Essays On Finance International Economics And National Security

by Bijan Karimi


In “Security and Prosperity: Reexamining the Relationship between Economic, Homeland and National Security” I used an analytical framework to identify key components of the Economic, Homeland and National Security relationship, explore their connection in the literature and the real world, and then identify the impact of ‘metamorphic forces’ that further shaped the relationship. This analysis refines the analytical (EHN) framework into seven components (Elements, Outside Forces, Complex Systems, Outcomes, Analysis, Reimagination, and Transformation), summarizes its initial application, and tests the validity of its application to another homeland security issue.

Suggested Citation

Karimi, Bijan “Applying the Economic, Homeland and National Security Analysis Framework.” Homeland Security Affairs 12, Essay 4 (May 2016).



During early studies of atoms, physicists postulated about their contents, but did not understand the connection between protons, neutrons and electrons, so they had to figure out how they were related by observing what happened when they did things to the atoms. When recounting early sub-atomic research, Bill Bryson in A Short History of Nearly Everything described how in 1910, Ernest Rutherford “fired ionized helium atoms at a sheet of gold and, to his astonishment, some of the particles bounced back.” Through the use of a particle accelerator (a new invention) Rutherford took a known entity, in this case a helium atom, and smashed it into another atom in order to observe what ‘came out’. Via this process, he could validate his hypothesis on what is contained in an atom (of whatever element) and how the components relate to one another.

In “Security and Prosperity: Reexamining the Relationship Between Economic, Homeland and National Security,” I utilized an analytical framework akin to that used in early atomic exploration to identify key components of the Economic, Homeland and National Security (EHN) relationship, explored how the elements were connected in literature, compared that connection to the real world, and then identified the impact of outside forces that further shaped the element relationship.

The EHN framework uses a similar concept: understanding the security elements under study, identifying external forces that impact the elements, and then observing the result (both expected and unexpected) to get a better understanding of the complex systems that are at play between the security elements and the external forces. The results then allow for someone to reimagine how the relationship could be changed (we are not dealing with forces of nature in this case) and what steps are needed for the transformation.

This essay explores the reuse of that analytical framework and tests the validity of its application to another homeland security issue.

My initial exploration was based on the notion that economic security (ES), or some variation thereof, has been discussed for several decades, and there was little debate on its importance. It is an assumed component of a functioning society and homeland security. However, there is no evidence to explicitly link the two in the literature. So, why is homeland security (HS) considered inseparable from economic security as stated in the National Security Strategy and what are the implications for this connection?

If national security (NS) is outward facing and homeland security is inward facing, will taking steps to ensure economic security have different impacts on these two areas? Does global economic interconnectedness blur the lines between domestic and international policy? If so, do homeland security decisions impact the global economy? If HS is inseparable from ES and HS is part of NS, do ES decisions have the same impact on both areas? Understanding the tangled triangle between economic, homeland, and national security may impact decisions on domestic and foreign policy in order to ensure the success of each initiative. What if the very steps being taken to increase economic security were actually making homeland security more difficult by causing unforeseen or unintended consequences?

When systems are connected, it can be very difficult to comprehend the complexity of the individual components and how they interact with each other. In The Watchman’s Rattle, Rebecca Costa discusses the issue of cognitive threshold—essentially the limit at which an individual can grasp elements of a complex situation. It turns out that individuals unconsciously resort to “silos” to insulate and isolate key activities in order to make understanding easier. In the end, the very situations people are trying to solve are being simplified to the point of becoming a non-issue because the cognitive threshold has been reached. In order to study the EHN relationship and not oversimplify the relationship in a way that distorted my analysis, I developed an analytical framework that allowed me to organize my observations and analysis of this complex topic.

This essay begins with an overview of the framework and explanations of the different components. Then we turn to an in-depth review of how the framework was applied to studying the ES, HS and NS relationship. The framework is then applied to a new issue, in this case the prioritization of national preparedness and how the federal and local perspectives differ.

EHN Framework


The first step of the EHN framework consists of identifying the elements to be studied, determining the working definitions, and outlining the suspected connections between these different elements. How are they related? How do they affect one another? Some of these definitions and connections may be unclear. Clearing up such ambiguity is part of the EHN examination process and one of the goal outcomes from the framework. Rutherford knew atoms were made of parts, but he didn’t know how many or how they might all fit together.

Outside Forces

Outside forces are those factors that may exist separately from the elements and their connections. There are direct and indirect forces that may need to be considered when studying the connections between the elements, both of which may be difficult to identify initially. The outside forces may also vary based on the perspective of the individual looking at the elements. One observer may see several issues that affect the relationship; yet someone else may see an entirely different set of forces at work. The key is to identify and analyze those forces that are most likely to impact the connections in order to hypothesize how they will affect the elements. While unaware at the time, Rutherford and his contemporary researchers would eventually come to discover (albeit 20 years later) the strong and weak nuclear forces which bind atoms together.

