The Highs and Lows of U.S. National Security in 2015: A Year-End Review

As we come to the end of the year, it’s time to revisit some of the highlights, as well as some of the lowlights, of our national security in 2015. There have been ups, there have been downs. Make that a lot of downs. As President Barack Obama entered the latter half of his second and final term, he oversaw numerous security challenges, some notably serious, that will be bequeathed to his successor. So let’s take a look back at the year that was…

1. What National Security?

Without any benefit of hindsight, since we’re still (barely) in it, 2015 stands as the year when the bottom fell out of our national security. When everybody in government and business seemed to be getting hacked and nobody quite knew what to do about it. Now, the cancerous trends in Washington, D.C. that birthed this unprecedented fiasco—bureaucratic laziness, incompetent leadership lacking accountability, above all a total neglect of basic counterintelligenceextend back years, even decades, and cannot be blamed on President Obama alone. That said, if you felt the president was slow out of the gate addressing how everybody—the Pentagon, the State Department, even the White House—was getting hacked, well, so did everybody else not on the administration’s payroll. To say nothing of how the Office of Personnel Management gave away the store, the most personal records of more than twenty million government employees, military and civilian, past and present. That said, it’s not fair to call what OPM got hit with “hacking” since it’s what naturally happens when you outsource your IT to Chinese contractors actually sitting in China. Thus did “we suck at everything” become the mantra of national security pros in 2015.

Read the rest over at the New York Observer