Monday, April 02, 2012

Analysis of Presidential Security Directive-10

What follows is a piece I wrote on March 25, 2012, concerning a Presidential Security Directive from last year that addresses mass atrocities.


I recently came across the Presidential Security Directive on Mass Atrocities (PSD-10) issued August 4, 2011, which was issued because the current Administration believes that:

Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States....America's reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained, when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide. 
(1) Genocide in other nations does not, in general, impact the core national security of the United States.  It impacts security and stability in other nations.  For each instance of genocide, we must make a deliberate decision whether or not it impacts our true national security.  We cannot make a blanket statement that all atrocities threaten our national security.
(2) Our national security is not linked to our ability to bring change to the rest of the world.  It is linked to our ability to protect the citizens of the United States, not citizens of other nations.
(3) Even though we may be morally opposed to actions by other nations or peoples, that does not mean we have a responsibility to take decisive action to stop them, especially through the use of armed force (war).  The threat to our national security must be decided on a case-by-case basis .

There is also a fallacy within PSD-10 as to the timing of decisions to deal with a perceived atrocity:
Governmental engagement on atrocities and genocide too often arrives too late, when opportunities for prevention or low-cost, low-risk action have been missed.  By the time these issues have commanded the attention of senior policy makers, the menu of options has shrunk considerably and the costs of action have risen.
This is an attempt to short-circuit debate on becoming involved in a foreign genocide, fast-tracking the United States government to launch into action for any genocide deemed worthy by the Executive Branch.  If a genocide is truly a threat to our national security, it will be very evident.  If it is not a threat, then it deserves time to debate so that we do not prematurely commit American lives and national treasure to something that is not in our vital national interest.  Not every genocide or atrocity is a threat to the national security of the United States of America.

Cover: The Responsibility to Protect Overall, this is an effort by the current Administration to take the lead globally to support the recently adopted United Nations' doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) (document describing RtoP linked here), which I have written about on several occasions.  The American people's control over foreign policy is being usurped to support United Nations policy.  Why?  Because the UN does not have the inherent resources to take action and must rely on the assets of member nations to enforce their will.  With PSD-10, the United States is establishing a stream-lined process to employ our elements of national power to deal with genocides and atrocities around the world at the behest of the United Nations.

Here is how Pillar Three of RtoP is described, which sounds very similar to what PSD-10 lays out for the United States:
Pillar Three focuses on the responsibility of international community to take timely and decisive action to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity when a State is ‘manifestly failing’ to protect its populations. Responses under Pillar III would involve pacific measures under Chapter VI, collaboration with regional and sub-regional organizations under Ch. VIII, and coercive measures under Ch. VII (with Security Council authorization). The GA may also be involved in functions articulated in Article 10 to 14 and under the “Uniting for Peace” process. (from this linked document)
Why is stopping atrocities linked to being able to affect change in the world as written in PSD-10?  If you take the Arab Spring as an example, "atrocities" have been committed by governments against their own rebellious citizens in an effort to retain power.  If you want to affect regime change in those nations, then you bias the rest of the world against that government and protect the rebels/insurgents because they are on the receiving end of the "atrocities" (and because they are doing the global will of changing that government).  You have just violated the sovereignty of that nation by determining that it needs regime change and by supporting the people doing trying to bring it about.  If the global powers support the people in changing their regime, then they cry "atrocity!" and throw their support behind the people. That is how by striving against "atrocities" you can choose one side over the other and affect change in the world.  You can even manufacture rebellions with the promise of support under the RtoP doctrine.

So why are We The People being left out of this? Why is Congress not doing anything to stop this?  Why are we now following the policies of an organization (UN) that is not accountable to the people of the United States?

The only "responsibility to protect" that the government of the United States has is the responsibility to protect its own people.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities

