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Moira Whelan on the Progressive Counterterrorism Agenda

For my piece today I present a number of progressive agenda-items for a new counterterrorism policy. But naturally I couldn’t include everything that my reporting found without turning a 1700-word piece into a corpulent monstrosity. That’s what the blogosphere is for!

So, for instance, I couldn’t include what Moira Whelan of the National Security Network told me. NSN, you’ll recall, was founded by Rand Beers, who’s now in charge of the Obama team’s homeland security transition team. Here’s what Moira thinks a new counterterrorism agenda ought to include:

Language training and incentives for public service in this sector to prevent talent from learning the skills and then going to a contractor, but also to keep talent in. I’m also talking about technical skills here.

It’s a real concern. Last year, Bob Gates noticed that private security firms were poaching talented soldiers and marines — and especially Special Forces people — with the lure of more money than the Pentagon was offering. He put a stop to it, at least on paper, but it’s hardly a concern just for the military. The big northern-Virginia military contractors have intelligence branches that pay way more than the intelligence community, as do many of the big consulting firms.

You want a top-flight security apparatus, one that’s as smart as it is powerful? It’s going to cost you.

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