Complex Systems

The next step is to understand complex systems. Each of the elements and the connections between them form a system that is acted upon or influenced by the outside forces. The different connections, leads and lags, and feedback loops between different system components (or elements) may lead to other relationships that were not clearly understood. In Thinking in Systems, Donella H. Meadows and Diana Wright define a system as:

…a set of people, cells, molecules or whatever—interconnected in such a way that they produce their own pattern of behavior over time. The system may be buffeted, constricted, triggered or driven by outside forces, but the system’s response to these forces is characteristic of itself and is seldom simple in the real world.

Systemic risk occurs when complex systems interact with one another, and the creators of those systems do not understand the connections. Then, when there is an unintended consequence, it is unclear what affect that will have on the overall system. It is important to understand the interconnections and interdependencies in an increasingly complex world in order to conduct “what-if” analysis and evaluate potential behaviors. Analysis has moved from risk identification to considering and understanding the interconnectedness of risks and their secondary and tertiary impacts. These interdependencies may also be unbalanced (i.e., the impact in one direction is different than in the reverse direction), creating an asymmetrical relationship. These complex systems exist in every relationship. Sometimes the only way to know what is going on inside an unknown is to look at inputs (in this case our elements) and our assumptions about their relationships (connections). In the early 1900’s physicists could not see anything as small as an atom so they had to figure out what it was and how it worked by observing what happened when they did things to it.


In an empirical experiment, a researcher makes note of the elements and known relationships being studied, documents the outside forces, and then notes the outcomes (both expected and unexpected) when the entire relationship is set into motion. The expected results involve the system behaving as we had originally hypothesized given the connections between the elements and the outside forces acting on them (i.e. ionized atoms passing through gold foil). Unexpected results (i.e. particles bouncing back) may give the researcher more insight into the complex system relationship between the elements, their connections and outside forces. This is particularly important because this is the piece that will allow us to understand the importance of the outside forces and help us identify areas that we may want to change. Direct implications are first order effects where indirect implications are secondary or tertiary and may be difficult to observe during the testing phase.


Analysis is examining the outcomes and attempting to answer the “so what does this all mean?” question. In this social experiment, the inputs have been identified and the outcomes have been observed. The analysis section links those two states by hypothesizing what external forces and complex systems are at work. This section may also create more questions than it answers. How do the expected and unexpected outcomes differ? What is the impact on the overall relationship between the elements? How do the elements actually align? Would others have the same results if they were to conduct a similar examination? Rutherford, Hans Geiger, and Niels Bohr all examined the results of the foil research and hypothesized about what it meant for understanding sub-atomic particle structures.


Reimagination is the opportunity for the researcher to consider the outcomes and the analysis and make determinations as to what could be changed in the understanding of elements, their connections, and outside forces in order to create more expected outcomes from the element relationship. Do the elements or their definitions need to change? Is there an external force that needs to be mitigated (or enhanced)? What complex relationships were uncovered that may introduce previously unknown system lags or impacts? Not until the 1920’s did Werner Heisenberg, who had been reimagining all along, develop the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to describe that electrons are particles that behave like a wave, providing an explanation for the uncharacteristic sub-atomic behaviors being observed.


The final step in the EHN framework is transformation and implementing change and also where we leave Rutherford’s experiments on atoms. The road map has been laid out by exploring the outcomes, analyzing the “so what” question, and reimagining the relationship between the elements and the impacts of outside forces on those elements. It is important to appreciate that others may want the situation to change to fit their preferences (which are different from one’s own.). When initiating change, the researcher must consider how it will impact others and what steps those others may take to mitigate perceived negative impacts (from their point of view) to achieving their ultimate goal.


The EHN framework (Figure 1) is a cyclical process. The framework was previously used for studying the connection between economic, homeland and national security. It can also serve as a template by which a social scientist can identify the components of a problem being studied, postulate on forces and systems that may be causing observed outcomes, and analyze results in order to recommend change or create a more desirable outcome. In the next section, we will look at how this framework was applied and in the subsequent section, the framework will be applied to a novel problem to test its transferability.

Figure 1. The EHN Framework

First Application

The framework was first utilized in the study of the relationship between homeland and economic security based on the statement “Homeland Security supports economic security,” which was found in the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR). The QHSR goes on to say that “…as recognized in successive national security strategies, homeland security is inseparable from economic security.”

The National Security Strategy (NSS) states that America’s economic growth and power supports national military strength. This would suggest that there is a national security (NS) component to the country’s economic strength. Economic security (ES) and homeland security (HS) are concepts that have been linked in foundational homeland security documents; however, the interrelationship between economic and homeland security is not clearly explained or justified. Figure 2 identifies the initial elements being studied, analytical observations, external forces, and system complexity that lead to outcomes and a reimagined security relationship.

Figure 2. Analytical Process Used to Explore the Relationship Between Economic, Homeland and National Security.


I observed some level of definitional clarity for the security elements through the analysis. However, when viewed as a component in a complex system, the relationship of ES, HS, and NS becomes cloudy. The definitions put forth in the literature examination (primarily in doctrine) are at odds with the scholarly research. The literature review suggests that while there is a connection between ES and HS, the more important relationship to explore for policy development lies between ES and NS. Additionally, where there are connections discussed between ES and NS, it is primarily in the literature. When ES-HS connections are discussed, it is primarily in government doctrine, and there is little explanation of why the connection exists.

