The United States has been at war since 2001 and America must not let down its guard.
One of the newer threats to national security is economic warfare. Its goal is to cripple a country's economy, rendering it weak and ineffective.
A Different Kind of War
When you think of war, images from the battlefield or troops scouring city streets in search of terrorists probably come to mind.
Another arena is the financial front. In economic warfare, enemies use financial markets as weapons to attack national interests.
"There are a half dozen different kinds of systemic attacks that could hit America, whether it's a cyber attack, which is a really serious problem, one that the national security people call a 'cyber Pearl Harbor,'" Kevin Freeman, with the founder and chairman of the National Security Investment Consultant Institute, or NSIC, told CBN News.
Examples of cyber attacks include the recent hacking of Sony and the embarrassment of the military's Central Command by ISIS.
A more feared scenario would be an electromagnetic pulse attack, or EMP, designed to wipe out our electric grid and computer chips across the country.
That's not all.
"There are mercantilist and predatory trade practices; dumping of foreign products on American markets in order to put American businesses out of business," said John Lenczowski, founder and president of The Institute of World Politics, a national security and international affairs school in Washington, D.C.
"There is the selling of counterfeit products, which gravely damages all sorts of American businesses," he said.
"It could be a settlement attack, where they take down our ability to settle trades on the New York Stock Exchange," Freeman added. "Or a banking attack, where literally you turn on, log in and there's nothing left. These are the kind of financial warfare attacks that we see preparations for daily, and we see examples of attempts almost daily."
Marketplace, Battlefield or Both?
That's why Freeman and others formed the NSIC.
CBN News spoke with Freeman at the organization's Founders Class, attended by an elite group of financial advisers and national security experts.
NSIC leaders say their mission is to promote awareness about economic warfare and to equip leaders to enhance national security to protect the American economy and to improve investor results.
"It is an important mission in helping people to move away from the traditional concepts and ways of doing things and getting them to accept and then practice new ways that give us a greater level of protection if we do have a collapse. Or it may not be a collapse; it may just be a severe downturn in our markets," Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, former commander of the Delta Force, told CBN News.
Boykin spoke to the NSIC Founders Class. The retired general knows the importance of being prepared for battle, and the necessity of shoring up our economic defenses in this new era.
"What we see as a marketplace of goods internationally our enemies see as a battle space," Freeman summarized.
Former CIA operations officer and intelligence analyst Clare Lopez talked about the importance of studying risk.
"For the first time, you've got financial money managers who need to understand things about risk, hearing from national security people, like myself, who have a worldview or an understanding of some of the national security or international security risks out there," Lopez explained.
"They're hearing from us how those risks can affect their own decision-making and their ability to protect their clients' money," she said.
Prepared to Fight
CBN News spoke with financial advisers about learning tactics for this fight.
"We're just trying to be servants to our clients, to build and protect their legacies, to try to further the United States and its purposes in the world, and to do what's right for our clients and our country," Randy Long, a wealth manager and lawyer, said.
"I can talk about all these financial things that I've been trained in for so many years, but I didn't realize how many forces are out there to attack it and how I can better be prepared to address those issues before they happen," said Janice Thompson, who leads a wealth management company.
"It's important to understand not only what our enemies are doing to bring down our entire culture and our society and everything we stand for, all of our first things, but it's also important to understand who's behind these tactics," Joseph Schmitz, former U.S. Inspector General, said.
And who are the forces that might mount such an attack?
"I think you do have to look first of all at the big international players like Russia, like China, but certainly Iran as part of that," Lopez said. "Al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, these jihadi organizations—they are very much involved in financial warfare."
So knowing suspected enemies and what they're up to in the tricky arena of economic warfare becomes a new battle plan with new soldiers.
The goal: help market leaders, financial advisers and their clients stay aware to keep our economy stable and better protected to withstand enemy attack.
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