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National Security Law

National security is a collective term covering both U.S. national defense and foreign relations. It refers to the protection of a nation from attack or other danger by holding adequate armed forces and warding state secrets. Specifically, it refers to a circumstance provided by:

■a military or defense advantage over any foreign nation or group of nations;
■a friendly foreign relations position; or
■a defense position capable of successfully defending hostile or destructive action.

In Cole v. Young, 351 U.S. 536 (U.S. 1956), the court observed that “the term “national security” in the Summary Suspension Act (64 Stat 476), authorizing the heads of specified federal agencies to summarily dismiss federal employees upon a determination that dismissal is necessary or advisable in the interest of the “national security,” is used in a definite and limited sense and relates only to those activities which are directly concerned with the nation’s safety, as distinguished from the general welfare.”

In order to possess national security, a nation needs to possess economic security, monetary security, energy security, environmental security, military security, political security, and security of energy and natural resources. Security threats arise not only from other nation-states but also from non-state actors such as terrorist organizations, narcotic cartels, multi-national organizations, and events causing severe environmental damage.

National security can be ensured through:

■using intelligence services to detect and defeat or avoid threats and espionage, and to protect classified information;
■using counterintelligence services or secret police to protect the nation from internal threats;
■adopting a diplomatic approach to rally allies and isolate threats;
■assuring the resilience and redundancy of critical infrastructure;
■enforcing civil defense and emergency preparedness measures, including anti-terrorism legislation;
■holding effective armed forces; and
■mobilizing economic power to facilitate or compel cooperation.

In U.S., after the World War II, the National Security Act of 1947 was signed by the then U.S. President Harry S. Truman. The Act completely reshaped the military structure and intelligence community of the U.S. and it directly effected the U.S. foreign policy. The Act merged the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment, which was headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Act continued as the charter for U.S. National Security until it was significantly changed by the National Security Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The importance of the Act of 1947 cannot be exaggerated as it was the precept and critical document in directing the U.S. Cold War policy and it also reflected the America’s acceptance of becoming a world superpower.