Archive for the ‘Politics’ category

A Crack in the Stoic’s Armor by Nancy Sherman

May 31, 2010

In a remarkably prescient moment in September, 1965, James B. Stockdale, then a senior Navy pilot shot down over Vietnam, muttered to himself as he parachuted into enemy hands, “Five years down there at least, I’m leaving behind the world of technology and entering the world of Epictetus.” As a departing graduate student at Stanford, Stockdale received a gift of Epictetus’s famous “Enchiridion,” a 1st-century Stoic handbook. The text looked esoteric, but in his long nights aboard the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, he found himself memorizing its content. Little did he know then that Stoic tonics would become his salvation for seven and a half years as the senior prisoner of war, held under brutal conditions by the North Vietnamese at Hoa Lo prison, the Hanoi Hilton.

Epictetus, who was a slave around the time of Nero, wrote: “Our thoughts are up to us, and our impulses, desires, and aversions — in short, whatever is our doing … Of things that are outside your control, say they are nothing to you.”

With these words, Stockdale drew a stripe between what he could and could not control. But he never lost the sense that what he could control was what mattered most and that his survival, even when tortured and in solitary confinement for four years, required constant refortification of his will.

Stockdale’s resilience is legendary in the military. And it remains a living example, too, for philosophers, of how you might put into practice ancient Stoic consolations. But for many in the military, taking up Stoic armor comes at a heavy cost.

In the military, even those who have never laid eyes on a page of Epictetus, still live as if they have. To suck it up is to move beyond grieving and keep fighting.

The Stoic doctrine is essentially about reducing vulnerability. And it starts off where Aristotle leaves off. Aristotle insists that happiness depends to some degree on chance and prosperity. Though the primary component of happiness is virtue — and that, a matter of one’s own discipline and effort — realizing virtue in the world goes beyond one’s effort. Actions that succeed and relationships that endure and are reciprocal depend upon more than one’s own goodness. For the Stoics, this makes happiness far too dicey a matter. And so in their revision, virtue, and virtue alone, is sufficient for happiness. Virtue itself becomes purified, based on reason only, and shorn of ordinary emotions, like fear and grief that cling to objects beyond our control.

In the military, even those who have never laid eyes on a page of Epictetus, still live as if they have. To suck it up is to move beyond grieving and keep fighting; it is to stare death down in a death-saturated place; it is to face one more deployment after two or three or four already. It is hard to imagine a popular philosophy better suited to deprivation and constant subjection to stressors.

And yet in the more than 30 interviews I conducted with soldiers who have returned from the long current wars, what I heard was the wish to let go of the Stoic armor. They wanted to feel and process the loss. They wanted to register the complex inner moral landscape of war by finding some measure of empathy with their own emotions. One retired Army major put it flatly to me, “I’ve been sucking it up for 25 years, and I’m tired of it.” For some, like this officer, the war after the war is unrelenting. It is about psychological trauma and multiple suicide attempts, exacerbated by his own sense of shame in not being the Stoic warrior that he thought he could and should be. He went to war to prove himself, but came home emasculated.

Still we oversimplify grossly if we view all returning warriors through the lens of pathology and post-traumatic stress. Many soldiers wrestle with what they have seen and done in uniform, even when their conflicts don’t rise to the level of acute or chronic psychological trauma. And they feel guilt and shame even when they do no wrong by war’s best standards. Some anguish about having interrogated detainees not by torture, but the proper way, by slowly and deliberately building intimacy only in order to exploit it. Others feel shame for going to war with a sense of revenge and for then feeling its venom well up when a sniper guns down their buddy and their own survival depends on the raw desire for payback. They worry that their triumph in coming home alive is a betrayal of battle buddies who didn’t make it. And then once home, they worry that their real family is back on the battlefield, and they feel guilt for what feels like a misplaced intimacy.

These feelings of guilt and shame are ubiquitous in war. They are not just responses to committing atrocities or war crimes. They are the feelings good soldiers bear, in part as testament to their moral humanity. And they are feelings critical to shaping soldiers’ future lives as civilians. Yet these are feelings blocked off by idealized notions of Stoic purity and strength that leave little room for moral conflict and its painful residue.

