Securing this Nation during the Pandemic.

Podcast Episode 072920

Hello and welcome to this week’s show. I hope that you are staying strong amidst the chaos surrounding this pandemic. The unfortunate fact is that I’m not sure we’re ever going to get back to life before the pandemic, there are too many people out there that haven’t taken it seriously and they have (and will continue to) prolong its infection rate.  However, today I want to discuss some of the threats to our national security, and maybe some possible fixes. While I hope I enlightened you a little last week with our discussion about defunding the police, I wanted to drill down a little further into the major, large scale crimes that affect the US Security as well know it. This is not going to be about foreign affairs or the effect of any other country other than our own. I do, however, want to address real-world threats that each of us may find in our towns, or God forbid our front doors.

Whenever one identifies any threats against the US, one has to consider the multitude of living arrangements we have in this country. Discussing the importance of riots in Seattle & Portland does very little for the small, rural towns across the country. Discussing illegal immigration across the border of Mexico to the Southwestern US does not have an impact when speaking to people of rural Montana. Likewise, illegals coming into Florida has absolutely zero effect on the midwest. So, with this kind of thinking in mind, let’s identify and discuss some of the National threats that need to concern ALL Americans. I live as far removed from the mob mentality as possible here in Alaska, so while there are threats, those threats may not be mere as imposing as it is for the lower 48,  and some specific cities down there.

The Governmental Accounting Office (GAO) published a report in December of 2018 regarding the “Long-Range Emerging Threats Facing the United States As Identified by Federal Agencies”. Now, to make sure I’m not taking things out of context, I will admit that the reporting group was provided with an additional 200+ items that were not identified in their four (4) major areas that consisted of twenty-six (26) areas of the highest priority. So, based on this report, let’s talk about their items contained in the report, and break each one down to understand the impact that it could potentially have on our lives, more importantly, how will it affect our lives differently.

  1. Adversaries’ Political and Military Advancements
    1. Chinese Global Expansion
    2. Russian Global Expansion
    3. Iranian Political and Military Developments
    4. North Korean Military Developments
    5. Foreign Government Capacity and Stability
    6. Terrorism
    7. New Alliances and Adversaries
    8. Information Operations
  2. Dual-Use Technologies
    1. Artificial Intelligence
    2. Quantum Information Science
    3. Internet of Things
    4. Autonomous and Unmanned Systems
    5. BioTechnology
    6. Other Emerging Technologies
  3. Weapons
    1. Weapons of Mass Destruction
    2. Electronic Warfare
    3. Hypersonic Weapons
    4. Counterspace Weapons
    5. Missiles
    6. Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Platforms
    7. Aircraft
    8. Undersea Weapons
    9. Cyber Weapons
  4. Events and Demographic Changes
    1. Infectious Diseases
    2. Climate Change
    3. Internal and Informational Migration

Let’s identify the four major areas identified by the report, then I’ll add one or two of my own. Of all the points I’d like to convey to you is the idea that you can either: Panic (because this is doom and gloom kinda stuff), or recognize it for what it is (and move on with life). I propose the moving on trajectory myself, as many of these identified threats have been going on for decades, maybe even centuries. So, while these are all listed as threats to the American intelligence personnel, they may not have a direct effect on the American people.