To understand the connections between the elements, I began by exploring the definitions of the terms and then turned to how they are linked. Figure 3 summarizes the different security elements and their connections which were explored in the research.

Figure 3. Security Elements and Conceptual Connection

Through this process, I found that journals primarily focus on investigating the ES-NS relationship, whereas federal doctrine attempts to discuss the ES-HS connection, but often ends up describing the stronger NS connection. In the journals’ formulation, ES is the source from which national strength emanates, for without economic security, the U.S. government is unable to project itself militarily and diplomatically across the globe. In total, the relationship that is described in the literature is not the one that actually exists.


A review of the literature and doctrine related to each element revealed that there is a difference in how economic and national security are discussed in these sources. Most of the literature focuses on the relationship between economic security and national security. None of the materials had a discussion about all of the elements together, and as such the definitions are focused more narrowly.

Economic security, or some variation thereof, has been discussed for several decades. In a collection of essays on national economic security from 1982, editors Alting von Geusau, Frans A. M. von Geusau, and Jacques Pelkmans explain why the topic was gaining more interest by economists and governments. According to them:

[a]fter exposure to two oil shocks, booms in raw material prices, the threat of a world food crisis … and rising popularity of economic coercion among nation-states, there was little surprise in observing economic security to rise to the most prominent element of national security.

At the time, there was some overall agreement that economic security refers to something bigger than just what is necessary to promote the economic wellbeing of the country. Just over 20 years later, in Economic Security, Kahler stated, “the economic uncertainty of the last decade has caused countries to revisit their understanding of this concept and the associated definition.” A fluctuating economy and its impact on domestic conditions continues to be a significant issue, but whatever the issue is, “it” seems to extend beyond just the economy. Pankov believes that economic security is not only the protection of national interests but also the readiness and ability of government institutions to create mechanisms to implement and protect national interests in the development of a national economy. Mijalković supports this view, but extends it to include the absence of threats that could endanger economic stability and independence. He believes, “economic power is a traditional ‘lever’ of national security and the state’s role in the international community.” In a report published by RAND, Neu and Wolf believe that economic security is the ability of the U.S. to protect its own economic prosperity via domestic policies and international influence. This perspective was clarified by Cable a year later when he identified three conceptual definitions for economic security: 1) the investments that directly impact a country’s ability to defend itself, 2) the economic policy instruments that can be used for the purpose of aggression, and 3) the extent to which a weak economy may undermine the ability for a country to project power. A generally accepted definition of ES in the U.S. would posit that national interests are supported through an economic system that supports free exchange and supports the upward mobility of the nation.

Homeland security was not part of the national discussion until the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The phrase had appeared in some documents, but was used interchangeably with homeland defense. It entered the common lexicon after the 9/11 attacks via Executive Order 13228, which defined it as the “implementation of a comprehensive national strategy to secure the U.S. from terrorist threats/attacks.” The 2002 National Strategy for Homeland Security released just months after 9/11 states that, “terrorism directly threatens the foundations of our Nation—our people, our democratic way of life, and our economic prosperity.” This established some direction for the nation, but after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the need to help communities respond to natural hazards took center stage. This caused Christopher Bellavita and others to ask if homeland security should focus on “meta hazards,” where there are areas of confluence for issues, conditions, etc. that affect many other areas (e.g., fiscal, infrastructure, education) and require a “view” higher up than the local level. When looking at HS as an all hazards activity, the amount of money spent on terrorism contradicts this definition. The homeland security vision articulated in the 2007 national strategy is very broad, including everyone (i.e., citizens) working together to ensure a free, wealthy, and friendly nation. In 2012, Reese explained that the events of 9/11 precipitated the creation of DHS with the intent to focus on terrorism, but that definition was expanded in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina to “include significant disasters, major public health emergencies, and other events that threaten the United States, the economy, and the rule of law…” Christopher Bellavita, in “Changing Homeland Security, What is Homeland Security” aptly described the multiple definitions that are being used by today’s homeland security enterprise (HSE) professionals. Many definitions of HS are derived from looking at the homeland security enterprise through the lens of a group with a niche set of interests. Bellavita concludes, and the researcher agrees, that the most commonly accepted definition relates to the prevention of, and protection and recovery from terrorist activities. In a 2012 Congressional report, Reese furthered Bellavita’s research, noting that “homeland security, regardless of the definition or strategic document, is a combination of law enforcement, disaster, immigration, and terrorism issues”

There has been a tremendous amount of research, most of which fairly consistently defines national security (NS) as the ability to maintain the nation’s physical boundaries, economic relations, and social institutions from outside threats. The first National Security Strategy (NSS) in 1987 characterizes national security as the blueprint for freedom, peace, and prosperity. At the time, the United States was engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In subsequent years, the NSS changed to reflect the extant and emerging threats, but posited that the overall pillars of national security came from political, military and economic strength. When defining its mission, the 2007 National Strategy for Homeland Security also provided clarity on the “instruments of national power and influence—diplomatic, information, military, economic, financial, and intelligence.” Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde argue that the scope must be expanded to better reflect the breadth of issues that have an impact on the security field. However, they bounded this expansion by offering that any additions must pose an “existential threat to a referent object” and not just a regular political issue. The literature and doctrine differ on the ways to maintain national security, but offer similar perspectives on its basic elements —the ability to project power militarily and politically, both supported by economic strength. In Thinking about National Security, Brown argues,

[n]ational security is the ability to preserve the nation’s physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relations with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to protect its nature, institutions, and governance from disruption from outside; and to control its borders.


