The recent successful launch of a hypersonic nuclear capable missile by China once again provides unwelcomed justification that our Intelligence Community continues to miss the mark. Unfortunately, we currently have no defensive system capable of engaging this threat to our national survival. Despite the fact that as a nation we expend billions of dollars to fund numerous three letter agencies, history has proven that those who are charged with reading the intentions and capabilities of our potential competitors are never able to get it quite right. This week’s unpleasant “surprise” is yet again another in an extensive list of American intelligence failures.
During my lifetime I have unfortunately seen first-hand :
- Our inability foresee the invasion of South Korea by the North leading to the Korean War where we maintain a force presence to this day on the Korean peninsula.
- The launch of the Sputnik satellite where the U.S. realized we were far behind the Soviet Union’s capability and technology in outer space.
- The failed and ill planned Bay of Pigs fiasco which emboldened Fidel Castro vice removed him as promised by Allen Dulles and others in the CIA.
- The manufactured Tokin Gulf “incident” which lead to our tragic involvement in Southeast Asia and the unnecessary death of over 50,000 young Americans and untold innocent civilians in combat.
- The fall of South Vietnam and subsequent lack of surrounding countries or “dominos” toppling to Communism as predicated by the intelligence establishment.
- The ousting of the CIA backed Shah of Iran by Islamic fundamentalists and the ensuing Iranian Hostage Crisis.
- The rapid fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent breakup and economic collapse of the former Soviet Union.
- The rapid rise of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism throughout the Middle East and Africa.
- The surprise attack on America on 9/11 – even though the “I & W” or intelligence and warning were present we were caught completely off guard and thus a second Pearl Harbor occurred in the lifetime of many Americans.
- The lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq – George Tenant’s failed “slam dunk’ which cost thousands of lives, cruel torture, and expenditure of unnecessary capital.
- The rapid rise of the ISIS Caliphate soon after our untimely and politically driven withdraw from Iraq.
- The rapid collapse of the Afghan government and takeover by ISIS as our Commander-in-Chief warned us in July we would “not see another Saigon.”
One of the most basic functions of our government is to ensure a strong national defense. In order to do that we must not only have robust and capable armed forces but also have an intelligence community that will facilitate the employment of these forces. In addition, they must be accurate in their assessment of threats that could impact our survival as a nation state. Unfortunately, history shows this is not the case.
To date, based on past performance it appears that we are not getting our return on our national intelligence investment – something needs to change soon – our national survival depends on it.