What are our threats to security?

Military Readiness

“Readiness” is a technical term in the military, but even those outside the military understand that it has to do with preparedness. For civilian and military leaders, it’s a question of whether or not we have the weapon systems and necessary manpower required to defend our country in the event of an attack. That readiness is determined first and foremost by the parameter that’s set by our military leaders who determine what the long term threats are.
Source: Honorable Bill McCollum, former Florida Congressman (1981-2001) and Florida Attorney General (2006-2011)

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” – John Stewart Mill

A chart on defense spending as a percentage of GDP
Defending America
Navy/Marine strength
An article about declining Air Force strength

Moral Values

People often look at our country and think we’re free just because we’re free. In fact, freedom takes work and effort and cooperation and constant vigilance. We are free partly because we invest in defense to protect our freedom and way of life, but we are also free because of our system of government. We have a Constitution. We have the Bill of Rights, the first tenets that protect our freedoms—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and prevent unreasonable searches and seizures. In order for those freedoms to be upheld, all citizens have to understand those values that our Founding Fathers were thinking of when they drafted the foundation documents of our nation (the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution). We expect our citizens at the local level—in our communities, in our churches and other religious institutions, in our schools, and in our civic organizations to uphold these values in order to support our freedoms. In order to do that, there has to be sense of civic responsibility, and there has to be a full understanding of the value structure that’s been in place since the birth of our nation. Today, America is not as focused on organized religion and worship as it was in the 1800s. Additionally, that which might be called America’s “civic religion”—which shaped much of the 1900s and was founded on shared values and mutual understanding that America and its institutions are exceptional—seems to be waning as well. Because of this shift there are many people who have grown up without having that moral compass which previous generations could depend on. This has created vulnerability inside the American populace, opening the door to those who would target and tear down our representative system of government, our democratic institutions and our very way of life. We see evidence of this in the successful recruitment efforts of American citizens by jihadist groups. If we don’t instill a strong set of moral values and an understanding of America’s greatness and exceptionality in the youth of our nation, we are providing a great opportunity to those who want to destroy our country by exploiting that vulnerability
Source: Honorable Bill McCollum

According to a 2012 Gallup poll 72% of Americas said they felt the moral values of the country as a whole were in decline.

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” –Benjamin Franklin

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –John Adams

What’s great about America

The Unknown Threat

Unknown threats are made all the more dangerous through their anonymous, unspecified nature. Lack of intelligence information prevents proper preparation to safeguard ourselves against these threats, which leaves us vulnerable to attacks. On October 26, 2001, President George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act (known simply as the Patriot Act) into law as a response to the attacks of September 11th. This act allowed the federal government to track and intercept communications in order to gather both foreign and domestic intelligence that could help to minimize unknown threats, including threats from terrorist organizations that are operating right here on American soil. In 2015 certain provisions of the Patriot Act expired. On June 2, 2015, the USA FREEDOM Act was introduced to replace some of these expired provisions with newer, modified versions that are more restrictive on the government’s surveillance capabilities. The Preamble of the Constitution states that part of its purpose is to “provide for the common defense” of the United States and her people. In fact, national security is the only governmental responsibility that was made absolutely mandatory by the Constitution. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for any government to provide guaranteed security against all threats. Terrorist groups manipulate the civil liberties granted to us by the Bill of Rights, staging their attacks from behind the protections offered by the Constitution. Security is not a federal guarantee against all threats, risks, or dangers, but it is a commitment of our government to protect our freedoms.

A Constitutional Basis for Defense
Link to a printable quadruple (4 ring) Venn diagram

Nuclear, Chemical, And Biological Attacks

Nuclear weapons represent a very serious threat. We know that when the atomic bomb was first developed and dropped in World War II, the world recognized the incredible damage that could be done. The after-effects included tremendous destruction, massive loss of life, and horrific, long-term injuries. We looked at our moral values as a nation and we decided we didn’t want to see that happen again. We don’t want to see it used, except in some extreme circumstance that we almost can’t imagine. Unfortunately, the technology to build such weapons now exists, and because of that, there has been a growing proliferation of nuclear capabilities across the world. The more this technology is available, the greater the threat is to the United States and its allies. Unilateral disarmament doesn’t solve the problem because it’s simply infeasible. It requires global cooperation, which we can neither achieve nor guarantee. There are lots of bad guys who, without the U.S. nuclear deterrent, could use nuclear weapons in military operations, as a tool of terror or to blackmail America and its allies. Source: Honorable Bill McCollum Chemical warfare has been employed most recently by Bashar Assad in Syria. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iraq’s Kurdish minority and against Iran. The threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) compelled the U.S. to take preemptive action against Saddam Hussein’s regime. Recent entrants into the nuclear-weapons club include Pakistan and North Korea. Iran appears poised to join that list.

An article about plans for dramatic cuts in the nuclear deterrent
Defense Intelligence Agency testimony on threats to U.S. national security (pdf)

Terrorism

Nuclear weapons represent a very serious threat. We know that when the atomic bomb was first developed and dropped in World War II, the world recognized the incredible damage that could be done. The after-effects included tremendous destruction, massive loss of life, and horrific, long-term injuries. We looked at our moral values as a nation and we decided we didn’t want to see that happen again. We don’t want to see it used, except in some extreme circumstance that we almost can’t imagine. Unfortunately, the technology to build such weapons now exists, and because of that, there has been a growing proliferation of nuclear capabilities across the world. The more this technology is available, the greater the threat is to the United States and its allies. Unilateral disarmament doesn’t solve the problem because it’s simply infeasible. It requires global cooperation, which we can neither achieve nor guarantee. There are lots of bad guys who, without the U.S. nuclear deterrent, could use nuclear weapons in military operations, as a tool of terror or to blackmail America and its allies. Source: Honorable Bill McCollum Chemical warfare has been employed most recently by Bashar Assad in Syria. Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iraq’s Kurdish minority and against Iran. The threat of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) compelled the U.S. to take preemptive action against Saddam Hussein’s regime. Recent entrants into the nuclear-weapons club include Pakistan and North Korea. Iran appears poised to join that list.

An article about plans for dramatic cuts in the nuclear deterrent
Defense Intelligence Agency testimony on threats to U.S. national security (pdf)