Today marks the launch of a new watchdog organization, the Citizens Commission on National Security (CCNS). Its mission is to strengthen America’s national security by focusing on our government’s policies and holding our elected officials and their appointed personnel accountable in the public arena for the policies they develop and implement—as well as those they ought to be focusing on, but aren’t. The Commission will also hold the media accountable for their coverage of national security matters. Our members have a vast array of experience in military, intelligence, diplomacy, legislation, and the media. We plan to use our various experiences to exert a significant impact on the strength and security of America. While the CCNS is organized around conservative principles, it will operate as a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3).
The CCNS is comprised of former high-ranking military officers (including three generals and an admiral, as well as the three founding members of Special Operations Speaks); intelligence officers (two former CIA officers); and a former congressmen, Allen West, who is also a retired Lt. Colonel. Support for the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship is a key pillar of the CCNS. Dr. Rand H. Fishbein, another member, is a former Professional Staff Member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, who has played an important role in the development of programs to strengthen American and allied warfighting capabilities in the region.
How will the CCNS make a difference? Most members were previously part of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB), which had a major impact on the course of that investigation. The CCB issued its first report in April of 2014. One week later then-Speaker of the House John Boehner announced the formation of a Select Committee to uncover the facts behind the emerging scandal. The day after Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) issued his final report, the CCB issued its second report, which connected the dots and explained the Benghazi scandal in a more understandable narrative.
Plans for the CCNS include an investigation to sort out the truth about alleged collusion with the Russians, and how that affects our national security. The CCNS will hold a public event, webcast or broadcast, examining the various issues involved, including potential corruption and abuse within our justice system and intelligence community. It will include alleged collusion between Donald Trump and his associates with Russia, and the documented and reported collusion between the Clinton/Obama team and Russia, as well as by the Clinton/Obama team against the Trump candidacy and presidency. The CCNS will bring new information and insights into this ongoing story and issue a report based on the findings.
We will also look at the so-called Iranian nuclear agreement, the JCPOA, and the implications of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from it. In that context, we will also review the nuclear and ballistic missile threats from both Iran and North Korea. Finally, given the failure of any recent administration to formulate and effectively execute a comprehensive national security strategy for U.S. policy in the Middle East, the CCNS will assess and expose that failure, and then offer its own policy ideas for consideration.
In addition, we will comment on current issues in the news, such as this week’s meetings in Singapore to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea and other related issues. Admiral James “Ace” Lyons (Ret.), the senior member of the CCNS, has a column up on our website today discussing this meeting. Ace contends that “while Kim Jong-Un will be sitting at the table, make no mistake, the President and his team will actually be negotiating with China.”
We will discuss the current controversy over the sale of our Lockheed Martin-produced F-35 fighter aircraft to Turkey and how that could affect our close ally, Israel, as well as the balance of power in that region.
The CCNS will be filing Freedom of Information Act requests, issuing statements to the press and position papers, holding press conferences, conducting investigations, and distributing the information we uncover through the website, ccnationalsecurity.org. In addition, the CCNS will publish articles on the website from members and selected guests. Plans are underway for a radio show, and to eventually move to having an Internet-based TV show. We will be getting our members on TV and radio shows to discuss the important issues of the day, as well as to advise members of Congress and the White House when appropriate. There are also plans for a speakers’ bureau to get speaking engagements for CCNS members.
We view national security in terms greater than just military and intelligence matters. National security can be threatened by a failure to control who is allowed to come into this country and under what circumstances, or by a corrupt news media. It can further be threatened by loose safeguards over who controls our ports, and the failure to take certain, easily attainable steps that could minimize the impact of a terrorist attack, including an EMP attack. With over $20 trillion in debt, and another $100-plus trillion in underfunded entitlement programs and pension funds, another powerful strain is placed on our national security. And so far, Congress has failed to tackle these issues head on.
We plan to become a powerful voice in the marketplace of ideas, a voice that will do our part to help the U.S. remain as a strong, powerful force for good in the world, while doing the things at home that will support that effort. Thanks for checking us out, and we hope that you will come back often. We will be distributing our work via an email list, so please sign up to receive them.