One of the more compelling stories I heard was from a former Army interrogator who had been at Abu Ghraib as part of the “clean-up” act, a year after the torture scandal. This young interrogator had not engaged in torture or “enhanced” interrogation techniques: He did not subject detainees to waterboarding, or prolonged stress positions, or extreme sleep or sensory deprivation. Still, what he did do did not sit well with his civilian sensibilities. In one incident that especially bothered him, he showed a resistant detainee who had been stonewalling him a disturbing picture of a family member who had just been killed by a rival insurgent group in a bombing. The detainee broke down and after months of silence, finally started to talk. After the session, the interrogator walked out of the cell and chuckled to himself: “That finally got him to talk.” That crowing at getting another to become so vulnerable felt morally repulsive to him now.

He offered a striking analogy for what it felt like to be the interrogator he once was: Entering the interrogation cell was a bit like going into a mass with Gregorian chants sung in Latin: It takes place, he said, “in a different universe.” “War, too, takes place in a different time and space.” In essence, he was describing dissociation, or for the Stoics, what amounts to detachment from certain objects so they cannot affect you. Yet for this young interrogator detachment was not ultimately a viable solution: “I know I am the same person who was doing those things. And that’s what tears at your soul.”

Cicero, a great translator and transmitter of the earliest Greek Stoic texts, records a similar inner struggle. After the loss of his daughter Tullia in childbirth, he turned to Stoicism to assuage his grief. But ultimately he could not accept its terms: “It is not within our power to forget or gloss over circumstances which we believe to be evil…They tear at us, buffet us, goad us, scorch us, stifle us — and you tell us to forget about them?”

Put in the context of today’s wars, this could just as easily be a soldier’s narrative about the need to put on Stoic armor and the need to take it off.

Nancy Sherman is University Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown and has served as the first Distinguished Chair in Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy. She is the author of five books, including her most recent, “The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds and Souls of Our Soldiers.”

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Nuclear Posture Review

April 15, 2010

The prevention of nuclear terrorism and proliferation is at the top of the US policy agenda. With the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, the Nuclear Security Summit and the review of the Non Proliferation Treaty as central elements to a broader approach to deterrence, this Nuclear Posture Review is paving the way for a reduced role for nuclear weapons and eventually, a world without nuclear weapons.

The NPR is an interagency document calling for investments for warhead life extension, credible modernization to sustain the nuclear infrastructure and a continued national nuclear deterrent.

Reality bites…Democracy Wins

March 20, 2010

Good news! Despite unprecedented political rankling, America still stands…perhaps evermore indebted but an intact society.

A majority must be on board…or the very fabric of society is at risk. Fringe elements or the disenfranchised represent warning shots that something is askew.

Many issues that divide our nation are reflected in party politics. Some issues become so divisive that the ability to govern at the national level is limited. The Vietnam War was so divisive that this nation is yet to recover. Iraq and Afghanistan were bubbling to epic proportions. Yet, resistance to the increasing involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan has subsided.

Under the Bush administration, Democrats were loathe to support additional funding or commitment of troops for Iraq and Afghanistan. But when in power, circumstances change for the parties. Has the reality of governing overcome the idealism of campaigning?

Decreased resistance to the war in Afghanistan is a direct result of a change in party leadership in Washington. Isn’t it interesting to see that the once divisive Bush administration anti-terror policies that included warrantless wiretaps, rendition and detention without trial and military tribunals are now a part of the Obama administration lexicon.

I often marvel at the change in power and the subsequent change in policies. While the democratic process is often messy and it alienates a large audience, it does bring forward a national debate that illuminates those toughest of issues. This process is critical to the survival of the very fabric of our society.

When I left office at the Defense Department, we had accomplished a thorough review of Afghanistan and Pakistan with some very comprehensive recommendations, if I say so myself. The results of the review were not implemented but were prepared for the new administration as a point of departure. In hindsight, this was a very wise decision by the previous administration.

Because this nation was embroiled in a heated debate of the efficacy of spending national blood and treasure in far-off lands, it was important for the new administration to take its place in the leadership role. And now with the weight of the White House committed to the war in Afghanistan, America is committed. That is great news for our troops and a huge step from an isolationist approach.

America derives its greatness from the willingness to display it’s messy and sometimes embarrassing kitchen table discussions. National consensus is gained through debate and transparency. America is well served by the transition of power. People are challenged daily and reminded that freedom is fragile and the only way a democracy survives is by the participation of its citizens.

For all its inefficiencies, the democratic process accomplishes its objective. But citizens must move from being spectators to active participants. By all accounts, that’s the way the founding fathers envisioned the process. When properly exercised, vision and acceptance will lead to cohesion in the society.

Yes, reality bites but America is well served by its democratic system. The transition from ideology to governance requires debate understanding and resolve. But in the end, the people win when the fabric of our society is secure. So, enjoy the messiness, celebrate the wisdom of our founding fathers, embrace the change of power and be proud of democracy.

National Cybersecurity Initiative

March 6, 2010

Cybersecurity is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face but we are not adequately prepared to counter. In May 2009, the Cyberspace Policy Review recommended a coordinator with regular access to the President; close coordination with all key players in U.S. cybersecurity, including state and local governments and the private sector; strengthen public/private partnerships to find technology solutions that ensure U.S. security and prosperity; invest in the cutting-edge research and development necessary for the innovation and discovery to meet the digital challenges of our time; and begin a campaign to promote cybersecurity awareness and digital literacy while ensuring privacy rights and civil liberties guaranteed in the Constitution.

The Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) informed the Cyberspace Policy Review as the administrations transitioned in 2009. The CNCI and its associated activities have become key elements of a broader, updated national U.S. cybersecurity strategy. The CNCI consists of a number of mutually reinforcing initiatives with the following major goals designed to help secure the United States in cyberspace:

– Shared situational awareness of network vulnerabilities, threats, and events within the Federal Government—and ultimately with state, local, and tribal governments and private sector partners—and the ability to act quickly to reduce our current vulnerabilities and prevent intrusions.
– Enhanced U.S. counterintelligence capabilities and increasing the security of the supply chain for key information technologies.
– Expanded cyber education; coordinating and redirecting research and development efforts across the Federal Government; and working to define and develop strategies to deter hostile or malicious activity in cyberspace.
– Improved key functions as criminal investigation; intelligence collection, processing, and analysis; and information assurance critical to enabling national cybersecurity efforts.

The CNCI was developed with attention to privacy and civil liberties concerns in close consultation with privacy experts across the government. Below is a summary of the CNCI initiatives released by the administration.

CNCI Initiative Details
Initiative #1. Manage the Federal Enterprise Network as a single network enterprise with Trusted Internet Connections. The Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) initiative, headed by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security, covers the consolidation of the Federal Government’s external access points (including those to the Internet). This consolidation will result in a common security solution which includes: facilitating the reduction of external access points, establishing baseline security capabilities; and, validating agency adherence to those security capabilities. Agencies participate in the TIC initiative either as TIC Access Providers (a limited number of agencies that operate their own capabilities) or by contracting with commercial Managed Trusted IP Service (MTIPS) providers through the GSA-managed NETWORX contract vehicle.

Initiative #2. Deploy an intrusion detection system of sensors across the Federal enterprise. Intrusion Detection Systems using passive sensors form a vital part of U.S. Government network defenses by identifying when unauthorized users attempt to gain access to those networks. DHS is deploying, as part of its EINSTEIN 2 activities, signature-based sensors capable of inspecting Internet traffic entering Federal systems for unauthorized accesses and malicious content. The EINSTEIN 2 capability enables analysis of network flow information to identify potential malicious activity while conducting automatic full packet inspection of traffic entering or exiting U.S. Government networks for malicious activity using signature-based intrusion detection technology. Associated with this investment in technology is a parallel investment in manpower with the expertise required to accomplish DHS’s expanded network security mission. EINSTEIN 2 is capable of alerting US-CERT in real time to the presence of malicious or potentially harmful activity in federal network traffic and provides correlation and visualization of the derived data. Due to the capabilities within EINSTEIN 2, US-CERT analysts have a greatly improved understanding of the network environment and an increased ability to address the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Federal network security. As a result, US-CERT has greater situational awareness and can more effectively develop and more readily share security relevant information with network defenders across the U.S. Government, as well as with security professionals in the private sector and the American public. The Department of Homeland Security’s Privacy Office has conducted and published a Privacy Impact Assessment for the EINSTEIN 2 program.

Initiative #3. Pursue deployment of intrusion prevention systems across the Federal enterprise. This Initiative represents the next evolution of protection for civilian Departments and Agencies of the Federal Executive Branch. This approach, called EINSTEIN 3, will draw on commercial technology and specialized government technology to conduct real-time full packet inspection and threat-based decision-making on network traffic entering or leaving these Executive Branch networks. The goal of EINSTEIN 3 is to identify and characterize malicious network traffic to enhance cybersecurity analysis, situational awareness and security response. It will have the ability to automatically detect and respond appropriately to cyber threats before harm is done, providing an intrusion prevention system supporting dynamic defense. EINSTEIN 3 will assist DHS US-CERT in defending, protecting and reducing vulnerabilities on Federal Executive Branch networks and systems. The EINSTEIN 3 system will also support enhanced information sharing by US-CERT with Federal Departments and Agencies by giving DHS the ability to automate alerting of detected network intrusion attempts and, when deemed necessary by DHS, to send alerts that do not contain the content of communications to the National Security Agency (NSA) so that DHS efforts may be supported by NSA exercising its lawfully authorized missions. This initiative makes substantial and long-term investments to increase national intelligence capabilities to discover critical information about foreign cyber threats and use this insight to inform EINSTEIN 3 systems in real time. DHS will be able to adapt threat signatures determined by NSA in the course of its foreign intelligence and DoD information assurance missions for use in the EINSTEIN 3 system in support of DHS’s federal system security mission. Information sharing on cyber intrusions will be conducted in accordance with the laws and oversight for activities related to homeland security, intelligence, and defense in order to protect the privacy and rights of U.S. citizens.

DHS is currently conducting a exercise to pilot the EINSTEIN 3 capabilities described in this initiative based on technology developed by NSA and to solidify processes for managing and protecting information gleaned from observed cyber intrusions against civilian Executive Branch systems. Government civil liberties and privacy officials are working closely with DHS and US-CERT to build appropriate and necessary privacy protections into the design and operational deployment of EINSTEIN 3.

Initiative #4: Coordinate and redirect research and development (R&D) efforts. No single individual or organization is aware of all of the cyber-related R&D activities being funded by the Government. This initiative is developing strategies and structures for coordinating all cyber R&D sponsored or conducted by the U.S. government, both classified and unclassified, and to redirect that R&D where needed. This Initiative is critical to eliminate redundancies in federally funded cybersecurity research, and to identify research gaps, prioritize R&D efforts, and ensure the taxpayers are getting full value for their money as we shape our strategic investments.

Initiative #5. Connect current cyber ops centers to enhance situational awareness. There is a pressing need to ensure that government information security offices and strategic operations centers share data regarding malicious activities against federal systems, consistent with privacy protections for personally identifiable and other protected information and as legally appropriate, in order to have a better understanding of the entire threat to government systems and to take maximum advantage of each organization’s unique capabilities to produce the best overall national cyber defense possible. This initiative provides the key means necessary to enable and support shared situational awareness and collaboration across six centers that are responsible for carrying out U.S. cyber activities. This effort focuses on key aspects necessary to enable practical mission bridging across the elements of U.S. cyber activities: foundational capabilities and investments such as upgraded infrastructure, increased bandwidth, and integrated operational capabilities; enhanced collaboration, including common technology, tools, and procedures; and enhanced shared situational awareness through shared analytic and collaborative technologies.

The National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC) within the Department of Homeland Security will play a key role in securing U.S. Government networks and systems under this initiative by coordinating and integrating information from the six centers to provide cross-domain situational awareness, analyzing and reporting on the state of U.S. networks and systems, and fostering interagency collaboration and coordination.

Initiative #6. Develop and implement a government-wide cyber counterintelligence (CI) plan. A government-wide cyber counterintelligence plan is necessary to coordinate activities across all Federal Agencies to detect, deter, and mitigate the foreign-sponsored cyber intelligence threat to U.S. and private sector information systems. To accomplish these goals, the plan establishes and expands cyber CI education and awareness programs and workforce development to integrate CI into all cyber operations and analysis, increase employee awareness of the cyber CI threat, and increase counterintelligence collaboration across the government. The Cyber CI Plan is aligned with the National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States of America (2007) and supports the other programmatic elements of the CNCI.

