Homeland Security Essay

Securing the Homeland Introduction The security of the United States and living without being under a constant threat should be very important to all citizens and those who visit this country. The research revealed some interesting facts, it is impossible to secure every commercial building, airport, bridge, bypass, and government building. One element of the security is that terrorists will not have the ability to attack every place in the United States. However, everything is a possible target and terrorists want to do as damage as possible and cause the greatest amount of disruption in our way of life as possible.

The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for protecting the United States of America. However, it is a very complex and difficult Job, an overwhelming amount of information must be shared and filtered daily. Terrorists may attack at any point and they will change plans to attack a less protected target randomly. The Department of Homeland Security must make decisions and decide which possible targets to give the highest priority based on the information available. The higher the possibility a target might be attacked the more resources must be applied.

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The more critical argets have visible guards and a screening system in place (Mueller 2010). Challenges There are more than five million commercial building in the United States. While every commercial building is a possible target, there are not enough resources to guard five million possible targets. Everything in the United States is a potential target and it is impossible to change some of the fundamentals used in protecting the homeland. Therefore, the DHS has to work within those restraints. The number of terrorists appears to be a small percentage and their ability is limited.

However, the verwhelming problem is that one terrorist can carry out an attack that has the potential to be disastrous on an largest number of people (Mueller 2010). While a small number of terrorist does not reduce the threat, policies must be reviewed because originally the department believed the number to be much larger than it is and that it was organized by a larger entity. In 2002 intelligence reported that the United States had between 2,000 and 5,000, sleeper cells however, with a well funded program and intense investigations it was later reported that the FBI was unable to discover any sleeper cells in United States.

Furthermore, terrorist must be viewed within their capability a small group of people that can inflect havoc and many of these individuals are homegrown. Studies show that most of the homegrown terrorists, who desire to harm others in the United States, had become isolated from society and are acting out of revenge (Mueller 2010). It is very unlikely that our generation will see another 9/1 1 attack. There have been many changes in order to protect the United Sates from a similar attack, and the threat has shifted to small attacks that will be carried out by an individual.

Our borders and airlines are better protected but if our borders were protected at more than 90% the inside threat would exist. The greatest threat may not be inside shopping malls where thousands of people would gather because of the multitude being dispersed through the mall. closely entering malls or events. Israel has had success stopping terrorist attacks at events only to have the terrorist to blow him or herself up on the streets outside the events (Mueller 2010). The department of homeland security has developed a list of the most likely targets to be attacked.

The information is available and the epartment could use the information to categorize different possible targets. However, all of the places that did not make the list would become more attractive targets to attack. The department has a list complied of the 200 most critical bridges to protect but the potential attackers could move plans to bridge number 201. Furthermore, there are more than 590,000 overpasses that could cause as much devastation and possible more traffic problems, if these places were attacked. The department understands that it is impossible to project an attack on a specific target (Mueller 2010).

The information brings decision making to a stark reality. Everyone can not be protected and all attacks may not be stopped. Therefore, Mueller suggest that money should not be used to protect less important sites but should be preserved to protect and replace more important buildings and structures. In addition, the resources could be used to compensate victims that are attacked. In the cases where attacks have taken place, the cost of compensation is much more than the initial damage. In 2001 the Postal Service was attacked with anthrax and the Post Office has spent about $1 billion dollars for each fatality (Mueller 2010).

Where security is increased, there are delays that cause problems in other areas. With the additional delays at airports, more travelers choose to travel by automobile. Four hundred additional fatalities have occurred each year on U. S. highways since 9/1 1 because of increased security at the airports (Mueller 2010). There is opportunity cost associated with the expense of increasing security. Estimated numbers put the cost at $7. 5 million per life saved and at current expenditures there should be 4,000 lives saved per year. Some argue that the money could be used in other ways and more lives would be saved.

