Dear Senator Obama:

Congratulations on your historic victory. Our nation has spoken and it is now time for all Americans to support you as you make the difficult transition to assume your new duties as president and, of even greater importance, as commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces. As you do so, I would like to offer some unsolicited advice about the priorities you are considering for your administration.  Much was spoken, by both major candidates in this year’s presidential campaign, about the need for change. The citizens of America agreed, and elected you to develop and implement new and far-reaching 21st-centuryeas and approaches to the problems our nation will encounter in the “new world order” of tomorrow. From my vantage point, one major change I would suggest would be a realignment of the duties and responsibilities currently assigned to the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security.  Each of those departments plays a significant national-security role, and all are individually as well as collectively responsible for the protection and preparedness of our country and the American people themselves. It is already clear, though, that the new global challenges already apparent or now developing just over the horizon will require that you redefine the roles of each of those departments – and also provide the funding necessary to ensure that all three are able to carry out the full spectrum of their duties and responsibilities. As you yourself pointed out many times during the past 18 months, for America to sustain its role as the leading global power requires that we continue to have capable, well-trained and well-equipped soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines as well as strong National Guard and Reserve components and a multi-mission Coast Guard.   On balance, though, as you also said many times during this year’s campaign, greater emphasis must now be placed on America’s ability to lead the world through negotiation, carried out by an energized diplomatic corps. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates perhaps said it best, in his remarks at Kansas State, when he recommended strengthening our capacity to use “soft” power by integrating it better and more completely with “hard” power to create and implement not only a more engaged but also a more effective diplomatic and intelligence approach to our dealings with other nations throughout the world. I also urge you, Mr. President-Elect, not to forget that if the combination of economic and military strength, patient but firm diplomacy, and intelligent political leadership fails, our nation will need capable, well-equipped and well-trained local, state, and federal preparedness professionals from the fire-service, law-enforcement, EMS, and emergency-management communities to respond to unforeseen and often unforeseeable disasters and catastrophes, whether acts of nature or terrorist attacks.  The nation’s public health, emergency medicine, and hospital/healthcare communities also will need increased support if they are to be both ready and able to manage disasters, both manmade and natural. I know that you are fully aware that climate changes, a pandemic flu and/or other diseases, and asymmetric attacks – either home-grown or “imported” from overseas – all require that America lead the world in its prevention, protection, preparedness, and response policies and capabilities. For that reason alone, your Department of Homeland Security must be a full and equal partner with the departments responsible for our nation’s defense and diplomacy. Finally, as you prepare to take on the daunting new challenges facing you and your administration, I offer you, Mr. President-Elect, the full support of – which, I am pleased and privileged to note, will next week celebrate our tenth anniversary of serving the nation’s homeland-preparedness community.

Sincerely yours, Martin (Marty) Masiuk Publisher

Note: For the full text of Secretary Gates’s remarks at Kansas State, click on

Martin D. Masiuk

Martin (Marty) Masiuk is president and founder of International Media Representatives Inc. (IMR Group Inc.), which was established in 1986 as an American-based media representation firm for overseas, aerospace, and defense publications. In 1998, under the IMR Group, he established, which has evolved into a highly trusted, and important information service for the multi-disclipline, multi-jurisdiction preparedness community. In 2014, he transitioned the DomPrep40 into the Preparedness Leadership Council to lessen the burden on and increase the effectiveness of operational preparedness professionals and help policy professionals make better-informed decisions. Prior to IMR Group, he served as an account representative for McGraw Hill’s Business Week and Aviation Week & Space Technology publications.

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