16 April 2015


April 13, 2015

Admiral William Gortney, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Northern Command, was recently discussing the threat posed by advanced Russian long-range conventional cruise missiles. These weapons, Gortney testified, provided Russia with deterrent options “short of the nuclear threshold.” As a result, “NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian air, maritime and cruise missile threats.”

That term—“risk”—is cropping up more and more frequently in national security assessments. Senior military and civilian leaders constantly refer to the importance of dealing with risk. Just about every piece of testimonynow employs the term. Dozens of risk management frameworks crowd the national security enterprise. The 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)introduced a framework for assessing risk in the national security enterprise that has since become a standard approach throughout various parts of Department of Defense.

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