National security consists of the measures taken by a nation to ensure its survival and safety, including but not limited to the deterrence of attacks from within and outside its boundaries as well as the protection of its citizens and their basic rights.
Measures taken to ensure national security include:
- the maintenance of armed forces
- civil defense measures and emergency preparedness
- attempts to create resilience and redundancy in national infrastructure
- the maintenance of intelligence services to detect threats
- the protection of classified information
National security has become a hot topic in the United States as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 brought an end to many people's beliefs that the U.S. was safe from national security threats. In many nations around the world, including the United States, terrorism is becoming the primary focus of national security measures.
As the world's interest in national security has risen the once forgotten conflict between national security and civil rights has reemerged as a major topic of discussion. The United States controversial Patriot Act has brought this issue to the forefront. The debate centers around the question, "Is it justified to restrict the people's freedoms for the sake of the nation's security?"