Of equal or greater importance than the definitions are the connections that exist between the elements. While it may seem that the definition would drive the relationship, the reverse is often true; by seeing how these elements are related, we can also clarify their definition.

Domestically, the connection between ES and HS was cemented after World War II, during the implementation of the Marshall Plan. The U.S. provided economic support to the allies to help them rebuild. The literature review revealed that authors are consistently inconsistent when describing the impact of economic success (security) and the resulting human (homeland) security. There is no empirical nexus between ES and HS and little research connects the two elements together. Losman makes this the centerpiece of his article Economic Security: A National Folly? He directly questions the emphasis that has been placed on economic security and clearly states that military resources should not be used to promote economic security. Further, he points out that the ‘relationship’ between economic and homeland security has been assumed and the importance persists in domestic policy without any check for validation. As previously seen, Mijalković and Milošević believe that the two concepts are closely linked, and that economic interests support homeland security. Losman disagrees, feeling that homeland security, or the military specifically, is used to sustain economic security. In 2011, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said economic and homeland security go hand in hand, stating that “…the economy is dependent on our ability to secure and facilitate the flow of people and goods from our shores.”

The connection between ES and NS is well established in the literature. Economic strength is presented as one of the key pillars of national strength and it provides the foundation from which the U.S. can project itself globally. The 2015 National Security Strategy clearly states the importance of the economy domestically and internationally:

[t]he American economy is an engine for global economic growth and a source of stability for the international system. In addition to being a key measure of power and influence in its own right, it underwrites our military strength and diplomatic influence. A strong economy, combined with a prominent U.S. presence in the global financial system, creates opportunities to advance our security.

Securitization of economic issues elevates their importance and suggests that they require additional protection because of their relationship to national security. In National Economic Security, von Geusau, von Geusau, and Pelkmans provide a broad definition of “national economic security” that includes economic policy as part of the broader concept of security. Pankov provides additional clarity by stating that national economic security is a state of the national economy characterized by sustainability and immunity to the impact of internal and external factors that disrupt the normal process of living. In 2011, Shelia Ronis asked if economic security is an overlooked component of national security. She believes national security is traditionally focused on strength of infrastructure, but that national security should also include a healthy economy and policies that promote that state. A clear connection between domestic economic strength and national power is evident in the 2010 National Security Strategy, where it states that, “[o]ur prosperity serves as a wellspring for our power. It pays for our military, underwrites our diplomacy and development efforts, and serves as a leading source of our influence in the world.” The domestic economy must be robust enough to sustain national strength and future growth. She posits that this is a deterrent to enemies and supports defense.

Jane Holl Lute, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, said in her 2011 speech to the American Bar Association that, “[n]ational security is strategic, it’s centralized, it’s top-driven. Homeland security is operational, it’s transactional, it’s decentralized, it’s bottom-driven.” This statement clearly articulates the different focuses of the disciplines and helps delineate responsibility. With Bellavita’s earlier explanation that HS is an element of NS, we have a good idea regarding how these elements are related. In a lecture to Center for Homeland Defense and Security students, Masals discussed new multilateralism, stating that, “the boundaries between foreign and domestic policy are gone.” He asserted that HS and NS should not be viewed as separate activities; rather, they are one in the same and should be treated as such. America can learn from other countries’ approaches to security (homeland and national) because many of the issues are transnational and need resources from both “sides” to cooperate and work together. This is underscored by the 2010 National Security Strategy statement that we need to move beyond having distinctions between the two elements. Morag, in Comparative Homeland Security, believes that the construct of homeland security is a uniquely American concept. The nation’s geographic boundaries and location have allowed it to believe that issues take place within and outside its borders; thus it is hard to compare with other nations who see homeland and national security as one and the same. Bellavita asks why we should maintain an artificial separation of homeland security and homeland defense. This approach would treat homeland security as a sub-set of national security and function as another lever of national power.

Unclear definitions in the literature do not prohibit describing the interactions between economic, homeland, and national security elements and providing clarity where connections exist between the different security elements. A link between ES and HS exists, but is not well substantiated. ES is a cornerstone of NS and the link is well documented in the literature. Describing HS as the operational embodiment of NS policy suggest that they are part of the concept. Each element supports the other although to different degrees and with different outcomes. Figure 4 clarifies the linkages initially identified in Figure 3 and shows that, while the link goes both ways, ES and HS primarily support NS.

Figure 4.Security Element Linkages

Applying specific research methods allows a more detailed analysis of the literature and leads to some surprising results, and we can see that there is a complex network of interactions, complicated by outside forces.