While an investment of $200,000 per year on smoke detectors will save one life, therefore, the estimated millions of dollars could be used more effectively and save more lives than where it is currently be appropriated (Mueller 2010). Securing the United States from WMD attacks is one the most difficult tasks. Buildings and structures will not be the main concerns; the public will suffer the greatest loss. Chemical, biological, and radiation will spread from the initial release and that has the potential to cause panic among the public. The best policy is to install sensors to detect chemical, biological, and radiation levels.

This would help in reducing panic and reduce causalities (Mueller 2010). Nuclear and chemical plants tend to be located away from populated areas and these facilities have extensive security measures. If there is an attack or accident at one of the nuclear plants or one of the chemical plants there could be a large number of casualties. Therefore, these operations have a top priority and are as secure as possible (Mueller 2010). However, if electrical grids were attacked there would be disastrous consequences, including casualties form the loss of power in care giving facilities.

The loss of electrical power for a long period of time has the potential to disrupt the economy. The United States has some major ports that require extra security to protect because of the importance to our economy. There are a few major ports protections is to have level-headed people in charge. In addition, the United States has symbolic buildings and statues that we would want to protect. Symbolic things and places are not as important as lives and the foundation of our economy but they are important to our heritage and most would agree they need to be protected (Mueller 2010). policies

The Department of Homeland Security has an annual budget of 50 billion dollars but within the department there are nearly two dozen separate administrative agencies that have a variety of different tasks. The agencies depend on others such as the National Science Foundation to provide resources on the study of terrorism. Information from the different agencies is used to make decisions and develop policies (Eller, Gerber 2010). Often policies are developed with too much emphasis on the unknown. Attention should be devoted to what we do best and not waste time on what we do not know.

There is always a high degree of uncertainty with security decision making but the domain should be able to move, change, and make decisions quickly. This is the best way to offset the unknowns. It is a dangerous decision to create policies starting with the conclusion. One difference between Mueller and Eller, Gerber is that Mueller believes that policy making is based on a percentage of the unknown, while Eller and Gerber believe that policies should be developed on what we know (Eller, Gerber 2010). There is enough information to make decisions about low probability-high consequence (LPHC) targets.

Furthermore, there is not enough consideration to whether the public is willing to accept the risk of not securing LPHC targets. Public opinion has the power to sway policy making. However, the department has two critical analytic challenges and the first is prioritizing resources most effectively to prepare and prevent the hazards. This includes natural and technological hazards. The very nature of terrorism is a difficult hazard to properly characterize. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security must develop policies that help at the community and general pubic levels.

In developing olicies at the general public level evacuation plans will be in place to avert much of the panic (Eller, Gerber 2010). Risk is an important factor in policy making it affects both policy and general public opinion. Risk has effected the ramp up of security after the 9/1 1 attacks. Furthermore, the federal government had a responsibility to respond after the attacks. Decisions should be made based on as much information as possible. When narrowing the resources the decision may be inadequate (Eller, Gerber 2010). Herbert Simon (1991) eloquently identifies the major shortfall reminds n individual decision making, in that each individual has a limited amount of information, time, and capacity with which to make a decision. Simon reminds us that individuals make decisions that are “bound” by these constraints, and thus individuals make satisfactory decisions rather than optimal ones (Eller, Gerber 2010). ” Eller and Gerber charge that models can be developed that produce better decisions with less information. Therefore, decision making will be faster and policies can be implemented quicker to increase security (Eller, Gerber 2010).

Eller and Gerber differ from Mueller on random targets. They believe that targets are selected by the amount of damage that can be afflicted on the United States and our economy. While they acknowledge that terrorists will change plans from attacking a well secured damage and panic on the United States as possible. In addition, the assumption that any target will be attacked is a small percentage (Eller, Gerber 2010). Restructure The transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration provided an opportunity to review different policies within Homeland Security.

