David Olive

Sep 15, 2010

At this morning’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing, “The Evolving Nature of Terrorism – Nine Years after the 9/11 Attacks” (a hearing worth listening to more than once), Steve Flynn committed a characteristic act of candor when he said that one of the many things that encouraged terrorist activity was the “spasmatic reaction” of Congress.

Steve Flynn is one of our country’s most credible advocates of building a resilient society. In his previous work at the Council on Foreign Relations, and now through his leadership of the Center for National Policy, Flynn has used almost every opportunity to emphasize the belief that preparedness means both prevention and a well-thought out response and recovery plan. Flynn was one of the first effective evangelists for establishing an Office of Resilience Policy within the White House, now part of the National Security Staff.

But the best part of today’s hearing was when Flynn asserted that it is Congress that undermines efforts to create a resilient nation by having “spasmatic reaction(s)” when any type of incident occurs. He is right, of course, and not one member of the Homeland Security Committee challenged his comment. That was telling in its’ own right and worth remembering.  

Days after the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, there is much upon which to reflect. One hopes that reflection occurs less “spasmatically” and more thoughtfully (and reverently) than we have witnessed over this past week.

This piece was originally posted on Security Debrief.


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