1. Federal, State and Local Agencies
Federal: United States Secret Service (USSS)
The United States Secret Service (USSS) is an integral component of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for handling of financial crimes and the protection of national leaders and their families. Currently, the USSS has an estimated 6,700 employees and 4,400 sworn members dealing with problems on fraud concerning the financial institutions and transactions of the US. Yet, the death of President William McKinley by assassination in 1901 led to the expansion of the role of the USSS to include the provision of safeguarding mechanisms for national leaders and all those related to them (United States Secret Service, n.d.).
The Virginia State Police (VSP) is the state police force of the US state of Virginia. As of 2012, the VSP is composed of 18,603 sworn officers - 16,405 male and 2,198 female, and 5,014 civilian employees. Three bureaus support the overall structure of the VSP – Bureau of Field Operations (BFO), Bureau of Administrative and Support Services (BASS), and Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), all of which unite to maintain overall security and order in all motorways and interstate highways within Virginia (Virginia State Police, n.d.).
Local: Atlanta Police Department (APD)
The Atlanta Police Department (APD) holds responsibility over law enforcement in the US city of Atlanta, Georgia. With close to 2,000 police officers by the start of 2013, the APD is facing a significant increase in the population of its police officers. The estimated 2,000-strong police force of the APD currently thrive within seven zones apart from the headquarters, from zones one to six and the airport zone. Primarily, the APD is responsible for reducing criminal cases in Atlanta through formidable enforcement of federal, state and local laws and ordinances (Atlanta Police Department, n.d.).
2. Roles in Homeland Defense
United States Secret Service (USSS)
Previously, the USSS was under the administration of the Department of Treasury, as it has the primary function of dealing with financial crimes. The Department of Homeland Security formally incorporated the USSS upon its formation in 2002. The USSS claims its position as integral to the homeland defense of the US through its indispensable expertise in financial protection, which is essential to the national economy. At the same time, political stability in the US is the key objective of the USSS in its role as a protector of national leaders and their relatives (United States Secret Service, n.d.).
The USSS is also engaged in cover-up operations made to capture financial fraudsters, as part of its goal to protect the well-being of the financial system of the US. Operation Open Market stands as among the most innovative cover-up operations the USSS has organized. The USSS used Operation Open Market to capture people using fake IDs and credit cards through the establishment of a mock online store manufacturing such items named Celtic’s Novelty ID. As the operation ran on a four-year period between 2007 and 2011, Celtic’s Novelty ID has gained positive acclaim from members of the underworld, citing it as atop-quality manufacturer of fake IDs and credit cards that offers great discounts. The USSS then used Celtic’s Novelty ID as their front for capturing people who purchase fake IDs and credit cards, on the justified assumption that those people would use those for activities constituting financial fraud (Poulsen, 2013; United States Secret Service, n.d.).
Virginia State Police (VSP)
Primarily, the VSP is mainly concerned with the maintenance of security and order on all motorways and interstate highways within the state of Virginia. Having succeeded the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles in 1932, the VSP treats with considerable regard the overall safety of all roads within Virginia, mainly in terms of preventing driving-related crimes and providing assistance to accidents and repairs on the road. The VSP therefore provides formidable contributions to maintaining homeland security in Virginia through the interception of criminals plying along the roads of the state. Maintaining the security of roads in Virginia through constant patrolling and provision of motorist assistance stands as a significant role of the VSP that formidably contributes to statewide homeland security implementation (Virginia State Police, n.d.).
Atlanta Police Department (APD)
The APD serves as the main implementer of homeland security mechanisms at the local level in Atlanta, Georgia. As the street-level bureaucracy dealing with the overall security maintenance of Atlanta, the APD has the mandate to respond to terrorist attacks directly. Acting under the mandate of the Department of Homeland Defense and its equivalent agencies in both the federal and state levels, the APD is instrumental for maintaining homeland security at the surface rank in Atlanta, being a local-level agency. As with other local police agencies, the APD responds to threats to homeland security by dealing with terrorist attacks and coercions coming from terrorist groups and other criminal elements (Atlanta Police Department, n.d.).
3. Summary and Discussion of Homeland Defense Issues
The USSS is engaged in numerous cases that contributed to the overall well-being of homeland defense in the US. Secret service protection to national leaders, for instance, became limited to 10 years after office when the Cold War ended through a bill passed by Congress, citing lack of security concerns. However, the September 11, 2001 attacks and the rise of terrorist cases both at home and abroad made Congress reconsider their earlier decision influenced by the USSS itself. Hence, Congress eventually said bill in 2002 due to justified concerns brought forth by terrorism cases (Dinan, 2012).
Apart from reinforcing protection to national leaders, the USSS further enhanced its counterterrorist efforts through shifting from using tabletop models portraying terrorist attacks to computerized models equipped with gaming technology. Said project took place in 2011 with the help of the Science & Technology Directorate of the Department of Homeland Security, as a bid of the USSS to enhance its response to terrorist attacks (Science Codex, 2011).
