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An Appeal to the National Security Community to Fight Racial Injustice


People protesting the death of George Floyd hold up placards near the White House in Washington on May 31. MANDEL NGAN/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

This is a cross-post article excerpt from Foreign Policy’s “Shadow Government.” 

Two former U.S. officials argue there is no security abroad without justice at home.

By Bishop Garrison, Jon Wolfstahl

We have both had the honor of serving our country, albeit in different ways. One of us is a West Point graduate, former Obama appointee, and combat veteran with experience in homeland security; the other has been a civil servant and political appointee and has worked in places such as North Korea and Russia to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. One of us is black, and one of us is white. One of us is Jewish, and the other is Christian.

We have different backgrounds, but both of us have spent our lives in service of the same goal: a safe and secure country where our fellow citizens can thrive and reach their potential. We are proud to be part of a dedicated, highly educated, and principled national security community made up of people who serve and believe in the promise of America. Those who make up this broader community give their considerable talents not to making money or gathering power, but instead to ensuring U.S. security and promoting a foreign policy that protects not just U.S. citizens and interests, but also the universal ideals of freedom and self-determination around the world.

It is time for this great community to explicitly and collectively turn serious attention and energy to the issue that fundamentally threatens our ability to protect U.S. national security: racial injustice and inequality at home. The United States cannot claim to be a beacon of freedom in the world if it continues to witness and accept the ongoing murder of innocent black people. Unless the country makes fundamental changes, cities and communities will continue to be torn apart through over-policing and abuse, economic and racial inequity, and other persistent legacies of racism—all undermining both the United States’ ability to function as a society and its credibility on the global stage.

Read the full article at the Foreign Policy website.

Disclosure: Bishop Garrison is also a Policy Fellow with the Center for Climate and Security, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks.


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