Securing America

National security should be the president’s top priority

By Anthony Plescia, Staff Writer

In recent years, terrorists pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have attacked the United States and pits allies. These attacks have included a shooting in Orlando, Florida in June and bombings at the Brussels Airport in March. Al-Qaeda and its affiliates have also been responsible for some high profile attacks. In Sep. 2012, Al-Qaeda affiliated group Ansar Al-Sharia attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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America has also recently been provoked by some nations. Since 2006, North Korea has tested five nuclear weapons and successfully launched two satellites into orbit. Both satellites are particularly worrisome because if they are nuclear armed, the North Koreans could detonate one or both of them to carry out an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack against this country. Even if the satellites are not nuclear armed, they are still highly concerning because they passed over our southern coastline on their first orbits. This country does not have any early warning radars or ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems in that area. Early warning radars watch out for ballistic missiles approaching U.S. airspace while BMD systems provide the country with the capability of destroying those missiles before they can hit. As a result, North Korea has the capability of conducting a surprise EMP attack on America.

The United States must do everything it can to counter these threats. The first step the next president needs to take is to push congress to pass legislation aimed at hardening the power grid. Other critical infrastructures, such as food, water, finance and telecommunications, need to be hardened against EMP as well. Also, the U.S. needs to modernize its nuclear triad and deploy the Aegis BMD system to the Gulf of Mexico. The nuclear triad is America’s methods of delivering nuclear weapons. It consists of ballistic missiles launched from submarines or underground silos and gravity bombs dropped from airplanes. Aegis is a group of destroyers and cruisers with BMD capability.

Furthermore, the Aegis Ashore System should be constructed along the southern coastline. Aegis Ashore is the land-based counterpart of the sea-based system. If possible, Aegis Ashore and early warning radars should be set up along the western and eastern seaboards. Finally, both North Korean satellites need to be shot down as they pass over unpopulated areas.

In the meantime, America needs to secure its borders. This should be done by, building a wall along the Mexico and U.S. border and stationing a sizeable patrol force.
Additionally, immigrants or refugees from regions dominated by anti-American sentiment shall not be let into the country if vetting authorities do not have the information necessary to properly vet them. Most of the terrorists involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks in the past year had posed as refugees from Syria. These terrorists also evaded European Union terrorist databases by creating fake identities and constantly changing their SIM cards. By turning away immigrants or refugees whose backgrounds are largely unknown to vetting authorities, the U.S. can greatly reduce the chances of letting terrorists into its borders.

Whoever the next president of the United States is, national security needs to be the top priority. Even though the United States should prioritize protecting itself from foreign threats, we should also help our allies do the same whenever possible. If the U.S. takes the actions suggested above, it may also serve as a role model for allies to protect themselves. A secure and strong America will be respected by its allies and feared by its enemies.