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Homeland Security: A New Strategic Paradigm?

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Oxford University Press in "Strategy in the Contemporary World", 2nd ed., edited by John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, Colin S. Gray, and Eliot Cohen

December 2006

How has the threat of catastrophic terrorism reshaped the strategic environment? This chapter argues that in fact the threat is not dramatically new; what is new is the salience of this threat to the public in some states, particularly the United States. However, the secretive nature of counter-terrorism actions necessarily means that the public is ill-informed about the potential efficacy of government's activities and so cannot assess if their rhetoric matches their actions. Thus public statements can easily be tailored to what decision-makers think the public wants to hear, rather than to what decision-makers genuinely believe. We consequently rely on an examination of how the United States budgets and exercises for the war on terrorism to illuminate what American decision-makers believe to be the links between domestic counter-terror operations and strategy. Along the way we look at the tools states have to prepare for counter-terrorism, and the challenges of doing so.We find strong evidence that the United States remains strategically focused on relationships between states, and argue this is probably an appropriate focus.

The second edition of this successful textbook has been completely revised and updated in light of 9/11. In the aftermath of the attacks, there has been an increased need to address issues of war and peace, particularly terrorism, irregular warfare, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the revolution in military affairs.

The new edition contains a mature set of reflections on the role of military power in the contemporary world. It analyzes recent conflicts from Afghanistan to the Iraq War and looks at the ongoing debates about the lessons that can be learned from these wars. Particular attention is given to the debates about whether there has been a revolution in military affairs given the phenomenal pace of innovation in electronics and computer systems.

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