The VSP is also involved in countering threats to homeland security through the Virginia Fusion Center (VFC). The VFC, as with its equivalents from other states, notes the importance of information distribution in preparing against impending terrorist attacks. Toll-free lines and a website link for reports characterize the main communication lines the VFC supports, as part of its efforts to provide efficient information sharing to prevent terrorist attacks. The VFC also includes a list of terrorism signs, which amounts to seven items namely surveillance, elicitation, security tests, supplies acquisition, suspicious persons, trial runs and assets deployment. Surveillance mainly refers to activities that involve recording of events through drawings, video camera usage, and monitoring schemes that usually concern equipment that improves vision such as binoculars and night-vision goggles. Elicitation refers to the use of various communication lines to obtain information pertaining to information on operation, security and personnel of any target agencies. Security tests point to the measurement of various security lapses that can find use in penetrating obstructions against terrorist attacks. Supplies acquisition suggests the procurement of equipment useful for terrorism, including firearms, explosives and instructional manuals. Suspicious persons are those whose intents appear suspicious mainly due to their weak association in groups and unusual behavior. Trial runs attributed to potential terrorist attacks and consequent assets deployment serve as another indicator of the VFC that a terrorist group is present within the area. Given the foregoing terrorism signs, the VFC has encouraged residents of Virginia to send reports to its communication lines in case there is sufficient justification on the presence of any one of those (Virginia Fusion Center, n.d.).
4. Core Values of Agencies
United States Secret Service (USSS)
The Strategic Plan of the USSS mentions the core value of said agency based on the five spokes of its star-shaped logo. The five core values of the USSS include justice, duty, courage, honesty and loyalty. The USSS regards the importance of maintaining high standards of integrity in upholding its five core values, which is highly related to its roles as a protector of both the financial system and national leaders and their relatives of the US. Without integrity, the USSS would not be able to support the fulfillment of its five core values properly, given the sensitivity of matters involving the US financial system and the safety of its national leaders and their relatives. The financial system, which is highly susceptible to fraud due to the lucrative nature of money, has to find proper safeguards under the USSS through fulfilling its five core values in order to secure economic safety. The protection of national leaders and their relatives also serve the national interest of the US; the USSS rationalizes its mandate to do so on the basis of preserving political stability (United States Secret Service, n.d.).
Justice may serve as an all-encompassing terms when used to refer to legal systems, in general. In the case of the USSS, justice is a notion that deserves stronger emphasis. In protecting the national leaders of the US, the USSS treats justice with utmost attention and priority through the preservation of the lives of the duly recognized representatives of the American people. The integrity of the US greatly lies within the leadership of its national leaders; hence, the USSS has a central role in terms of serving the American people with justice through the protection of their national leaders. In protecting the economic stability of the US, the USSS recognizes justice as a key component, as it aids them to prevent any anomalous acts that could sabotage the national economy. Due implementation of laws is essential for the USSS to uphold its duties as a national financial guardian of the US; hence, members of the USSS should find empowerment through justice that aids their goals. The USSS should also embody its sense of duty in upholding its two-fold duty. Protecting the national leaders of the US could not find conception as an easy mission, given the existence of numerous threats to their security. At the same time, the consistently growing economy of the US involves the need to safeguard the integrity of its financial system continuously to make economic growth and development steady and unperturbed by any risks. To make the foregoing possible, it is important for members of the USSS to keep their sense of duty alive. Courage stands as a necessary component of all members of the USSS, given that they are protecting two of the most prominent concerns of the American people – the security of their national leaders and the stability of their national economy. Americans look up to their national leaders as both their source of pride and beacons of competence in running the governmental and political affairs of their nation. Hence, it is important for the American people to have a courageous force like the USSS to ensure the safety of their national leaders. The stability of the national economy of the US involves having to overcome several dangerous circumstances. Hence, courage is an essential attribute members of the USSS should have, as it enables them to perform several risks that could either uplift or worsen the financial system of the US, in turn affecting its entire economy in several different ways. Honesty is duly important for members of the USSS to observe, as it entails the purity of their virtue in relation to their tasks as both protectors of national leaders and financial system of the US. The USSS works in conjunction with other departments of the US government to ensure the fulfillment of their tasks. Honesty provides the necessary confidence and trust in all of the relations of the USSS with other US government departments. Without such confidence and trust, the USSS may provide substandard results, if not completely falter, in fulfilling what it ought to do under its mandate. Finally, loyalty is a highly significant attitude members of the USSS should possess. As with all other departments of the US government, loyalty stands as an important and all-encompassing virtue in the performance of various tasks related to protecting the national integrity of the US. The USSS possesses a two-fold task that is crucial for the protection of the national integrity of the US. Protecting the national leaders of the US requires loyalty in that members of the USSS must always attend to their security needs at all costs. Candor in expressing loyalty should stand as the main attitude of all members of the USSS so that they could embody their sworn tasks faithfully and without any reservations. At the same time, the USSS must prove itself as a loyal force that guards the financial system of the US. Indeed, financial matters are generally a sensitive issue to reckon given the heavy involvement of money; loyalty stands to break any hindrances to any resolutions to problems affecting the financial system of the US. In that case, the USSS should solemnly embody its oath to loyalty in performing its two-fold role (United States Secret Service, n.d.).
