There are many global issues that are running rampant today, including: hunger, epidemics, and rampant deforestation. Oftentimes these problems get overlooked by some Americans because they do not pose an immediate threat to their everyday lives. One threat that does find itself on the forefront of American minds is terrorism. Chairman of American Defense International, Van Hipp, has studied the terrorist motives and capabilities and has written about how to defend against them in his new book, The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It.
Hipp released this book this week, kicking off his tour at the Nixon Presidential Library, and was introduced by the late president’s brother, Edward. The location and the introduction were important to Hipp because of the warnings given by the president before he died.
“I was looking at some of President Nixon’s writings and in the next to last book before he died, he warned about the threat of radical Islam and the threat it poses to the West,” Hipp said. “Then I saw a video clip of him talking with Larry King where he said radical Islam is the biggest threat to the 21st century.”
One of the most dangerous threats to America is that of homegrown terrorists, notably ones that target the nation’s financial institutions.
“Look at it from a historical perspective, the financial crisis we had in 2008 was bad, but it’s nothing compared to a mass attack on our financial system,” he said. “There are so many people that we don’t have a clue who they are or where they’re coming from.”
Hipp added that if a port or harbor is hit, it could mean crippling consequences for the economy.
“(Homegrown terrorists) want to inflict the most harm on America economically. One thing that concerns me is port and harbor security. When you shut down one major port in the U.S. you inflict serious harm economically in the U.S. and the Western World,” he said. “Bad guys have underwater IED’s and we have underwater vehicles that can survey the shipping routes and that should be done periodically to get ahead of this fight.”
Currently, U.S. citizens that join a terrorist group do not lose their citizenship, something Hipp said should not be the case.
“Homegrown terrorism is where we are seeing the greatest increase of terrorist plots on U.S. soil. The bulk of terrorist plots in the U.S. have been from people who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It should be that if you join a terrorist group, you lose your citizenship.”
It’s difficult to argue that encouraging moderate and reformed Muslims to come forward with intelligence and being rewarded rather than ostracized isn’t important. Hipp also said that gaining energy independence is crucial to winning the fight.
“We have to be 100 percent energy-independent and sustainable. An increase in energy demand in-between now and 2040 will put a great deal of pressure on the energy crisis,” he said. “We can’t afford to buy any more oil from the Middle East. Those excess petrodollars, we have to cut off the supply.”
Technology is advancing quickly and while many advances are for the good of the world, a lot of them fall into the wrong hands. America has been hacked before and Hipp believes we need to beef up on our cyber security.
“The hacks on our financial institutions and Wall Street at some point are going to take its toll on our financial systems. The Chinese hacked to get our IP’s, Iranians hacked for pure sabotage purposes, we have to look at how they hack and why,” he said. “We need 20,000-30,000 cyber security experts from a government and commercial standpoint to protect us from those attacks and we currently only have 1,000. We need a national security scholarship for those studying computer science.”
While the attacks of September 11 targeted large cities such as New York and Washington, many in smaller towns are worried if they are at risk, something Hipp addressed.
“To bad guys, they want to inflict the most damage possible in terms of casualties and economics. The good news as far as stadiums are concerned: we have technology with those threats that we have good standoff detection systems. We need those technologies available,” he said. “The bigger threat is the suicide bomber scenario and car bombs are much more dangerous now.”
Isis is a group that Hipp said is more technologically savvy than others and one that we can’t just defeat today, but one that needs systems in place so the threats don’t reconstitute themselves. One such system is the Alhurra Network that’s mission is to provide “objective, accurate and relevant news and information to its audience while seeking to support democratic values and expand the spectrum of ideas, opinions, and perspectives.” Hipp believes the Alhurra Network has helped but more needs to be done, including supporting King Abdullah.
“We have to work with the moderate and reformed muslims, like King Abdullah. We need to stand by him and give him everything he needs. We need to take the fight to radical Islam,” he said. “(Isis) doesn’t want to talk to us, they want to kill us and we need to understand that. We have to completely destroy and kill Isis before they kill us. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
“In the long-term we can win, people need to understand what this is about and what we can win,” he continued. “It’s a defining moment in the War on Terror. If anyone doesn’t realize this is a fight between good and pure evil, I don’t know what planet they’re on. It’s for anyone that appreciates basic human values.”
When former vice president, Dick Cheney, appointed Hipp to his position as Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Navy, he told Hipp that it offered him a unique perspective as someone to work for both the army and navy. Hipp was previously sworn in as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army. He said the insight helped him immensely in writing the book, something he said is of interest to anyone that is concerned or curious about the nation’s safety.
“It addresses the totality of the threats to the homeland and what we need to do to make this country safe for future generations,” he said. “If you’re concerned about making this country safe, then you should read the book.”
Hipp will be speaking at the Overby Center on March 4 at 10 a.m.
Michael Quirk is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.