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James R. Locher III
James R. Locher III is the executive director of the Project on National Security Reform. PNSR is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization working to develop a U.S. national security system to address a new international security environment characterized by complexity, uncertainty and speed � a world that is vastly different than the system created through the outdated National Security Act of 1947. Locher has more than 25 years of professional experience in both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. Most notably, in 1985, Locher was assigned responsibility for strategy and organization for the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He directed the bipartisan staff effort that resulted in the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and served as the senior staffer for the special operations and low-intensity conflict reform legislation, known as the Cohen-Nunn Amendment. President George H. W. Bush appointed Locher to the post of assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict in October 1989. He supervised the special operations and low-intensity conflict activities of the Department of Defense, performed as the principal civilian adviser to the secretary of defense on these matters, and represented the secretary in senior subordinate groups of the National Security Council. He served as assistant secretary throughout the Bush administration and first five months of the Clinton administration. During the latter period, Locher also served as acting under secretary of defense for policy. Upon leaving government service in June 1993, he was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the department's highest civilian award. Since 1993, Locher has been consulting, lecturing, and writing.

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May 14, 2010 03:10 PM

It is, of course, only a matter of time before a domestic terror attack is once again successful. The Times Square and Detroit incidents obviously call into question how we stop an inbound terrorist from boarding an airplane in Amsterdam or a fleeing terrorist from escaping through JFK. But these terror attempts pose much more fundamental issues of how our government establishes strategic security objectives, determines budget priorities, develops long-term capabilities, and assesses whether our actions are making us safer. We must focus our attention well beyond information sharing and connecting the dots. Today’s complex security environment requires seamless interplay among our diplomatic, security assistance, border security, military, and intelligence communities.

The difficult questions implied by these two near-tragic incidents include: How do we address the continued existence of violent terrorist cells scattered around the globe? How do we establish effective assistance programs to help developing countries control their borders? How do we cut off t

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