PRESIDENTIAL STUDY DIRECTIVE/PSD-10
MEMORANDUM FOR
THE VICE PRESIDENT
THE SECRETARY OF STATE
THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OF STAFF
DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR
DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT
ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS
DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
ADMINISTRATOR OF THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION
DIRECTOR OF THE PEACE CORPS
DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO THE VICE PRESIDENT
DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
DIRECTOR OF THE DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
SUBJECT: Creation of an Interagency Atrocities Prevention Board and Corresponding Interagency Review
Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States.
Our security is affected when masses of civilians are slaughtered, refugees flow across borders, and murderers wreak havoc on regional stability and livelihoods.  America's reputation suffers, and our ability to bring about change is constrained, when we are perceived as idle in the face of mass atrocities and genocide.  Unfortunately, history has taught us that our pursuit of a world where states do not systematically slaughter civilians will not come to fruition without concerted and coordinated effort.
Governmental engagement on atrocities and genocide too often arrives too late, when opportunities for prevention or low-cost, low-risk action have been missed.  By the time these issues have commanded the attention of senior policy makers, the menu of options has shrunk considerably and the costs of action have risen.
In the face of a potential mass atrocity, our options are never limited to either sending in the military or standing by and doing nothing.  The actions that can be taken are many    they range from economic to diplomatic interventions, and from non combat military actions to outright intervention.  But ensuring that the full range of options is available requires a level of governmental organization that matches the methodical organization characteristic of mass killings.
Sixty six years since the Holocaust and 17 years after Rwanda, the United States still lacks a comprehensive policy framework and a corresponding interagency mechanism for preventing and responding to mass atrocities and genocide.  This has left us ill prepared to engage early, proactively, and decisively to prevent threats from evolving into large scale civilian atrocities.
Accordingly, I hereby direct the establishment of an interagency Atrocities Prevention Board within 120 days from the date of this Presidential Study Directive.  The primary purpose of the Atrocities Prevention Board shall be to coordinate a whole of government approach to preventing mass atrocities and genocide.  By institutionalizing the coordination of atrocity prevention, we can ensure:  (1) that our national security apparatus recognizes and is responsive to early indicators of potential atrocities; (2) that departments and agencies develop and implement comprehensive atrocity prevention and response strategies in a manner that allows "red flags" and dissent to be raised to decision makers; (3) that we increase the capacity and develop doctrine for our foreign service, armed services, development professionals, and other actors to engage in the full spectrum of smart prevention activities; and (4) that we are optimally positioned to work with our allies in order to ensure that the burdens of atrocity prevention and response are appropriately shared.
To this end, I direct the National Security Advisor to lead a focused interagency study to develop and recommend the membership, mandate, structure, operational protocols, authorities, and support necessary for the Atrocities Prevention Board to coordinate and develop atrocity prevention and response policy.  Specifically, the interagency review shall identify:
  • operational protocols necessary for the Atrocities Prevention Board to coordinate and institutionalize the Federal Government's efforts to prevent and respond to potential atrocities and genocide, including but not limited to:  identifying (standing and ex officio) members of the Atrocities Prevention Board; defining the scope of the Atrocity Prevention Board's mandate and the means by which it will ensure that the full range of options and debate is presented to senior-level decision makers; identifying triggers for the development of atrocity prevention strategies; identifying any specific authority the Atrocities Prevention Board or its members should have with respect to alerting the President to a potential genocide or atrocity;
  • how the Intelligence Community and other relevant Government agencies can best support the Atrocities Prevention Board's mission, including but not limited to:  examining the multiplicity of existing early warning assessments in order to recommend how these efforts can be better coordinated and/or consolidated, support the work of the Atrocities Prevention Board, and drive the development of atrocity prevention strategies and policies; examining options for improving intelligence and open source assessments of the potential for genocide and mass atrocities; and examining protocols for safely declassifying and/or sharing intelligence when needed to galvanize regional actors, allies, or relevant institutions to respond to an atrocity or genocide; and
  • steps toward creating a comprehensive policy framework for preventing mass atrocities, including but not limited to:  conducting an inventory of existing tools and authorities across the Government that can be drawn upon to prevent atrocities; identifying new tools or capabilities that may be required; identifying how we can better support and train our foreign and armed services, development professionals, and build the capacity of key regional allies and partners, in order to be better prepared to prevent and respond to mass atrocities or genocide.
In answering these questions, the interagency review shall consider the recommendations of relevant bipartisan and expert studies, including the recommendations of the bipartisan Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretaries Madeleine K. Albright and William Cohen.
I direct the National Security Advisor, through the National Security Staff's Director for War Crimes and Atrocities, to oversee and direct the interagency review, which shall include representatives from the following:
Office of the Vice President
Department of State
Department of the Treasury
Department of Defense
Department of Justice
Department of Homeland Security
United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Central Intelligence Agency
United States Agency for International Development
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Peace Corps
National Security Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
Executive departments and agencies shall be responsive to all requests from the National Security Advisor-led interagency review committee for information, analysis, and assistance.
The interagency review shall be completed within 100 days, so that the Atrocities Prevention Board can commence its work within 120 days from the date of this Presidential Study Directive.
BARACK OBAMA
Disclaimer: These opinions are solely my own, and do not reflect the opinion or official position of any US Government organization.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent article! This Presidential Security Directive (PSD-10) stating that it is “a core moral responsibility” for the U.S. to prevent mass atrocities, which in actuality forces us to fall in line with the U.N. doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (RtoP)is one of the better examples of 21st century double-speak I’ve ever seen. As you’ve keenly pointed out, the reality is entirely different. Your article is a must read!!!

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  2. Great article Chip, and congratulation for joining the contributor list at FaultlineUSA. First, has this been enacted, or is it still a "study" document? When I think of world atrocities, most are perpetrated at the hands of Muslim War Lords. We have millions of children who would not be hungry were it not for Muslim War Lords. We have millions who would not be rape victims, were it not for Muslim War Lords.

    Obama has veered away from Syria and Russia, connected to Iran. Very scary. The Rule of Law is clear. Before committing blood and treasure, there must be a national interest at stake. I believe you are spot on when you say a U.N. objective is being carried out, as directed in this document. I fully expect Obama, at his young age to be named the head of the U.N. if and when we get him out of the White House.

    I had no clue about this PSD.

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