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America's Role in the World

What Does National Security Mean in the 21st Century?

Brad Rourke

9781943028207
12 pages
National Issues Forums Institute
Overview

What Does National Security Mean in the 21st Century?

The costs and benefits of immigration have always been debated. But as we work our way out of a tough economic recession, some wonder whether newcomers, especially those arriving illegally, are compromising our quality of life, taking jobs away from those already here, and threatening our security and sovereignty as a nation...

The question facing Americans today is how to create a system that meets our diverse needs—a system that values the role immigrants play in society, takes heed of today's economic and legal responsibilities, and keeps us strong and competitive in the future.

Following are descriptions of the three options presented for consideration in the issue guide:

Option One: National Security Means Safeguarding the United States

As the war in Afghanistan winds down, we continue to face the threat of terrorism, as well as threats from Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. At the same time, traditional adversaries like Russia and China are gaining power. Our most important goal must be to safeguard the people of the United States.

Option Two: National Security Depends on Putting Our Economic House in Order

The United States cannot long remain a superpower if it is the world's largest debtor nation and runs huge budget deficits. We need to focus on increasing employment, eliminating our staggering public indebtedness and improving the balance of trade. Whatever steps we take domestically to improve the economy, it will mean spending less on the military and reducing the amount of money that flows overseas.

Option Three: National Security Means Recognizing That Global Threats Are Our Greatest Challenge

Our most urgent challenge is to address the long-term threats that endanger humanity and that demand an international solution. In the 21st century, we need to rethink what "national security" means. The greatest threats facing the United States—the risk of nuclear war, environmental devastation and global warming, pandemics, and the depletion of natural resources—also endanger other countries.

Author Bio
Brad Rourke is a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. His work includes studies of naming and framing issues in public terms and how people make decisions and work together on shared challenges in communities. Rourke is executive editor of the National Issues Forums issue books as well as other issue books produced for public deliberation. Rourke has written and co-written a number of articles and op-ed pieces, appearing in print publications such as The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Foundation News and Commentary, Campaigns & Elections, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He contributed a chapter on the ethics of citizenship to Shades of Gray (Brookings Institution, 2002). He has spoken at the National Press Club, the Brookings Institution, and the Chautauqua Institution. He is listed in Who’s Who in America. Rourke has been a Kettering associate since 2005. Prior to joining the foundation, Rourke was president of the Mannakee Circle Group, a public issues firm with clients from a cross section of the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. He was founder and publisher of Rockville Central, a hyperlocal news source he began in June 2007 that became the second most-read local blog in Maryland. He helped design and regularly participated as a lecturer in the bipartisan candidate training program of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. Rourke was senior project manager and then director of external initiatives at The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation and vice president for public policy at the Institute for Global Ethics. He has served on the staffs of then-controller of California Gray Davis and Congresswoman Jane Harman and as deputy California campaign manager for the National Health Care Campaign. Rourke received his BA in comparative literature from UC Berkeley.