What is Security?

What is National Security?

Some measure of security and order is essential for the maintenance of liberty. In healthy societies, there is a delicate balance between security and liberty. Too much security leads to oppressiveness, and too much liberty leads to lawlessness and disorder. The National Security Act of 1947, and later the National Security Act Amendments of 1949, were both signed by President Truman during the early years of the Cold War. These were instrumental in the development of a strong national defense.They mandated several key changes for the United States that continue to be absolutely essential to our national security today, including:

Some measure of security and order is essential for the maintenance of liberty. In healthy societies, there is a delicate balance between security and liberty. Too much security leads to oppressiveness, and too much liberty leads to lawlessness and disorder. The National Security Act of 1947, and later the National Security Act Amendments of 1949, were both signed by President Truman during the early years of the Cold War. These were instrumental in the development of a strong national defense.They mandated several key changes for the United States that continue to be absolutely essential to our national security today, including:

  • Splitting the War Department into the Department of the Army and the Department of the Air Force
  • Reorganizing these departments, along with the Department of the Navy, under the umbrella of the newly formed Department of Defense
  • Establishing the National Security Council
  • Establishing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” –George Washington )

“This legislation as a whole represents a great advance. Action will be taken under it, both immediately and in the long run, to achieve increased efficiency and economy and greater organization of our military forces. I believe that this act will permit us to make real progress toward building a balanced and effective national defense.” – Excerpt from President Harry Truman’s statement upon signing the national Security Act Amendments of 1949

Website for the National Security Council

What is Homeland Security?

For Americans, homeland security is a relatively new national security effort concentrated on preventing threats to the U.S. homeland, responding to attacks on the U.S. homeland, and being resilient in the face of such threats and attacks. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to coordinate and more effectively respond to terrorist threats. 22 separate federal agencies and departments comprised of over 160,000 men and women were brought together and reorganized to form DHS. DHS is responsible for preventing terrorism and enhancing our nation’s security, securing and managing our borders, enforcing and administering U.S. immigration laws, securing cyberspace, and managing responses to natural disasters. Homeland Security is all about keeping the United States a safe place for all of us to live.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” – Wendell Phillips

Website for the Department of Homeland Security

What is Economic Security?

One of the main causes of economic instability is inflation. When inflation increases, the value of money decreases proportionately. If those conditions continue, it can lead to an economic crisis, such as the Great Depression of 1929, which lasted an entire decade. Another instance of economic crisis occurred in Germany after World War I. The war had left Germany buried in debt and without any benefactors willing to lend it money. To compensate, the German Bank began printing an excess of paper money and loaned it to the government, which led to massive inflation. The currency became so worthless it took a wheelbarrow of paper money to buy one loaf of bread. Hitler’s rise to power—and the consequent loss of freedom for many German citizens—were attributed to Germany’s post war economic situation. America’s historic ability to borrow money (through the sale of U.S. Treasury bonds and notes) from foreign countries and from the citizens of those countries has been tied to two factors. First, the United States has never defaulted on its debt, and second, other countries recognize our political system as being the most stable in the world.

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Department of Homeland Security’s page on economic security

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is an essential part of national and homeland security that is responsible for the defense of computers, networks, and data. Ensuring the security of cyberspace has become absolutely crucial as technological advances have changed the way we live our lives. For example, even our access to electricity is controlled through cyberspace. Our energy distribution grid (or simply “energy grid”) is controlled through computers, which makes it a target for cyber-attacks. A successful cyber-attack on the energy grid could lead to mass blackouts. A blackout of this level is not only an inconvenience, but could be highly dangerous; traffic lights would go out, there would be no a/c or heating in extreme weather conditions, and a power outage leaves places such as hospitals dependent on their finite supply of back-up generator power. Between 2013 and 2014, there were 224 hacking incidents at energy companies. Banks, airlines, large corporations, small businesses—even the federal government are all potential targets for hackers to attack. As we move into the cyber age, the need for an impenetrable cyber defense has become imperative.

“We need to educate any and all who transmit through cyberspace that their transmissions can be, and probably are being, intercepted for intelligence– or perhaps just for information damaging to the sender.” General Frederick J. Kroesen

The Department of Homeland Security’s webpage on cyber security

What is personal security?

Much of what would fall under the umbrella of personal security relates to the natural rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and other amendments to the Constitution. These amendments were created to prevent unreasonable government interference in our personal lives, to secure our right to protect ourselves, and to ensure a fair system of justice through due process. John Locke—whose writings helped to inspire the American Revolution and great men such as Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams—firmly believed that governments were obligated to serve the people and to protect their natural rights of life, liberty, and property.


“The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it… that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions… ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of life, the liberty, health limb, or goods of another.”

–John Locke, The Two Treatises of Civil Government(1689)

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights