In this bracingly honest talk, international security strategist Thomas Barnett outlines a post-Cold War solution for the foundering U.S. military that is both sensible and breathtaking in its simplicity: Break it in two.
About Thomas Barnett
Strategic planner Thomas Barnett has advised US leaders on national security since the end of the Cold War. His bold ideas about the future of warfare and the military are spelled out in his..
Wikipedia: Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, from October 2001 to June 2003, Barnett worked as the Assistant for Strategic Futures in the Office of Force Transformation in the Department of Defense under the direction of the late Vice Admiral (ret). Arthur K. Cebrowski, during which time he created a Powerpoint brief that developed into his book The Pentagon’s New Map.
THOMAS BARNETT AND 9/11:
May 1, 2000-June 4, 2001: Workshops Held at WTC Discuss Possibility of Terrorist Attack on Wall Street
Beginning early in 2000, a unique research partnership takes place between the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and the Wall Street bond firm Cantor Fitzgerald. The venture is called the New Rule Sets Project and is directed by Thomas Barnett, a senior strategic researcher at the Naval War College. It aims to explore how globalization is altering America’s definitions of national security. In particular, the project leads to three-day-long workshops being held at the Windows on the World Restaurant on the 107th floor of the north World Trade Center tower, where Cantor Fitzgerald has offices. These are in May 2000, October 2000, and June 2001. They bring together “Wall Street heavyweights, senior national security officials, and leading experts from academia and think tanks.” The participants discuss “globalization’s future and the threats that could derail it.” They explore scenarios such as “a terrorist strike on Wall Street, war in the Persian Gulf, and a financial crisis in Asia,” all of which, as Barnett will later point out, “proved amazingly prescient.” [Naval War College, 1/7/2002; Barnett, 2004, pp. 5-6, 46-47 and 197]
At the second of these workshops, three mysterious “spies” turn up. They do not participate or interact with anyone, but just observe. Despite having a Top Secret clearance, project director Thomas Barnett is not allowed to know their identities. This particular workshop involves the future of foreign direct investment in Asia, so Barnett later suggests the “spies” are observing it, “because both the Pentagon and the intelligence community had developed a laserlike focus on China as the ‘rising near-peer competitor.’” Due to the Naval War College’s partnership with Cantor Fitzgerald, Barnett visits the World Trade Center two or three dozen times between 1998 and 2001. The last of these visits will be just four days before 9/11, and Barnett is originally scheduled to meet there again two weeks after 9/11. As director of the New Rule Sets Project, he also visits the Pentagon on a regular basis, and will be scheduled to give another briefing there a week after 9/11, in the Navy’s command center facilities: an area of the building that is destroyed when the Pentagon is struck. [Barnett, 2004, pp. 46-47 and 224-225; C-SPAN, 5/30/2004]
Barnett will later reflect, “September 11 was crystallizing. We all just went, This is what we were talking about—a peacetime, war-like event that’s so profound it forces us to rethink everything.” [Esquire, 12/2002] Cantor Fitzgerald will suffer the greatest single loss by any company on 9/11, with 658 of its employees dying in the north WTC tower. [Business Week, 9/11/2006]
But Barnett’s two “mentors” at the firm that he interacts with—Bud Flanagan and Philip Ginsburg—will both be out of the building at the time, for “accidental reasons,” and therefore survive the attacks. [Bloomberg, 9/13/2001; Barnett, 2004, pp. 199; Institute of International Studies, 3/8/2005]
Within weeks of 9/11, Barnett will be installed as the assistant for strategic futures in Donald Rumsfeld’s newly created Office of Force Transformation (see October 29, 2001). [Esquire, 12/2002]
The Reopen America Back to School Special is now live! Earn double Patriot Points on our hottest items!