Outside Forces

Economic, homeland, and national security elements do not exist in a vacuum; rather, they exist within a broader system and are shaped themselves by outside forces that provide subtle but substantial pressure. Globalization is the exchange of social and cultural ideals and the extension of economic ties between countries. It is also characterized by greater integration of other countries and cultures into the primarily western (liberal) perspective.Securitization involves saying that something (person, place, or thing) or some condition of the item poses a security risk. An issue may become securitized because there is a real existing threat or because the issue is presented as a threat by an individual who would benefit from the elevated concern. This practice confuses the true importance of issues and is often politically motivated.


Since the Bretton Woods Conference following World War II, the U.S. has taken a leadership role to encourage global economic prosperity through the establishment of international standards and the International Monetary Fund. To support U.S. economic strength, companies look to globalization for a way to expand into new markets. Regional and bilateral trade initiatives need to be in place to ensure that international markets will be open to new entrants and support deeper integration among participants, while bringing in allies and new partners to strengthen economic ties. The National Intelligence Council 2020 study (conducted in 2005) claims that globalization will be a pervasive “mega-trend” that will significantly impact other global trends. Its prediction proved accurate and has materialized faster than anticipated. Countries are entering a new era where economic-driven governance is superseding that of political nation-states. The interconnected financial markets make economic impacts wider reaching. Creation of supra-state entities and agreements (e.g., World Trade Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement etc.) move countries away from a nationalistic economic focus because global economic integration needs to have structure (i.e., common laws) to guide expansion among participating nations. The World Economic Forum’s 2014 Global Risks survey highlighted that increased global trade and movement of capital support economic growth, but also increase volatility. This is a condition that advanced economies will attempt to counteract through policy reforms designed to increase market resilience. Globalization is not without drawbacks; it changes the traditional political role of the state and changes global power dynamics through supra-state organizations. In its most recent Global Risk Survey, the World Economic Forum clearly summarizes the challenges that arise from countries making domestic economic decisions:

[i]n today’s interdependent global economy, whenever countries focus on their domestic market—even if the decisions are taken by central banks rather than politicians—there is potential for unintended effects on other countries to spill over into the geopolitical sphere.

In a 2004 article, Lewis states that America’s economic strength will be eroded with the movement of jobs around the world and the subsequent international economic reorganization.


Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde state that, “[s]ecuritization is a more extreme version of politicization” in Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Securitization is quite simple—all it involves is the process of a speech act; effectively, saying something is a security issue securitizes it. Normally, this process is done by the state because it has the legitimacy to identify something as posing an existential threat; however, media expansion has allowed other individuals or groups (e.g., corporate CEOs or public interest parties) to make such statements. If securitization is self-referential, that means that anyone can securitize something because she or he feels it needs to be securitized, even if the issue of concern does not pose an existential threat. There is also a “cost” of securitization—in particular to liberty and democracy. Securitization often leads to steps that reduce the very rights guaranteed to a free society—life, liberty, and property. Losman explains, “[o]ver the past quarter century civilian leadership and the military community… have transformed the concept of economic security into a prominent national security issue.” In their analysis, Buzan, Wæver, and De Wilde rightly question the assumptions that have been made. They assert that, “[m]uch of what might be seen as ES issues are in fact either normal or politicized economic relations.” ES has been securitized by individuals in order to either elevate or confuse issues. Losman believes many narratives have been distorted by fear and fiction in order to increase their prominence.


We have explored the definitions of our elements and examined how the body of knowledge describes their link to one another. Now, we investigate the expected and unexpected outcomes of the current relationship. The concepts of globalization and securitization have a significant effect on the complex relationship between economic, homeland, and national security.


A stable economy fosters a stable society. A decrease in national income leads to a decrease in stability, and in turn, a decrease in social stability causes population unrest, which can cause an unstable homeland security environment. This theme is discussed by Ichikowitz, and the U.S. national preparedness report. It is also discussed by the World Economic Forum 2013 report, most often in reference to challenges faced by developing nations. Improving social stability will lead to improvements in economic and national security. If human security is the responsibility of the state, it can be accomplished through economic and national security activities. In effect, the state can improve society to create the increased perception of personal security. The individual need for ontological security (consistency of condition) can be extrapolated to the nation. Thakur discusses how security-oriented research supports the idea that investments in homeland security increase human security in “A Political World View.” Losman believes it is preferable to spend limited national funds to create jobs, boost the economy, and increase education in order to develop personal resiliency, rather than on military applications. President Bush in the 2002 National Security Strategy eludes to this possibility by stating, “[p]overty does not make poor people into terrorists and murders. Yet poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can make weak states vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their borders.”