ONE: Adversaries’ Political and Military Advancements

This one is rather tricky, because, just within the borders of the United States you have several conflicting political parties that are constantly in-fighting amongst each other thereby causing unrest in many locations throughout the country. As soon as you have any amount of outside politics playing a role, then the whole system gets a little sideways. For the most part, other than dumb laws passed, the average American won’t see the political side of this, oh yea, sorry I forgot about the endless political ads you’ll see everywhere. Now the military advancement side of this gets a little bit more clear cut. While knowing in your heart that the average citizen has very limited knowledge of the firepower available to the US military, foreign military forces are being just as creative in ensuring that they are caught up. What does that mean for the average Joe, not a whole lot? Other than hearing about the international “Saber Rattling”, American citizens will never know the wrath of the US military or any other military forces for that matter. The last section of this deals with Terrorists, and the modern definition of terrorism can be quite different depending on who you get your definition from. Terrorism is defined by Merriam-Websters as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion”. This means that someone uses terror to coerce you to change your mind or plans. In its simpler form, when young boys held out slimy frogs in an attempt to make a young girl scream and run away, that was terrorism. When idiots take to the streets of a city, destroying public property, and blocking roads, that is terrorism. Sound familiar? Yea, no kidding. How can you hinder terrorism? To be effective, terrorism must terrorize its victim, and most importantly change their plans. Remember the definition includes the word “coercion”. Going back to our trusty dictionary, we find the word “Coerce” which means: 1) to compel to an act or choice, 2) to achieve by force or threat, and 3) to restrain or dominate by force. Are you starting to understand that most of the current political tension going on in larger cities right now are by their very deliberate actions, terrorism? So, using this as our yardstick, how then can we decide what is terrorism, versus, trying to have our voices heard? So, from a lay-persons view, you may witness terrorism. But you need to understand that the overall objective of trying to make something better using these types of tactics is flawed at its very core. We spoke last week about private security being hired to protect property and people when someone felt terrorized. I think we are going to see a defined rise in private security in this country.

Within the scope of terrorism, I like to include the section for anarchists and idiots, because they are usually one and the same. Anarchists are individuals who feel that there is too much control protruded from the US government at each level and will do anything that they can to upset that perceived control. I like to call these people idiots because many of them have no idea what they are saying. Here in the United States, they use their first amendment rights to preach their rhetoric about freedom, not really understanding that they do have the freedom to say what they want. Under some international regimes, there is a bonafide place for anarchist, however, their impact here in the states typically boils down to riots and unrest. Which boils down even further to possible property damage and/or personal injury for citizens trapped in the unrest zone. The key here is personal preparation to possibly relocate to a more safe place.

I personally think that criminal families and drug cartels have the capability to create just as much damage as foreign governments do. With their acquired potential to wage full out war, we have the potential to witness bloodshed at record levels. However, I think that many of these organizations are more interested in staying out of sight in lieu of waging war against the government or law officials. The impact that the average citizen will see will be the influence of drugs on our children, as well as the potential of our kids getting involved in human trafficking throughout the world. I personally believe that these groups additionally target places of unrest in an attempt to help people “escape” thereby capturing them into the world of the trafficked.

TWO: Dual-Use Technologies

As you read the report, you’ll come across Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Information Science, Autonomous and Unmanned System and BioTechnology and get your heart racing thinking about living in the time of the Terminator. We’re nowhere close to that yet, so don’t worry too much about it. However, we are very close to having pretty solid Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is just a warm a fuzzy name meaning that software can produce thought based on memory and “choose” a forward path. You see a version of that every day when you get mail, and/or packages from UPS or FedEx. Whenever you call a business and it asks you to select 1 for English, this is a very basic form of AI. So, your interface to this is commonplace today, however, when it is programmed to do something inappropriate, then you have an issue, and if that programming came from somewhere else, then you have a serious issue. The other aspect of this section that you face every day is the unmanned systems or (drones). These are also pretty commonplace nowadays. Matter-of-fact, you may have one or know a neighborhood guy who has one. The difference here is when they are programmed to perform nefarious tasks. Whenever a weapons system is mounted on them, it changes the game completely. I know what you’re saying, “great drones with guns or bombs…”, however, chances are these are not the weapon systems that will be deployed. Most likely the weapons deployed will be electronic counter-measures or aerosols in spray containers… all these types are most likely going to be used. Now, this is not to defuse the possibility of high powered explosives strapped to a drone that flies into a populated governmental building… This stuff could happen. But, again, I don’t think there is much probability of it.