Virginia State Police (VSP)
The VSP bases its core values on its name abbreviation “VSP”, namely Valor, Service and Pride, perhaps as a manner of making those easier to remember. Valor translates to the need of every person under the employ of the VSP to exhibit courage in fulfilling his duty well. Running a state police force is by no means a stress-free undertaking, as it involves several tasks related to upholding the rule of law within a considerably wide jurisdiction. Therefore, it is crucial for members of the VSP to supplement every stressful task with their strong sense of courage, as such enables them to pour greater devotion to everything that they do for their organization. Service points out to the commitment of the VSP to conduct law enforcement to the highest level. The state of Virginia, as with all other states within the US, demands not just the mere undertaking of necessary tasks related to the maintenance of peace and order within its boundaries. In that case, the VSP should always remain committed to upholding its tasks in any given situation, regardless of the complexity of cases presented before it. Pride is somewhat the motivational component of the core values of the VSP, in that it encourages the derivation of satisfaction from the accomplishments of the agency. Maintaining the peace and order situation concerning the vehicular traffic of Virginia could sometimes involve repetitive tasks and may become tiring at best. Hence, it is always important for members of the VSP to remind themselves that they are involved in an honorable undertaking – to keep the entire state of Virginia at peace in terms of its traffic situation (Virginia State Police, n.d.).
Atlanta Police Department (APD)
The APD specifies four items under its core values, namely professionalism, integrity, commitment and courage. Professionalism requires the presentation of outstanding pride in terms of fulfilling duties through proper decorum and appearance. Physical manifestations help define professionalism; clients deal with the APD upfront and they judge its officers based on how they act and communicate in accordance to requested services. Integrity stresses the importance of moral integrity in carrying out tasks. It is appropriate for APD to maintain the moral high ground at all times in serving the people of Atlanta, considered as among the largest cities in the US. Maintaining peace and order in a city as large as Atlanta is not an easy task to undertake, given its susceptibility to several risk factors such as crime, natural and manmade disasters. Therefore, the APD has to keep its integrity in order to prevent any hindrances to its goal to deliver its services in the most efficient manner possible. Commitment demands excellence in carrying out duties. As expected from a professional and integrity-laden organization the APD seeks to become, excellence would entail not only the smooth and efficient delivery of services, but also the effective maintenance of its overall image. The APD, in this regard, has the goal to offer more than its mandated tasks, with the knowledge that substandard service outputs should not find toleration. Lastly, courage serves as an enhancing factor in service delivery through the importance of upholding justice and maintaining trust. As the main police force directly handling the peace and order situation in Atlanta, the APD should always instill within its members the value of courage in undertaking its duties. Maintaining peace and order in any given setting requires having to fight crime and other illegal activities, usually run by influential syndicated groups or elements that utilize harmful mechanisms to protect their acts. Thus, members of the APD duly need courage in order for them to uphold the goals of their organization prudently through countering said activities that run contrary to existing laws (Atlanta Police Department, n.d.).
Comparison to the Core Values of Saint Louis University (SLU)
Saint Louis University (SLU) mainly contains core values related to its religious heritage coming from the Jesuits. Although the religious aspect of the core values of SLU does not hold resemblance to the neutral nature of the USSS, VSP and APD, all other aspects strike a themed similarity. The USSS, VSP and APD all rest their core values on the importance of integrity, which relates mainly to the character of the actors within and without their respective agencies. Integrity in said aspect also lies towards the importance of meeting the greater good, which is the maintenance of homeland security for the benefit of US citizens. Value building also emanates from the emphasis on integrity by the USSS, VSP and APD, with the understanding that the internalization of the roles required by the three agencies results to the formation of necessary values. SLU, with its emphasis on character building and value formation within and without the campus and maintaining the “higher purpose, greater good”, thus bear similarities with the core values presented by the USSS, VSP and APD (Saint Louis University, n.d.).
Atlanta Police Department.(n.d.)In Atlanta Police Department. Retrieved September23, 2013, from http://www.atlantapd.org/mission.aspx.
Core Classes.Core Values.(n.d.)In Saint Louis University. Retrieved September23, 2013, from http://www.slu.edu/core-values.
Dinan, S. (2012, December4). War on terrorism spurs House to grant presidents Secret Service protection for life. The Washington Times. Retrieved from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/4/ex-presidents-may-get-secret-service-for-life/?page=all
Poulsen, K. (2013, July22). The Secret Service agent who collared cybercrooks by selling them fake IDs. Wired. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/07/open-market/
Secret Service takes on terrorism with virtual tiny towns. (2011, February15). Science Codex. Retrieved from http://www.sciencecodex.com/us_secret_service_moves_tiny_town_to_virtual_tiny_town_0
United States Secret Service.(n.d.)In United States Secret Service. Retrieved September23, 2013, from http://www.secretservice.gov/.
Virginia Fusion Center.(n.d.)In Virginia.gov. Retrieved September23, 2013, from http://www.vsp.state.va.us/FusionCenter/.
Virginia State Police.(n.d.)In Virginia State Police. Retrieved September23, 2013, from http://www.vsp.state.va.us/.