The United States economy is the source of national strength and prosperity for its citizens. Porter and Mykleby make this point succinctly in A National Strategic Narrative by stating, “[o]ur strength as a world leader is largely derived from the central role we play in the global economy.” Pankov points out that international economic security is closely related with the national economic security of all countries in the world. Therefore, if countries want national economic security, they need to support policies that reinforce a stable international economy. Mijalković and Milošević believe fiscal policy is just another tool to promote positive relationships and prosperous exchange between other nations. Most authors acknowledge that nations use economic incentives to encourage other governments to behave in certain ways, often favoring political allies. Economies no longer stop at geopolitical boundaries; thus, increased economic integration reduces self-sufficiency and increases vulnerability because of the tight coupling with the economies of other countries. Supra-state economic groups then begin to have more power than socio-political ones. However, as mentioned earlier, economic coupling for stability may be an acceptable trade-off for the loss of some political autonomy. The DNI 2020 report predicts that large multi-national companies and economic partnerships will have increasing sway and will drive change throughout the world, yet their actions are outside the control of any nation-state. As such, national economies are less insulated from economic shocks on the other side of the world. As stated in Economic Security in an Era of Globalization and the 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, unintended consequences with global impacts may occur as a result of increased system connectedness and complexity. Therefore, as President Obama stated, the U.S. needs more flexibility with domestic policy to adapt to external conditions. The World Economic Forum expresses concern around how the global economic fragility (in the attempt to achieve economic security) is diverting resources away from other social and political issues because it is not a broader concept. However, the U.S. 2002 National Security Strategy suggests the opposite is true—social issues can be addressed through economic means, which can also strengthen ties between nations. According to the 2002 the National Security Strategy:

[f]ree trade and free markets have proven their ability to lift whole societies out of poverty—so the United States will work with individual nations, entire regions and the entire global trading community to build a world that trades in freedom.

Economic strength supports the political foundation necessary for a stable society. The economic relationships that we enter into with allies are no less important than NATO’s military relationships.

Political influence is tied to economic policies; Kahler, Mijalković, Mondale, and Neocleous all refer to this connection in their works. Moreover, they all acknowledge that nations use economic incentives to encourage other governments to behave in certain ways, often favoring political allies. Where they differ is on the extent of the influence and whether it should be used for political gains. State political power may be diminishing in areas where there is significant globalization. So what happens when countries are not able to make political decisions because of economic encumbrances? In “Genuine National Security: A People’s Definition,” Eisenhower made the case that the U.S. has become a debtor nation and this may cause leaders to adjust fiscal and monetary policy to suit our creditors because they hold significant sway in our economic health. Decision makers need to balance economic welfare with optimizing political power. Ultimately, the goal is to minimize the ability to be coerced by outsiders. Cable raises the issue that global political strength (or the strength of countries on the global stage) may be decreasing because: “[I]n practice what is slowly emerging is a complex hierarchy of institutions and informal arrangements at the national, regional and global level (and points in between) to deal, case by case, with various economic security threats.” These institutions are outside of the state-system and do not have the same level of accountability as an elected official—they are a proxy. Establishing economic security priorities should not be influenced by political considerations because, as Medevdev observes, doing so obscures which problems require immediate attention. Neu and Wolf believe there is a recognized connection between the health of the domestic economy and the ability to influence international policy. In The Economic Dimensions of National Security, the authors explain that:

[t]he most basic elements of the international commercial infrastructure have been the freedom of peaceful international passage for trade purposes and the sanctity of property rights. Throughout its history, the U.S. has exercised its diplomatic and military muscle to protect U.S. access to international shipping routes or exploitation of U.S. owned foreign assets from confiscation or expropriation.

An increase in prosperity leads to improved social conditions and political stabilization. Globalization is a driving force behind this prosperity. However, exposure to new cultures can lead to violence, and economic partnerships can reduce overall political control. There are clear political implications driven by the relationship of ES to HS and NS. We begin to see more clearly that the connections between ES and NS are essential to having the political strength to remain a global leader, and that the ability of the U.S. to influence world events is becoming more dependent on the economic strength we possess. The impacts discussed above allude to the complicated interaction between the economic, social, and political components of ES, HS, and NS, and are not altogether different than those described in the literature.


A World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 study remarks, “[t]he greater the interdependencies between countries and industries, the greater the potential for events to bring about unforeseen, cascading consequences.” Knowing how the systems interact and the nature of the lag between actions in one area is important to understand when projecting likely future benefit or the need to invest now in order to prevent disruption in another area. A key point of many of the WEF studies is that there is not a single risk; it is the cascading interdependency that is of concern. As Siminiuc points out, “the link between economics, security and stability should be viewed dynamically.” Globalization and securitization are powerful forces that slowly and continuously change the economic, homeland, and national security relationship. They shape the individual systems and the complex interaction between them and other areas of government. At times, they lead to unintended consequences.

Two manifestations of the external forces at work on the security relationship can be seen in the following examples. In both cases, the desire for economic security has led to secondary and tertiary consequences that were not anticipated, although they were not necessarily unlikely. In one case, we see ES through globalization’s cultural pressure, which metastasizes into terrorism. In the second, the same drive for ES leads to short-term thinking and misallocation of resources which causes national insecurity.

