Soon America will pass on the torch of defeating the threat from radical jihadists to the next generation. The twin towers in New York were first targeted for destruction by al-Qaida in the early 1990s, with the first attack taking place on Oct. 23, 1993. That attack resulted in six deaths and should have sounded the alarm that America was under attack.
Since that time, America experienced terrorist attacks on the USS Cole in Yemen, the bombings of two of our embassies in Africa, the Khobar Towers truck bombing in Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks.
Annually, nearly 30,000 people on a global basis are losing their lives as a result of the brutality and barbarism of radical jihadist groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and al-Qaida.
This threat continues to morph and evolve.
But one thing remains constant — it continues to grow and to spread. There are no signs that the United States or its allies are having any success in confronting, containing or defeating the threat of radical Islam.
In fact, the evidence is clear that the threat from terrorist attacks by radical Islamic groups has surged during the Obama years.
After almost 23 years, a time frame that is roughly one generation, a generation of Americans has failed to leave the next generation an America that is safer and more secure than the one they inherited.
America has historically met the challenges to its national security with decisive actions that defeated, or at a minimum contained the threat. Think about the great world wars and Korea. Even the perceived threat to America's economic security with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a commitment to put a man on the moon within the next decade.
It seems that whenever America faced a challenge it faced it and overcame it.
Today that is not the case. Why is this the case? In the early 1990s, the threat went unrecognized. When presented with the opportunity to take out bin Laden the decision was made by President Clinton to "pass."
Even today, America is deeply divided as to what the threat is and how to identify it.
There are huge divisions as to what the roots of the deep hate radical jihadists have for us are. Briefly after the 9/11 attacks, Republicans and Democrats were united in identifying the evil of the radical jihadists and fighting it.
But as the 2004 presidential elections approached, most Democrats split with Republicans in hope of politicizing President Bush's war on terror and the war in Iraq to oust him from the White House.
While this deeply irresponsible ploy failed, it created divisions in our country on how to deal with radical Islam and rogue states that persist to this day.
President Obama and Hillary Clinton further undermined American policy on radical Islam with Presidential Study Directive 11 that directed the U.S. government to engage with radical jihadists groups, implying that American foreign policy was the cause of Islamist extremism.
This naïve approach was based on the theory that if the United States altered its relations toward jihadist groups, they would change their policies towards us.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton actually thought it was possible to talk radical Islamists out of their hatred of the United States and stop launching terrorist attacks against the West. Predictably, this ridiculous idea was an abysmal failure and led to a literal and figurative explosion of radical jihadist attacks.
ISIS, which did not exist when President Obama entered office, is believed to have official chapters in 18 countries — possibly as many as 30 — and has committed more than 140 terrorist attacks since 2014.
In 2016, roughly 30,000 people will lose their lives as a result of radical jihadist violence, and millions more will be displaced in their countries or become refugees.
The bottom line, as thousands of Syrians in Aleppo are facing the threat of a violent battle in their home town, and as 100's of thousands Iraqis face the threat of a battle to liberate their city, Mosul, from ISIS, America and its allies are no closer to having a strategy to confront, contain, and defeat radical jihadists than we were in 1993.
One of the first responsibilities of the next president will be to identify and develop support for a comprehensive campaign to defeat ISIS and the threat from radical jihadists.
One generation of failure is too long.
It is not because of a lack of effort or expenditure of resources. Successive administrations have tried. Over $8 trillion by some estimates has been expended. Thousands of American lives have been lost, and innumerable more have been severely impacted. America has paid with treasure and blood.
It is time for America to finally tackle this threat and once again take decisive action. It is time to turn the tables and defeat this threat.
Yes, Americans are tired of losing, and for those who believe we are winning, winning sure does feel like losing. Parents will soon be sending their children to a war in which they also fought.
The brutal truth is we are losing ground and it is time to recognize that. It is time to make that commitment to the next generation that we have confronted and defeated this threa, so that you will be in a better and stronger position to defeat whatever threats you may face.
Pete Hoekstra is the Shillman senior fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism. He represented Michigan for 18 years in Congress, including time as chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. He is the author of "Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya."