role in ensuring our military is ready and able to defend America, its interests, and its citizens, and with two major military bases in Southern Arizona in Davis-Monthan and Fort Huachuca, you couldn’t ask for a better assignment.”
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Martha to the committee, and we are excited about what she brings to the table,” said Armed Services Chairman-select Mac Thornberry. “With her many years’ experience serving in the military and extensive national security expertise, there’s no doubt Martha will be a strong asset to the committee, a strong leader for our country, and an effective advocate for the people she represents.”
As a member of the Armed Services Committee, McSally will have direct input on legislation affecting U.S. military policy. McSally, who retired from the Air Force as a full Colonel in 2010, served 26 years in uniform and holds two masters degrees-one from Harvard and one from the U.S. Air War College-focused on national security. She also served in two joint assignments and six deployments to the Middle East/Afghanistan for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and led oversight of counter-terrorism missions in Africa.
McSally has declared victory in the race for CD-2 after initial counting of all ballots showed her leading the incumbent by 161 votes. Due to the slim margin of victory, an automatic recount of all ballots has been ordered and is underway.
A disturbing report coming out of Minneapolis. What is really disquieting is how many open questions remain about this individual and his work at the airport there. Note that he had no criminal record that would prevent him from working at the airport. This means that we may never be able to know how many ISIS fighters have worked, or even now are working at our ports, airports etc.
That much is bad enough. But what is even worse is how much information about airport operations, security procedures etc. was passed on to ISIS by this individual and others ? It is not possible to completely secure our ports, and airports. The continued vigilance of loyal, patriotic Americans is our last best chance. This is a war, and we are all on the front lines ! Remain alert always !
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz warned that terrorists will target the West if the world does not unite to confront them. King Abdullah made the statement during a presentation of credentials ceremony held in Jeddah yesterday for new ambassadors to Saudi Arabia, including U.S. Ambassador Joseph W. Westphal.
“If neglected I’m sure they [terrorists] will reach Europe in a month and America in another month,” said King Abdullah.
King Abdullah called on the ambassadors to convey to their governments the importance of a united pledge to confront terrorism. “The evils of terrorism must be fought with force, reason and speed,” he added.
King Abdullah also underlined the sanctity of human lives which terrorists ignore. “They even kill themselves,” said King Abdullah.
King Abdullah called for the establishment of an international center to combat terrorism more than 10 years ago out of his firm belief that terrorism can be most effectively fought when nations work closely together in all areas. In 2005, Saudi Arabia hosted the Counter-Terrorism International Conference in Riyadh during which the proposal for the establishment of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT) was unanimously adopted. King Abdullah pledged $10 million to the U.N. to establish the center and, in 2011, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with the U.N. to launch the UNCCT. Earlier this month, King Abdullah provided the center with a donation of $100 million to enhance its capabilities and effectiveness in helping countries combat terrorism.
SOURCE Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Information Office