If this one doesn’t keep you up all night, it’s probably because you haven’t worked in the telecommunications security industry. As a long-term professional in the computer networking and telecommunications field the idea that the US government considers the “Internet of Things” to be a threat against national security is the single largest understatement, I’ve heard my whole life. Yea, the internet is a threat. Not just to national security, but right down the food chain to you and I. Between hackers using our hardware and identities, slimy human traffickers attempting to lure our children, or pedophiles attempting to rob our children of their innocence, yes the internet can be a horrible thing. In most Eastern countries the internet (and things available over it) are locked down by the government. So yea, you should shut your computers off at night, and disconnect from the Internet periodically just to ensure your safety, as well as that of your family. Remember internet security if everyone in your home personal responsibility. Using the internet to accomplish Information Operations is the cornerstone of intelligence in these modern times. More confidential data is passed across Facebook and Twitter today (in one day) that had ever transferred hands between spies of the 80s & 90s. Although Information Operations is included under our first section, the Internet of Things has brought interconnectivity like never before in the history of humankind, so therefore it is only reasonable to assume that this connectivity is the breeding ground for information gathering.

THREE: Weapons

While weaponry is a very intimidating topic, the regular American has no real worry here with the exception of cyber weapons. We have seen a marked rise in cyber attacks by organized teams, and rogue members of the cyber world against fairly important targets here in the US.  These attacks are carried out being launched from different locations, with a notable size being launched from secondary infected systems along the strike path. These are computers that more often than not are left on overnight and eventually compromised, thereby giving those cyber thieves access to what they need, or want. The average American’s personal data is only a paycheck for most of these types of individuals, whereas they sell your personal information to further their real objective of getting something really important. In many cases, most average citizens don’t understand their standings in the ladder of cyberattacks.  {Explained in further detail during podcast}

FOUR: Events and Demographic Changes

Well, the first topic within this section we’ve been pretty much living now for several months. With the jury still out about the warfare foundation of the COVID-19 virus infection throughout the world, we should have a very substantial understanding of the impact of infectious diseases at this point. The frightening part of the impact here was the (flat out) inability to stop it. So, when it comes to evaluating the impact of infectious diseases on average citizens, we know that the ability to cripple the supply chain could become a major objective, and this could be a very effective method in getting that done. While Climate Change is a very substantial concern, because of the enormity of the problem I feel that most Americans don’t seriously consider it a threat to national security, and certainly not something that they should (or can) do something about. However, the effect of Climate Change brings abnormal weather patterns that can and will disrupt the average citizen. While Climate change itself seems to be a substantial issue, the localized effects will be felt in almost every location throughout the world. This doesn’t mean it’s not important, it just has very little concern for the average citizen. The final section of our governmental report speaks to Internal and Informational migration, and this is only moderate visible to the average citizen. We saw evidence of this when a large caravan migrated up through Mexico to the southern border of the US attempting to escape the drug wars in Central America in early 2018. In the SouthWestern US, this type of influx of people to that area would have decimated law and order, as well as public resources within that area. So we all understand that large migrations of people have a tendency to upset the balance of an area, particularly when those individuals require public resources. We all have witnessed time and time again, the migrants throughout different areas of the Middle-East, and Africa. What does it mean for us average citizens? Well depending on where you live, the impact could be substantial, leaving the average citizen without supplies, or public support resources. However, the good news is, there are many organizations that could quickly step in and provide support for citizens within the area.


As we’ve discussed, the world is filled with threats to our national security, but there are tons of agencies (many with the alphabet soup for their names) that are designated and dedicated to preventing these threats. Our job as citizens of this country is to join together as Americans to help those agencies do their job, and protect our young and infirm. Stand firm against the face of terrorism, both from within or foreign driven. We, as Americans, need to work at preventing these threats from dividing us. Know who are our friends, and be mindful of our children. We will get through this together, as Americans.

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