I was still on active duty in the U.S. Army and stationed at the National Defense University, where I was editor of the journal Joint Force Quarterly. Before that I had been stationed at the Pentagon, so a lot of family and friends called, worried that I might have been there when the plane hit the building. Actually, on that day I was at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, looking for photos to illustrate an article for the journal. When the plane hit the Pentagon, the archives closed. Like most of Washington, I found myself stuck in traffic trying to drive home.
At the time I thought, “This is dumb; if we are under attack, why is everyone being dumped on the street where they would be targets?” The traffic also impeded police and firemen who were racing to the disaster scene. Our journal had done a good bit on homeland security, disaster response, and terrorism-related issues. There was a great demand to put that expertise to work. I had hoped to become a history professor after I retired. Things did not work out as planned. I was one of the first analysts working full-time on homeland security in the U.S. think tank community. I came to Heritage in 2003, and a decade later I am still in the thick of the fight to keep America safe, free, and prosperous.
I am particularly proud of the work of the Heritage team. Our approach to every issue related to the war on terrorism has been: If the solution proposed does not protect Americans; allow the economy to grow and prosper; safeguard our liberties, respect those of our allies, and promote human rights for all; and help win the war of ideas, it is the wrong answer—go back and start over. We have advocated and accepted nothing less than solutions that protect American security and liberty. This is a job that never ends. Thomas Paine once said, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”