Six months ago, this column addressed the origins of posse comitatus law that limits use of military forces to perform police work. An interesting evolution of this topic was defined in a draft report dated 31 January by The United States Commission on National Security entitled "Road Map for National Security: Imperative for Change," the last of a three-part report. The first report postulated how the world will change over the next 25 years; the second devised a national strategy to deal with that world; the third focuses on reforming U.S. government structure and processes that implement the strategy. All of these reports can be read at .

I am reminded of problems faced by the Argentine people concerned with unrest during domestic insurgency. They requested protection from national government, which provided it, but at the expense of most personal freedoms. (It's one thing to confront wolves, or a wolf in sheep's clothing, but quite another to meet wolves in shepherd's garb.) Hold that thought as you consider some serious national security issues.

I understand who gets credit versus who writes these reports. Therefore, I do not ascribe criticism for the report content to former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, co-chairmen of the study, whose members noted that they strove successfully "to achieve consensus on all major issues" (to please most of the people most of the time). The vague and overarching report achieves this exactly (Washington madness); i.e., say nice stuff on the subject but make no commitments. Commissions cannot make commitments, only recommendations, which assures no fault. But vague thoughts are left to interpretative implementation by legions of bureaucrats in the current mode of federal operation, and that does not bode well for us sheep.

Significant technological, social and intellectual changes occurring require real strategic adjustments in America. The commission recommends forming a National Homeland Security Agency to plan, coordinate, and integrate various federal activities involved with homeland protection, in part because the U.S. was a target of 40% of all worldwide terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD) over the past decade. The U.S. is the target of an average 15 terrorist incidents a year; since 1982, an average 42 Americans died and 115 were injured annually. To put this into perspective, about 900 Americans annually are drowned in bath tubs and swimming pools. Federal government spends about $10 billion a year on WMD preparedness. So, do resource commitments match the threat and if not, why is the government on this track? The Achilles heel of current national plans is a lack of an organized program of public education on WMD awareness and preparedness. When this is viewed in context of the "planning void" indirectly cited by the commission, it raises doubts about what is happening.

The people must trust their government, but why could U.S. citizens be mistrustful? Consider that Dept. of Defense (DOD) was responsible for training to respond to WMD events until 1 October 2000, when Dept. of Justice (DOJ) took on that responsibility. DOD provided training instruction directly to local authorities, completely bypassing governor-controlled State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) organizations. DOD overlooked mutual assistance agreements existing at local and regional levels and injected central command authority into the response training process. DOD also made selective personnel demands on the National Guard to avoid controls by governors over the Guard. DOD violated chain of command and control because of inter-agency turf battles and its arrogance. There are reasons not to feel warm, confident, and secure when you consider DOJ's (of which the FBI is part) private data collection (Carnivore) and maintenance (the Reno and Clinton White House release of an "enemies list"). Are there wolves about? We do not know, but must refocus this recurring question so as not to become lamb chops.

Various of this commission's fifty recommendations seem appropriate, but so does motherhood. American taxpayers pay a high price for federal inefficiencies and misdirections and that makes me wonder why. A National Homeland Security Agency is another example of WHY?