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The Next 9/11


Some thoughts at 1945 on how the national security state prepares for and responds to shocks:

The reforms of 1947 and the extension of those reforms in 2001 may or may not have accomplished their goal; the expected catastrophes never occurred, although whether they were prevented or simply never all that likely is a different matter. But in the long term, another shock to the system is inevitable.  What might the next 9/11 look like?

Long story short, their differences aside both 12/7 and 9/11 were enormous shocks to the US national security system, such that the structure of the national security state reoriented itself towards preventing a repeat of each. The odd thing is that neither 12/7 nor 9/11 should have been all that shocking; the surprise came in the magnitude of the attacks, but not in their nature or in the identity of their perpetrators. That’s something planners need to appreciate in thinking about the next (inevitable) shock to the system.

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