U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century

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U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century has become commonly known as the Hart-Rudman Task Force on Homeland Security for it's co-chairs Gary Hart and Warren Bruce Rudman. The Commission was chartered by Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 1998 to provide a comprehensive review of US national security requirements in the 21st century. The third of the Commission's five reports was released in January 2001 and is famous for having predicted that "a direct attack against American citizens on American soil is likely over the next quarter century."

Nine out of the twelve members of the Commission were members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). CFR also directed the Commission.

Some point to the Commission's 1998 mandate and its recommendations as proof that the proposal for a Homeland Security Department originated well before the events of September 11, 2001.[1]

The Commission


Chartered originally in July 1998 by the Secretary of Defense and supported by both the White House and the Congress as the National Security Study's Senior Advisory Board to operate as a Federal advisory committee to the National Security Study Group in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the Advisory Board was renamed "to better reflect both the scope and significance of its tasking" to provide the most comprehensive review of U.S. national security requirements since the National Security Act of 1947 was signed into law over 50 years ago.

Activities & Publications

The USCNS project was intended as a study that would last two and a half years, divided into three phases of research:

(See the USCNS/21 Wikipedia entry for extensive information about each phase's reports.)

  • Phase 1: "New World Coming: American Security in the 21st Century." Completed September 15, 1999.
Major Themes and Implications.
Supporting Research and Analysis.
Study Addendum.
  • Phase 2: The Phase II Report -- "Seeking a National Strategy: A Concert for Preserving Security and Promoting Freedom" -- Completed April 15, 2000 -- "devised a U.S. national security strategy to deal with the world in 2025. The purpose of the Phase II Report is to define an American strategy based on U.S. interests and key objectives. It develops a strategy for America to reap the benefits of a more integrated world to expand freedom, security, and prosperity and to dampen the forces of instability."[1]
  • Phase 3: The Phase 3 Report -- "Roadmap for National Security: Imperative for Change" -- Completed February 15, 2001 -- "recommends significant and comprehensive institutional and procedural changes throughout the Executive and Legislative Branches in order to meet the challenges of 2025."[2]
Phase 3 Study Addendum: Structure and Processes Addendum. On October 25, 2002, the Council on Foreign Relations hosted a presentation of the Independent Task Force Report: "America--Still Unprepared, Still in Danger"

Contact Information

The former website for the 'U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century', http://www.nssg.gov/, is no longer accessible.

Related SourceWatch Resources

External Resources




Executive Director

Deputy Executive Director

Chief of Staff

Study Group Coordinator and Study Group Member

Study Group Members


  1. Homeland Security Act, The Rise of the American Police State, December 2002, Jennifer Van Bergen, Truthout.Org, accessed September 7, 2010.