Initiative #7. Increase the security of our classified networks. Classified networks house the Federal Government’s most sensitive information and enable crucial war-fighting, diplomatic, counterterrorism, law enforcement, intelligence, and homeland security operations. Successful penetration or disruption of these networks could cause exceptionally grave damage to our national security. We need to exercise due diligence in ensuring the integrity of these networks and the data they contain.

Initiative #8. Expand cyber education. While billions of dollars are being spent on new technologies to secure the U.S. Government in cyberspace, it is the people with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement those technologies who will determine success. However there are not enough cybersecurity experts within the Federal Government or private sector to implement the CNCI, nor is there an adequately established Federal cybersecurity career field. Existing cybersecurity training and personnel development programs, while good, are limited in focus and lack unity of effort. In order to effectively ensure our continued technical advantage and future cybersecurity, we must develop a technologically-skilled and cyber-savvy workforce and an effective pipeline of future employees. It will take a national strategy, similar to the effort to upgrade science and mathematics education in the 1950’s, to meet this challenge.

Initiative #9. Define and develop enduring “leap-ahead” technology, strategies, and programs. One goal of the CNCI is to develop technologies that provide increases in cybersecurity by orders of magnitude above current systems and which can be deployed within 5 to 10 years. This initiative seeks to develop strategies and programs to enhance the component of the government R&D portfolio that pursues high-risk/high-payoff solutions to critical cybersecurity problems. The Federal Government has begun to outline Grand Challenges for the research community to help solve these difficult problems that require ‘out of the box’ thinking. In dealing with the private sector, the government is identifying and communicating common needs that should drive mutual investment in key research areas.

Initiative #10. Define and develop enduring deterrence strategies and programs. Our Nation’s senior policymakers must think through the long-range strategic options available to the United States in a world that depends on assuring the use of cyberspace. To date, the U.S. Government has been implementing traditional approaches to the cybersecurity problem—and these measures have not achieved the level of security needed. This Initiative is aimed at building an approach to cyber defense strategy that deters interference and attack in cyberspace by improving warning capabilities, articulating roles for private sector and international partners, and developing appropriate responses for both state and non-state actors.

Initiative #11. Develop a multi-pronged approach for global supply chain risk management. Globalization of the commercial information and communications technology marketplace provides increased opportunities for those intent on harming the United States by penetrating the supply chain to gain unauthorized access to data, alter data, or interrupt communications. Risks stemming from both the domestic and globalized supply chain must be managed in a strategic and comprehensive way over the entire lifecycle of products, systems and services. Managing this risk will require a greater awareness of the threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences associated with acquisition decisions; the development and employment of tools and resources to technically and operationally mitigate risk across the lifecycle of products (from design through retirement); the development of new acquisition policies and practices that reflect the complex global marketplace; and partnership with industry to develop and adopt supply chain and risk management standards and best practices. This initiative will enhance Federal Government skills, policies, and processes to provide departments and agencies with a robust toolset to better manage and mitigate supply chain risk at levels commensurate with the criticality of, and risks to, their systems and networks.

Initiative #12. Define the Federal role for extending cybersecurity into critical infrastructure domains. The U.S. Government depends on a variety of privately owned and operated critical infrastructures to carry out the public’s business. In turn, these critical infrastructures rely on the efficient operation of information systems and networks that are vulnerable to malicious cyber threats. This Initiative builds on the existing and ongoing partnership between the Federal Government and the public and private sector owners and operators of Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR). The Department of Homeland Security and its private-sector partners have developed a plan of shared action with an aggressive series of milestones and activities. It includes both short-term and long-term recommendations, specifically incorporating and leveraging previous accomplishments and activities that are already underway. It addresses security and information assurance efforts across the cyber infrastructure to increase resiliency and operational capabilities throughout the CIKR sectors. It includes a focus on public-private sharing of information regarding cyber threats and incidents in both government and CIKR.

