Nuclear Weapons

Homeland Defense: An Update

04.20.18 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Joint Chiefs of Staff last week issued updated doctrine on homeland defense, including new guidance on cyberspace operations, unmanned aerial systems, defense support of civil authorities, and even a bit of national security classification policy.

See Joint Publication 3-27, Homeland Defense, April 10, 2018.

Homeland defense (HD) is related to homeland security, but it is a military mission that emphasizes protection of the country from external threats and aggression.

“The purpose of HD is to protect against incursions or attacks on sovereign US territory, the domestic population, and critical infrastructure and key resources as directed,” according to JP 3-27.

Homeland defense may also function domestically, subject to relevant law and policy. “Threats planned, prompted, promoted, caused, or executed by external actors may develop or take place inside the homeland. The reference to external threats does not limit where or how attacks may be planned and executed.”

Effective homeland defense, whether abroad or at home, requires sharing of information with civilian authorities, international partners, and others.

In an odd editorial remark, the new DoD doctrine says that DoD itself keeps too much information behind a classified firewall to the detriment of information sharing.

“DOD’s over-reliance on the classified information system for both classified and unclassified information is a frequent impediment. . .,” the Joint Chiefs said.

“DOD information should be appropriately secured, shared, and made available throughout the information life cycle to appropriate mission partners to the maximum extent allowed by US laws and DOD policy. Critical to transparency of information sharing is the proper classification of intelligence and information,” the document said, implying that such proper classification cannot be taken for granted.

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