Immigration reform is one of the most important issues to those interviewed about policy changes nd it was a top priority under the Bush administration. The following is a list of the different things needed to help with the illegal immigrant problems (King Ill 2009). “1 . Provision for temporary work visas 2. Path to citizenship for non-citizens currently illegally working in the United States 3. Means by which the United States will enhance border control 4. Expansion (numbers and eligibility) of the work visa program 5. Establishment ofa reliable system for employers to validate the citizenship (or visa status) of prospective employees 6.

Provision of work and training opportunities for current U. S. citizens (King Ill 2009) Neither the number of immigrants nor the percentages of people who want immigration reform have changed over the past four years. However, the United States has between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens in the country. It is not possible to send them all back to their original country. In addition, the United States is welcoming and wants to retain immigrants; the U. S. will help immigrants who are industrious, creative, and smart to become citizens.

There is a demand and opportunity in the United States for both high-skilled and low-skilled positions (King Ill 2009). Immigration control This article challenges the government to work on solutions that will solve the current immigration problems. The Department of Homeland Security is needed to support local and state governments in developing policies to control illegal aliens and to address the issue of the workers who are in the country illegally. The United States has the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, but the law is not being followed.

King is proposing that employers follow current laws and that the government enforce the laws. Janet Napolitano,s help is important to improving the urrent system and achieve future success. However, there must be meetings that take place at the local levels and those decisions should be made by local residents. The recommendations should then be presented to the government. King believes it is important that local residents have a key role in decisions that will impact their community thus; citizens will be more likely to take ownership of the projects (King Ill 2009).

While enforcing current policies on immigration will help, it will not address the 12 to 20 million that are in the United States illegally. There needs to be a policy here those individual can make retribution without serving time in prisons such as community service. Many of the illegal immigrants have contributed to United States’ economy and that must be considered in developing policies that address those workers (King Ill 2009). Streamlining Another challenge for the department of Homeland Security is to streamline in a way to become more efficient and more effective.

The department currently has between 79 and 86 committees and subcommittees depending on which organization is counting. While DHS spends over $35 billion and gives another $3 billon in grants to sses risk each year, it is a situation that requires more streamlining. One model is to of Defense. The Department of Defense has a budget 13 times that of DHS but uses only 36 committees and subcommittees (King Ill 2009). Chief Information Officer The DHS has made some positive changes over the past few years, but DHS must continue to address the challenges to improving and protect information.

The DHS chief information officer has been given more authority and the department has implemented an IT lifecycle management process. Levels of scrutiny are used to make decisions based on project cost and the effectiveness of the project. However, there are some issues with Legacy systems and the department has not assigned enough people to adequately handle acquisitions (King Ill 2009). “It projects to have a high impact on Department-wide performance because the department as a whole has a requirement to know as much as possible about those whom it screens.

Without a CIO officer who enforces both the use of open standard and the execution of a detailed, time-consuming, crossdepartmental requirements-development phase, DHS either builds multiple, similar, incompatible IT structures at an increased cost or hanges requirements at a late date and pays for those changes thorough increased cost, lengthened program schedule, and decreased project performance(King Ill 2009). ” Cyberspace The DHS is addressing problems with Cyberspace security; it is a very important area for the department to use resources. There are three fundamental issues with Cyberspace security.

First, technology moves faster than the federal government. Second, significant interagency is required to make decision for even partial solutions. Third, the private sector does not trust the federal government. The DHS ould have to act as a conduit to the private sector to enhance critical infrastructure on control and data acquisitions. The department could act as a coordinator for the federal government. There could be many improvements to the current system which would enhance public perception and the DHS could help build trust between the private sector and the federal government (King Ill 2009).

Working with NATO The United States embraces the international community in order to protect the U. S. society. NATO does not have the resources to protect any nation but the alliance will provide valuable information. The responsibility to protect will always be left to the nation but NATO can and should assist in the flow of communication between countries around the world. NATO is in a position to improve relations between the United States and other countries (Williams 2009). Mitilitry Support North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has more than 51 years experience in governing and providing support.