United States Air Force Posture Statement

March 6, 2010

I’ve attached the United States Air Force Posture Statement, 2010. Secretary Donley and General Schwartz testified before Congress defining the way ahead for the USAF and the FY11 budget.
The 2010 Air Force Posture Statement presents the Air Force vision of Global Vigilance, Reach and Power as a vital component of the Joint team, defending National interests, and guided by Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.
In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Secretary of Defense established four U.S. defense objectives to guide current actions as well as to plan for the future: prevail in today’s wars, prevent and deter conflict, prepare to defeat adversaries and succeed in a wide range of contingencies, and preserve and enhance the all-volunteer force. In accordance with this guidance, the Air Force developed the 2011 budget request to enhance capabilities to meet these objectives, while balancing risk appropriately. As the future security environment will require a range of agile and flexible capabilities, investments for today’s conflict will also support efforts to prepare, prevent, and prevail, and preserve well into the future.
Prevail in Today’s Wars: Investments in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, as well as airlift, command and control, and building partner capacity reinforce the prominence of this priority in this budget request. In addition, nearly 30,000 deployed Airmen daily provide key capabilities in direct support of combat operations.
Prevent and Deter Conflict: The Air Force made significant resource and cultural investments in reinvigorating the Air Force’s portion of the Nation’s nuclear deterrence over the past 18 months. The Air Force is now institutionalizing these successes to ensure the highest standards across the nuclear enterprise. Initial investments in a family of long-range strike capabilities mark the commitment to sustaining power projection capabilities for the next several decades.
Prepare to Defeat Adversaries and Succeed in a Wide Range of Contingencies: This priority directly reflects the Air Force emphasis on balancing commitments to today’s conflicts against preparing for mid- and long-term risks. Awarding a contract this year to recapitalize the aging tanker force is the top acquisition priority. Similarly, the F-35 will be the workhorse of the fighter force for decades to come. Investment in this program is timed with other modernization initiatives and divestment plans to ensure sufficient capabilities are available to deter and defeat potential enemies.
Preserve and Enhance the All-Volunteer Force: Preserving and enhancing the all-volunteer force provides the foundation required for a flexible and agile posture. This budget reflects a commitment to enhancing the force through education and training, while also bolstering the overall quality of life of Airmen and their families.
The Air Force’s proposed FY11 budget of $119.6B achieves the right balance between providing capabilities for today’s commitments and posturing for future challenges. Balancing requirements for today and tomorrow determined this recapitalization strategy. The Air Force chose to improve its existing capabilities whenever possible, and to pursue new systems when required. This recapitalization approach attempts to keep pace with threat developments and required capabilities, while ensuring stewardship of national resources. In developing this budget request, the Air Force also carefully preserved and enhanced the comprehensive approach to taking care of Airmen and Air Force families.

AIR FORCE CORE FUNCTIONS
Nuclear Deterrence Operations, Air Superiority, Space Superiority, Cyberspace Superiority, Global Precision Attack, Rapid Global Mobility, Special Operations, Global Integrated ISR, Command and Control, Personnel Recovery, Building Partnerships, Agile Combat Support

America’s Organizing Principles

March 3, 2010

One might suggest organizing principles for social structures center on individual desires to be a part of a larger entity. And when convinced the organizing principle reflects the way an individual feels, that person is then willing to launch head first into that vision. Whether the organizing principle is religion, economics or family; understanding the dynamics for cohesion of a society is an underlying principle so important to survival of values, morals and faith of a nation.

America is great because of its beliefs not as a result of its accomplishments. While the accomplishments are substantial and are a record of its vision, America’s vision and ideas are the framework that lights the path to the pursuit of happiness. The common vision of the citizens of this country is central to success.

Organized in very thoughtful documents, America’s forefathers enabled a successful vision; one of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While there were no guarantees, immigrants poured through the gateways into this nation. They ran toward their dreams of opportunity. Not with a mind to return to their homeland but with a vision to make a new life in a land of opportunity where success was a function of individual toils and reward based upon their hard work and willingness to be a part of this new society.

Individual efforts were central to the development of this nation. With the desire to work hard, the understanding that common defense made sense and with the fundamental understanding of its place within the international community, Americans embraced the concept of free markets, low taxes, free trade and hope in the future. Fundamental ethics and values were reflected in beliefs gained from a value system that embraced faith.

Those concepts remain at the heart of this nation today. Tolerance, individual rights and respect are a part of each citizen. America is a nation that remains committed to its fundamental organizing principles and to the concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. America’s best days are yet to be seen. Let’s be a part of that dream.