Jon Huntsman President 2012


Al-Qa’ida and other groups have evolved since 9-11 in response to our efforts against them, and we must adapt accordingly.


Counter Terrorism

Following the attacks of September 11, the United States invaded Afghanistan to deny the future use of that country as a safehaven to terrorists. In many respects, we have been successful: we removed the Taliban from power, drove Al-Qaeda and affiliated groups into hiding, degraded the ability of terrorists to train freely and plot attacks against our homeland, and our intelligence and military forces killed Osama Bin Laden across the border.

These successes notwithstanding, there are still terrorists active throughout the world who seek to attack America. Whereas the focal point of the war on terror was more easily identified in the past, now the United States must have evolving strategies and capabilities to deal with threats emanating from a more diverse geography, including Yemen, the Horn of Africa, Pakistan and the Asia-Pacific. The best defense is a good offense. We will not relent in finding these terrorists where they hide and eliminating the threat they represent.

Al-Qaeda and other groups have evolved since 9-11 in response to our efforts against them, and we must adapt accordingly. Terrorist networks have become more diffuse, their modes of operation have become more difficult to detect, and the sophistication of their potential means of attack is growing. They are being creative in considering new ways to target our economy, our security, and indeed our daily psyche. Whether employing technical means such as cyber attacks and the targeting of critical infrastructure, or crude one-man shooting sprees in crowded public venues, we must be as flexible in our prevention as they are in their execution. Above all, we cannot allow these groups to acquire and employ weapons of mass destruction.

President Obama broke a pledge to close Guantanamo Bay prison facility; this flawed approach to leadership leaves us all uncertain as to the future of not only Gitmo, but a multitude of matters that impact our security. The professional men and women who take this fight to the enemy on our behalf should not have to wonder whether they'll later be prosecuted by the justice department for doing their jobs in good faith. And Americans should know that their government has a constitutionally sound plan for dealing with terrorists who seek to kill them.

Protecting the United States today requires that the President take the initiative on several fronts. Our military and intelligence services must transform and adapt; we must be more creative in the tools we can bring to bear in the fight; we need relationships overseas where terrorists hide; and we need to make clear to the American people that the White House has a plan.

Jon Huntsman Priorities:

The U.S. force structure is still in many respects a relic of the Cold War. As our overall posture is "right-sized" we must equip our military, intelligence community and special forces to agilely target the threat anywhere and anytime.

Creative approaches to countering the terrorist threat. The U.S. should increasingly employ creative means to disrupt terrorist networks, such as cracking down on finance networks, improving information operations, investing in new ISR technologies, and taking forward-thinking and calculated risks in building a 21st century intelligence apparatus.

Partnership with friends and allies. We should continue to train Afghan security forces to address their native threats, and our aid to Pakistan should be firmly quid pro quo, based on Islamabad's genuine efforts to counter terrorism. Our treaty allies can be further encouraged to share intelligence and develop their own capacity for action against terrorist networks as we form prudent relationships with groups and governments wherever terrorists hide.

Keeping us safe and maintaining our values. Guantanamo Bay is an imperfect solution. But we must keep enemy fighters off the battlefield, maintain mechanisms to derive useful intelligence from detainees, and have a suitable detention facility until individual cases can be adjudicated. But it is also a priority that as we defend ourselves, we maintain our international legal commitments, and more importantly, abide by the spirit and letter of our Constitution. This includes ensuring that our counterterrorism professionals acting in good faith and within their duties need never doubt whether their own government will turn on them.


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