The United States and Canada work together to secure tankers, aircraft, and ground based defenses. In October 2002 the two Joined forces with the mission of securing the homeland. The two share information and a command post. Mother Nature, sea, air, and cyberspace can be a medium for threats to our security. Therefore, the role of NORAD is to position the DHS so that it can lead and address any threats with appropriate action. It is important that the United States work with as many countries as possible to fight terrorism and with Canada being the neighbor to the north there support is critical century.

As DHS Janet Napolitano noted on 30 July 2009: “We cannot forget that the 9/1 1 attackers conceived of their plans in the Philippines, planned in Malaysia and Germany, recruited from Yemen and Saudi Arabia, trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and carried them out in the United States. ” Of course, much of our homeland defense and security effort is focused overseas. Thus, we conduct a daily counterterrorism video conference with U. S. Central Command and other. Our view must be global, in all domains (Renuart 2009). Reform An increasing number of scholars propose that the current administration overturn power given to the department of homeland security. Many of the scholars believe the DHS was a mistake and created at a time of fear and without enough thought given to the consequences. The most critical change would be that more power be iven to individual states and allow governors to select appointments. Currently selection is controlled by the presidential administration. Furthermore, some of the scholars are pushing for the DHS to become a sub department under the Department of Defense (Stockton 2009).

Citizens Involvement While the government has the responsibility of keeping the United States secure, the citizens’ role in homeland security is critical. In other countries, pictures are used to help citizens recognize unusual activity. Citizens have been important in stopping attacks and assisting in identifying possible problems. The government and local law enforcement must encourage citizens to be vigilant. While most citizens desire to take an active role in helping the United States stop terrorism, the government can use pictures to help individuals recognize suspicious activity (Amoore 2009).

Conclusion The importance of securing the homeland is critical to the survival of this nation. The job involves information sharing between all branches of government agencies and the help of other countries. However, as with most government agencies there is places where it could be streamlined and work more effective. The loss of one life is oo many by a terrorists attack yet all nations are under some threat of terrorism. Since the 9/1 1 attacks and the establishing of DHS, the department has done an excellent Job protecting the United States.

The ability to work with other nations, filter information in a way not to react to unwarranted threats is a tremendous accomplishment. In addition, the DHS has to monitor cyberspace and protect information from being stolen. Cyberspace may present one of the most difficult challenges for DHS as technology moves at a very fast speed. The internet is a wonderful tool to search for information about almost anything but it is used as a hreat and a place to recruit those that wish to destroy our freedoms. Immigration is currently the most important issue for the DHS to resolve.

The DHS cannot secure the United States without having better control on people coming into the country. The United States must address border control. While it may be impossible and the United States may not want to send all illegal aliens back, the current situation is out of control. If the DHS does not know how many illegal aliens are in the country, then the department cannot know where those people are or what he or she is doing. Amoore, L. 2009). Lines of sight: on the visualization of unknown futures. Citizenship studies, 13(1), 17-30. dotno. 080/13621020802586628. Eller, W. , & Gerber, B. (2010). Contemplating the Role of Precision and Range in Homeland Security Policy Analysis: 1541-0072. 2009. 00342. x. King Ill, C. (2009). The Department of Homeland security An Organization in Transition. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, (55), 152-159. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. Mueller, J. (2010). Assessing Measures Designed 1541-0072. 2009. 00341 . x. Penn, E. , Higgins, G. , Gabbidon, S. , & Jordan, K. (2009). Governmental Efforts on Homeland Security and Crime: Public Views and Opinions.

At-nencan Journal of cnmtnal justice, 34(112), 28-40. dot:10. 1007??12103-008-9052-0. Renuart, G. (2009). HOW THE MILITARY SUPPORTS HOMELAND SECURITY. U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 135(10), 26-31. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. Stockton, P. (2009). Reform, Don’t Merge, the Homeland Security Council. washington Quarterly, 32(1), 107-114. dotno. 1080/01636600802535523. Williams, M. (2009). Homeland security and NATO policy. Military Technology, 33(10), 95-100. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.


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