chapter  5
What’s at stake in the privatization debate?: Enclosing the public domain through hybrid rule
Pages 22

On November 1, 2012, President Obama issued a notice, for the fourth time since entering the White House, which continued a “declared national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States posed by the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons (weapons of mass destruction) and the means for delivering them” (Obama 2009). This notice built upon Executive Order 12938 that President Bill Clinton first issued in 1994 and then amended in 1998, followed by an additional amendment by President George W. Bush in 2005 (Clinton 1994; G. W. Bush 2004). This nearly twenty-year national emergency, with no discernable end in sight, is interesting and important for two reasons. First, it harkens back to a 29-year national emergency that President Harry Truman launched in 1950.4 That heady and enduring national emergency cast a long shadow over the pivotal years of the Cold War, impacting civilian, commercial, and military life. Second, both national emergencies placed science and technology, particularly “weapons of mass destruction,” at the center of their claims (Drew 1994). In keeping with the dire warnings laid out in NSC-68 as well as NSC20/4, President Truman called for a full-scale mobilization of the country to confront the challenges posed by an expanding communist menace, including the partnering of private industry toward this end. Even though it is well known that the private sector played a major role in the Cold War and post9/11 military buildups, Americans tend to consider the state’s involvement with the private sector in terms of telecommunications surveillance and

eavesdropping rather than having to do with those aspects of science and technology identified as “WMDs.”5