Economic Security Leads to Homeland Security Threat

In the process of expanding markets to maintain economic strength, cultures and ideas are coming together at a speed and in a way with which individuals are not prepared to cope emotionally. Not only is the West tapping into new markets, we are also taking our way of life, perspectives, and viewpoints, and sharing those with others as we go. Moghaddam, in a series of books, expresses the belief that Muslim fundamentalists view globalization as a significant threat against which they must defend themselves and their traditional heritage. While it does not justify their actions, it provides one explanation of the possible genesis. Moghaddam goes on to posit that, “[w]idespread identity crisis in Islamic communities underlies the present radicalization being experienced by these communities, as well as the terrorism emanating from them.”

Figure 5 summarizes the social concepts behind the impact of globalization on Muslim communities, and the potential behaviors those impacts cause. To be sure, there are many reasons why an individual may become violent: power imbalance, disenfranchisement, defending community, or as is more commonly reported, because of religious beliefs.

Figure 5. Unintended Consequence of Globalization on Homeland Security

Quality of life expectations have been raised by exposure to western society and ideals. If there is no opportunity to meet these expectations, then radical steps may be taken to create change. Marmot states that there are three issues that drive social classification: money, status, and power. How individuals react to perceived deprivation (and the lack of self-respect that may accompany it) is often derived from social classification and can create violent situations. In its extreme form, terrorism (religious, political, and cultural) is used to maintain differentiation and resist globalization. This hermeneutic provides justification for terrorist action as some militant groups believe the rest of the world needs to change, not them. Globalization and the cultural dichotomy it fosters does not guarantee creation of a terrorist, but it may drive more people towards religious affiliation because of the mental, emotional, and social net it provides.

Economic Security Leads to National Insecurity

To maintain a strong economy and support political and military strength abroad while ensuring prosperity domestically, businesses seek access to larger markets in which they can sell their products and services. The 2000 National Security Strategy observes that globalization is an unstoppable trend. Yet, the increasing globalization of business operations has made the local economy more susceptible to shocks and uncertainty. The international economy plays a considerable role in domestic economic conditions; foreign policy and national security should support policies that strengthen the international economy. Economic security provides the important link between social and national security. Thus, a stable international economy is closely related to maintaining domestic (homeland) security.

The current discussion of economic security does not acknowledge the complex system in which these decisions are being made. Figure 6 summarizes the unintended NS consequence of using globalization to bolster economic security. While the expansion does provide short-term economic benefits, it comes at the expense of lasting innovation. There is a balance needed between short-term benefit and the long-term prosperity; we may need to forego benefit now for future returns. Thus, the economic foundation needed to project global strength is not solid, weakening national security.

Figure 6. Unintended Consequence of Globalization on National Security


Through the analysis, I found that the equal-parts relationship between ES, HS, and NS described in the literature is not what actually exists. The definitions for ES, HS, and NS vary in terms of clarity and complexity. The connections between these elements are similarly confusing and depend on the lens of the individual evaluating the situation. For example, the doctrine authors focused on HS and chose to discuss activities most relevant to the mission. Taken individually, the discussions would suggest a balanced relationship; however, when examined more broadly, the relationships are uneven. The relationships are a wild mash-up of activities and strategies which must function individually and which do not tie together or really reference one another. Most of the literature and doctrine explores the elements in this 1-to-1 relationship, negating the broader context that truly defines the push-pull between the elements.

Economic security is concerned with the overall fiscal health of the nation, which includes personal financial health, business stability, economic growth, and protection from circumstances that would degrade any of the same. Homeland security is domestic protection from threats (intentional), preparation for hazards (natural), and the response and recovery from these events. The large list of activities related to HS has given DHS (and the homeland security discipline) a large area of responsibility with competing priorities. National security is still seen as an overarching concept to which other elements are dependent. While that may be true, the direct connection between these is not clear. There are some connections to be sure, but they are not clearly explained or understood so someone can understand how a decision for the benefit of HS or ES can benefit NS.

The primary issue with “where we are now” is that it does not exist in a world where only these three security components exist together. The world is connected technologically, economically, and politically, but the political connections are more fragmented. Nations are economically joined but politically separated.


Various doctrinal statements point out that threats and hazards in the homeland security realm are often influenced by external social, political and economic forces. Thus, before a system is disturbed or changed, the observer should understand how it works. In June 1974, NATO members discussed how economic difficulties of one member could pose big issues on the ability of other members to maintain financial effectiveness; this condition posed a threat to the foundation of western society (i.e., ability to project power) and they believed it was important to develop policies that will govern international economic issues. According to Mondale, “[b]oth Bretton Woods and the Marshall Plan stemmed from the recognition of the interdependence—that the economic health of the major countries of the world affected the security and well-being of the others.” Homeland security and national security are complimentary, but have been separated due to legal doctrine designed to keep domestic and international protection separate. This has created duplication of effort and fragmented goals—the opposite of what the nation needs.

The analysis produced the following observations:

  1. There is not a balanced relationship between ES, HS and NS
  2. The security relationship is an uneven overlap of the security elements
  3. Outside forces play a key role in shaping the security relationship
  4. The unintended consequences hinder the very security elements they are designed to improve

I believe that the blurry definitions and tight connections between these elements support the assertion that discussion on this topic should be focused on two areas, illustrated in Figure 7.

