Chertoff's Remarks on Aligning U.S., European Air Security

Hear what Chertoff has to say in this transcribed speech from at the German Marshall Fund and European Policy Centre


Brussels, Belgium, German Marshall Fund and European Policy Centre May 23, 2005 (Remarks as Prepared)

Thank you very much Ron for that kind introduction. I appreciate the opportunity to speak before this distinguished group. This is my first trip to Europe as Secretary of Homeland Security – the first of what I hope will be many occasions to further enhance our work together to secure our nations and peoples from the threat of terrorism.

Both the German Marshall Fund and European Policy Centre offer critical forums for the vital types of discussion and dialogue that must occur between the United States and Europe as we confront the challenges and complex issues surrounding our efforts to protect our citizens and preserve our freedoms. So, I thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. More than sixty years ago, a well-known European statesman was invited to speak at Harvard University and in his speech he spoke of our shared responsibility to “faithfully serve great causes.” That mantle of responsibility is one that has been passed on to those of us here in this room. And the call to serve issued by Churchill those many years ago is one that we continue to carry out – by faithfully serving the cause of liberty. Europeans have had a much longer history with those who embrace terror as a weapon against freedom and justice. As such, America has learned a great deal from our allies and gained valuable insight and information on how to contend with this type of enemy.

From the attacks of 9/11 to those carried out in Madrid, Beslan, Jakarta, and Istanbul -- we know that terrorism is a scourge that is felt globally and must therefore be addressed globally. Together, Europe and America, along with our other international allies, have worked to eradicate the threat terrorism poses to our safety and our freedom. Over the past few years, much has been done to bolster our transatlantic alliance and build upon an already strong foundation of collaboration and partnership. But if we are going to arrive at a day when international terror no longer haunts our countries and our citizens, then we must be prepared to advance our cooperation to the next level and further engage each other and the entire global community.

The reality is we cannot expect to defeat terrorism the same way we have defeated enemies in the past – by massing superior forces in the field. With terrorism, we are facing more than an army – we are fighting a network – an insidious network of terror that stretches across the globe. Economist Thomas Friedman recently observed in his book, The World is Flat, that terrorism in the 21st century is really the globalization of the kind of individual terror acts we saw in the 20th century.

And much as globalization has transformed the world of business, it has transformed the world of terror. The 9/11 attacks are a primary example of this type of terrorist globalization at work. In that instance, a plot was hatched in Central Asia with recruits who came from Saudi Arabia, who were trained in Afghanistan, who set up and began to develop their infrastructure and their platform in Europe, and who then carried out and executed their mission here in the United States. That is globalization. That is networking. That is outsourcing. All in the service of evil. For terrorism has now outfitted itself in the techniques and technology of a 21st century organization. So, we must respond by examining the 21st century structures and systems that terrorists exploit in order to carry out their missions so that we pinpoint the vulnerabilities and shut them down. In most networks, vulnerability points tend to be in communication, financing, and transportation. Those are the kinds of activities that bind a network together.

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