Homeland Defense

Dear readers,

An emerging era of great power competition presents complex challenges for homeland defenders in areas as wide-ranging as disinformation campaigns to supply chain vulnerabilities. In this edition of The Watch, we explore how these challenges are strengthening alliances, igniting technological development and invigorating efforts to counter harmful propaganda.

As NATO allies collaborate to deter an aggressive Russia, the United States is establishing a permanent military presence in Poland. The defense pact signed in August 2020 is a guarantee, Polish President Andrzej Duda said, that in case of a threat “our Soldiers are going to stand arm in arm.”

Such alliances are vital because competitors, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russia, continue to demonstrate the capability and intent to harm the national interests of the U.S., making the roles of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) more important than ever. In one article, U.S. Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of USNORTHCOM and NORAD, outlines his vision for outpacing adversaries through technological innovation and information dominance.

That shared vision brought together more than 130 teams from government, industry and every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces in dozens of locations in August and September 2020 to further field test the Advanced Battle Management System, which relies on artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality to repel attacks against the U.S. homeland.

Homeland defenders must dominate adversaries in all domains because threats do not all materialize in the form of planes, bombs or missiles. Fierce battles are being waged in the information arena, and the U.S. Global Engagement Center is on the front lines. The center combats propaganda and disinformation from Russia, Iran, the PRC and terrorist groups to stop adversaries from weakening democratic institutions or promoting civil unrest.

To make sure adversaries cannot threaten North America from the icy approaches of the Arctic, Canadian and U.S. experts are devising strategies to create a layered defensive ecosystem that includes military assets and information operations. And, finally, challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020 combined with threats from great power adversaries have demonstrated the need for defense strategies to focus on resilience. From vulnerable cyber infrastructure to China-centric supply chains, homeland defense experts are strengthening systems and duplicating supply networks to champion resilience as a strategy.

As The Watch continues to spark dialogue about homeland defense issues, we invite you to contact us at n-nc.peterson.n-ncj3.mbx.the-watch@mail.mil with your perspectives.