Figure 7.Reframing and Defining the Security Relationship

Today, the nation needs a galvanizing vision that puts the prosperity and sustainment of our nation at the forefront. We need a unifying construct which brings the security elements together, is focused on larger, long-term issues, and orients resources to address national issues.


Figure 8 summarizes five recommendations designed to address the four observations identified above and show how they are conceptually related to one another as well as the ‘level’ they are trying to address.

Figure 8. Strategic and Tactical Recommendations to Focus on Security and Prosperity

Table 1 provides details for each of the recommendations as they relate to creating a discussion focused around security and prosperity rather than the individual elements of economic, homeland and national security.

Table 1. Description of Recommendations



  1. Develop a National Narrative

The country needs a strategic plan that unites our populace, crosses political perspectives, and promotes a sense of purpose for a generation. To promote economic security that will benefit national security (and in turn homeland security), it is better to focus government policy at the national level and explore its impact on the nation’s overall state of security.

  1. Integration of DHS and DOD

Complex systems (i.e., government agencies) are structured to perpetuate themselves, so recommending the integration of two of the largest departments in the federal government would be an unrivaled challenge, but one that is not without merit. There are compelling signals that the security functions in both agencies would operate more efficiently if brought together in one department rather than maintaining the artificial separation.

  1. Create a Department of Prosperity

The Preamble to the Constitution defines our federal government’s basic purpose as “… to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”The financial market- driven focus on short-term returns is detrimental to the country’s long-term health and not yielding investments in education, health care and infrastructure—essential elements for sustained prosperity.

  1. Continue Combating Violence and Extremism

The long-term solution to terrorism is prevention, but prevention is not just stopping a radicalized individual from carrying out a planned attack; it should also contain activities that prevent an individual from becoming radicalized. While long-term solutions are being implemented to change the environment that creates the crucible for radicalization, existing initiatives that have been described in national security strategies should continue in order to blunt and dismantle terrorist cells and networks that intend on doing harm to the U.S. and its citizens.

  1. Continue Promoting Prosperity Abroad

A consistent theme in multiple National Security Strategies (NSS) is the importance of promoting prosperity abroad. Economic stagnation sets in where political unrest and social strife exist. These are some of same locations where Islamic radicalization is taking hold—not that these are directly correlated or have a causal relationship. The U.S. should increase efforts to support developing economies.

None of the recommendations above can be accomplished without the public support for change; it is not a matter of just doing different things, it is doing the same or similar things with a different goal in mind. True economic or national security requires members of the public to see the common goal and orient their activities towards meeting the objective. In her discussion of defining homeland security, Reese mentions that coordination among the different federal agencies and state and local partners involved in HS (over 30 in some cases) is very challenging. Without having the right goals and key performance indicators, the wrong thing may get measured and encouraged. According to Meadows and Wright, “[i]f the desired system state is national security, and that is defined as the amount of money spent on the military, the system will produce military spending.”

In their 2011 book, The Dictator’s Handbook, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith discuss how any change to existing policy will likely alter the power balance between the winners (those who benefit from the policy) and the losers (those who are negatively impacted). To generate support for the creation of a new policy, leaders need to overcome resistance to maintaining the status quo (where winners want things to stay the same). In a closed system, there is limited good to be shared by both parties. Table 2 summarizes the potential outcomes for the effects of a policy change on two groups.

Table 2. Policy Change Outcomes

Loser and Winner of policy



Neither Group 1 (G1) nor Group 2 (G2) benefits.


One group benefits from policy and any change will alter balance between G1 and G2 but no overall improvement for both.



Change in system will benefit both G1 and G2.

To successfully implement policy change, all parties must be oriented towards a common goal (change problem space) and away from individual subsystem goals. By changing the system (or how the problem space is constructed) to an open system when proposing a new policy, there is the possibility for all groups to benefit from the change. In closed systems, once a change is made, winners receive more rewards and losers receive punishment. As policy complexity grows to affect multiple groups, it is important to understand who makes up the winning coalition (essentials who must support the initiative), key supporters (people influential in the transformation), and the nominal selectorate (individuals that have some say but have no significant role). These are groups whose needs should be considered when contemplating any policy change. Each of these groups will be impacted differently by all the changes recommended, and each may take steps to support or derail them based on their perception of how the change will impact them (see Table 3).

Table 3. Groups to be Addressed When Implementing Political Change


Senior decision makers whose support is a requirement for success

These are representatives of multilateral economic agencies (e.g., WTO, G7, ASEAN, NAFTA), foreign leaders, elected U.S. officials on Senate and House commerce committees, Secretary of Commerce and leaders of global businesses etc.


Individuals who make the decision

These are foreign policy makers and business leaders of large U.S. companies. These individuals are making business decisions to exploit global trading relationships and maximize profits. They are donors to political campaigns and advocate for economic incentives and tax breaks that benefit U.S. businesses.

Экран отливал странным темно-бордовым цветом, и в самом его низу диалоговое окно отображало многочисленные попытки выключить «ТРАНСТЕКСТ». После каждой из них следовал один и тот же ответ: ИЗВИНИТЕ. ОТКЛЮЧЕНИЕ НЕВОЗМОЖНО Сьюзан охватил озноб.

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