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Our nation is under attack by strong and persistent cartel networks based in Mexico and in the U.S. In response, we have an urgent need to significantly strengthen our homeland security network.
Our dedicated law enforcement and security professionals continue to risk their lives every day to make us all safer, and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Those charged with protecting us against these cartel networks must succeed! But how?
There is an important lesson learned on the failure to “connect the dots” against networks determined to do us harm.
In late 2001, National Security Council (NSC) Counterterrorism Security Group Chairman Dick Clarke came before the September 11 Commission and testified that “Your government failed you…” – the NSC didn’t connect the dots.
That failure permitted the al-Qaeda terrorist network to succeed in attacking the American homeland.
Now, 21 years later, our government is failing us again, in the same way. The top levels of our Homeland Security enterprise urgently need to “connect the dots” today and use the vast variety of information available to them to make our homeland security enforcement network stronger against the clear and present danger posed by the cartel network organizations that conduct human, sex and drug trafficking– particularly fentanyl; throughout the US.
The reality is that the cartel networks in Mexico (using their network tentacles in the US) are at war with us and are intent on inflicting pain and devastation every day in pursuit of their ill-gotten gains.
Every day the leadership in the Homeland Security and Justice Departments receive comprehensive reports from the Intelligence Community (IC), but those findings fail to translate into effective policy and strategy that strengthens our network against the cartels.
Those findings include the “known-known” Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports on drug cartel distribution of fentanyl distribution and the limitations of Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s capability to scale to address the threat.
Why? They are not organized for success.
A presidential administration needs to have organizational support for the policy and strategy response.
Regretfully, when the Biden administration put together its National Security Organization, Homeland Security policy coordination against the cartels had to compete against Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
You can’t effectively “connect the dots” or manage policy and strategy against the cartels without the expertise or organizational authority to make the fight a national priority.
One recommendation would be to model a proven organizational process to “connect the dots” and govern homeland security issues used by former president George W. Bush with his Executive Order 13228.
From my experience, a revised Executive Order 13228 could be drafted and promulgated by the president within a day and new newly established Homeland Security Council could be up and operational within a week.
Once established, the IC and agency professionals at Justice (DEA), Defense (SOUTHCOM), Homeland Security (CBP and USCG) can bring forward their recommendations against the cartels and their networks throughout the US.
This focus would help “connect the dots” through strategic communication that provides Colin Powell-style efficiency using a macro slide that illustrates the cartel networks operating in the US, the top 3 focal points to “cut off and kill” the cartel networks and executive authority to surge homeland security task forces to the top three areas.
Once established, the office of the Homeland Security Adviser would be able to strategically communicate and lead efforts to “connect the dots” and prevent and disrupt the ongoing malign effects from human trafficking, terrorism and fentanyl distribution.
In conclusion, we cannot continue on our present course. Our Homeland Security professionals need organizational assistance from the Biden Administration NOW to establish an effective policy and strategy process to address the array of challenge from the cartel networks. Our government is failing us again and the top levels of our Homeland Security urgently needs to “connect the dots” against the cartel networks in Mexico and throughout the US.
As we said in the Bush administration against al-Qaeda – “it takes a network to defeat a network” and the need to defeat the cartel network against their nefarious human, drug and drug trafficking of narcotics and fentanyl operations has never been more important.
So I hope the Biden administration will reorganize tomorrow, because the dots are there to connect, and the American people demand a response. Failure is not an option.