Printer Friendly

Pentagon corner.

Over the past several years, the threats to the nation's security have changed in a fundamental way. For more than forty years, the primary focus of the Department of Defense (DoD) was to wage and win the cold war against communism and to prevent - or, failing that, to prevail in - a hot war with the Soviet Union. Today the enemy is not so well defined.

With the demise of the Soviet Union, the counterintelligence and security countermeasures communities lost a dependable enemy. Since by their very nature these disciplines counter an opposing threat, their continued viability and relevance have been called into question. If there is nothing to oppose, the justification for the counterintelligence and security countermeasures community seems to disappear. There has been a push to identify a new enemy, and many new adversaries that have been identified are national allies.

In dealing with the new intelligence threat, people fall back on a simplistic view of the world - to look at it in terms of good versus evil - regarding cold war allies as enemies in an economically competitive international environment. But the good old days of a clearly defined enemy are probably gone forever. Modem times require a subtler and more sophisticated worldview. The new sources of the intelligence threat are the same countries whose companies American businesses are teaming up with in international partnerships and other cooperative arrangements. They are also the same countries that serve as the source of vital foreign investment into U.S. industry. And, most significant, the majority of the countries are military and political allies.

This dichotomy poses a dilemma for counterintelligence and security countermeasures practitioners - one that can undermine the relevance of industrial security in a post-cold war world if not dealt with realistically. This new threat can be handled like any other significant threat to the security of information and technology.

For example, one of the most fundamental threats to American businesses has always been the insider, the authorized employee. A company, however, cannot remain competitive for long if it regards employees as enemies. Rather, the prudent company recognizes employees as being both a potential asset and a possible risk and establishes an effective security program to manage that risk.

Americans rightfully expect protection and safeguards when doing business within the United States. They do not expect to have their business secrets targeted by the government. They do not expect to have their telephone calls intercepted or their hotel rooms searched while on business trips. However, these same rights and expectations that Americans take for granted in this country do not necessarily exist elsewhere. Accordingly, in their international dealings, especially when conducting business transactions abroad, Americans cannot and should not expect the same protection and safeguards that they take for granted at home.

Foreign companies and their governments should not be blamed for acting in what they consider to be their own best interests. Nonetheless, U.S. industry must recognize that other nations have made the deliberate national policy decision to use their intelligence forces for the economic gain of their country's industry. American contractors must realize that, as they become more involved in international business, their employees and technology become increasingly exposed to risks with which they did not have to contend in the past.

The nature of today's intelligence threat is certainly more complex than during the cold war. In dealing with this threat, it is essential not to fall back into a simplistic view of the world. Increased involvement on the part of the U.S. defense contractors with foreign firms and governments can clearly be in the national interest.

The United States will continue to rely on allied and friendly nations from an economic, military, and political perspective. These nations clearly are friends, not enemies. Nonetheless, the U.S. government and its contractors should remain vigilant.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:security
Author:Donnelly, John F.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:The business of government.
Next Article:The Legal Side of Private Security.

Related Articles
Security illumination for the 1990s.
The Pentagon's new toy.
Pentagon pollution (US lawmakers want exemption for US military operations from the Kyoto agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).
Computer Sciences Buys Nichols Research for $391m in Stock.
Preemption or perpetual war? (Insider Report).
ARAB-US RELATIONS - Dec.7 - Sanchez Sees Surge Of Iraqi Rebel Attacks.
Problems with current U.S. policy.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters