Goss (2005), in Building a Contingency Menu: Using Capabilities-Based Planning for Homeland Defense and Homeland Security, says that Homeland Defense and Security planners need to develop a contingency plan to neutralize potential terrorist threats. Because of their shrewd and adaptive strategies, the Department of Homeland Defense and Security agency has come up with the concepts of ‘lines of operation’ ‘capabilities’ as the dynamics to define and explain potential and likely interactions. Moving from the more rational idea of, ‘who is the threat?’ to ‘what could the threat do?’ has given Homeland Defense and Security planners a broader spectrum of possibilities to explore from to introduce a fool-proof security cover.
Having decided to address the conceptual approach of ‘what could the threat do,’ the Department of Homeland Defense and Security agency could assign roles for each agency that is involved in national security, “based on the adversary’s probable intent, objectives, strengths, weaknesses, probable course-of-action, most dangerous course-of-action, values, and critical vulnerabilities,” says Gross (2005). This way, they could collaborate, and corroborate a master plan where each agency’s role and resource allocations are addressed. Let’s not forget that terrorists don’t just land in the U.S and bomb places. Certain groups of illegal immigrants too, are known to have caused civil disturbances through gang wars and drugs. It is therefore, important from the Department of Homeland Defense and Security agencies point of view, to implement a scheme that addresses internal and external security concerns of the nation. Involving other government agencies like the FBI, Fire fighting Services, Law Officers, TSA and so on, in collaborative and corroborative contingency plans is therefore extremely important to prevent, minimize or control collateral and physical damages.
In July 1997, after encountering brief shootout with terrorists inside their apartment, officers from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) averted a bomb attack on the New York City subway system. Gazi Abu Mezer and Lafi Khalil were taken into custody after both the men received bullet wounds (U.S Department of Justice, 1999).
Terrorist groups of today are anarchist, anti-government and political. They are associated with a growing number of self-determined, radical citizen-militia movements, similar to the Puerto Rican ‘freedom fighters.’ While both these groups are resented by Americans, the former has drawn considerable attention because of their bombing in Oklahoma City. A few more extreme citizen-militia groups, motivated by the ‘New World Order,’ have conspired and openly solicited the call for overthrowing the United States government (Presley, 1996).
One of the greatest security breaches in U.S history took place in complete secrecy for over 20 years, before Robert Hanssen was brought to book, said Vise (2002). FBI Special Agent Robert Hanssen spied for Russia for over 20 years until his arrest in 2001. What makes the case extremely hard to digest is the fact that, Hanssen, though a special agent of the FBI, was quiet and withdrawn both at home and at work, which surprised many. For a highly professional agency like the FBI, it was a total misjudgement on their part to ignore Hanssen as a potential target for Russian espionage. This serious breach of national security went unnoticed by the FBI, which was unpardonable.
Since its inception, the Department of Homeland Security has steadily increased its budget, says Bullock et al (2009). Though inflation has become an eyesore for the government, they cannot risk ignoring national security. The focus has now shifted to prevent, prepare and recover from disasters both, natural and man-made.
In his testimony before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reforms in 2007, Kip Hawley, Assistant Secretary, said that while it was difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of any single layer security of passengers in airports, there had to be a broader base under which security could be tightened, for which various levels of multi-layer security could be addressed in detail. In a video on wn.com/tsa on ‘Journalists Educate The TSA at Buffalo Airport,’ when a passenger was asked whether TSA was doing its job in keeping America safe, do you think they’re doing that? He replied in the negative. Issues of intrusion of one’s privacy by subjecting them to body screens also didn’t go well with many. So, what has the TSA done to tighten security at airports, especially after the 9/11 catastrophe?
Hawley (2007) said that to tighten security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) introduced an Aviation Screening Assessment Program (ASAP) in April 2007 to expand TSA’s internal covert testing, and support operational decisions. ASAP performed thousands of covert tests in airports across the country to detect prohibited liquids, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which were otherwise hard to track. Further tests were run and finally, on completion of these tests, TSA concluded that there were 20 layers of security which had to be addressed to make airports more secure and dispel fears of any further post 9/11-like attacks on American soil. These included, getting security agencies to work with similar agencies from other countries in identifying and stopping terrorist activities; have customs and border protection forces identify potential terrorists and stop their entry into the United States; have the Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in joint terrorism task forces across the United States; introduce a no-fly zone to prevent any person (s) from flying into, within or out of the United States; and check airline flight crews and airport employees who have access to an aircraft with additional vetting procedures in addition to the no-fly requirements. These security apparatus’ could restrict or prevent people with criminal records known to U.S. intelligence or law enforcement agencies from boarding or getting close to an airplane. The 9/11 security lapse proved how intelligently those terrorists infiltrated the bastion of high-level security, and killed thousands of innocent people. Therefore, these five layers were addressed immediately to truncate any such occurrences happening in the future (Hawley, 2007).
It is believed that over 500 million people enter the United States every year with or without proper travel documents. It would be practically impossible to check each passenger’s credential without holding them in the airport for a long period. This will create chaos and discourage from travelling by air. In order to solve this irritant, the United States began working with the G-8 group of nations, the International Civil Aviation Organization and others to set up improved security standards for travelers. This included the close scrutiny of their documents such as passports and visas. In addition to this, the Department of State collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security to introduce new international standards for travelers to the U.S. Certain programs in unison with some select countries was also introduced to share information on incidents of travel document fraud and illegal entry and deportation of passengers. These measures, state, NSHS (2002), helped reduce the flow of illegal and fraudulent travelers to the United States. The mandatory fingerprinting of applicants seeking visa to the U.S before a consular officer, has also helped trace and stop people with criminal records from flying to the United States.
Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) programs will help weed out suspicious personnel, and add an element of unpredictability to the security screening process, making it difficult for suspected terrorists to manipulate. The introduction of the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams, comprising of the Transportation Security Officers (TSO), Transportation Security Inspectors (TSI), and Federal Air Marshals (FAM), who collaborate with local law enforcement agencies, can help track and apprehend any suspicious person linked to terrorism and anti-government activities (Hawley, 2007).
According to Martinet (2006), the National Response Plan (NRP) of 2004, as well as Homeland Security Presidential Directives (HSPD) 5 and HSPD 8, enhanced the roles and responsibilities of federal, state and local organizations. The National Response Plan directed at the Department of Homeland Security, specified that, the purpose of NRP was “to establish a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident management” that sought to prevent, prepare, respond, and recover from contingencies that involved national interests. The incident management disciplines included homeland security, emergency management, law enforcement, firefighting, hazardous materials response, public works, public health, emergency medical services, and responder and recovery worker health and safety. Each of these services would have to act or respond to contingencies at any given time, for which, they would have to be well-prepared. The National Response Plan was devised to address these issues of preparedness.
While Goss stressed the importance of creating a contingency plan to neutralize potential terrorist threats, with emphasis on ‘what could the threat do?’ they need to work in unison with other law enforcing agencies within the country and outside, to develop a fool-proof anti-terrorism mechanism. This will not be easy and a lot of operational and political hurdles will have to be overcome, to make it successful. In addition to this, funds also need to be provided to these agencies to ensure that they have the best equipments to combat the ever growing, of the country and elsewhere, to bring about a blanket. What happened on September 11, 2001 is history, and it i now for the Department of Homeland Defense and Security agency to act, and redeem the confidence that they lost.
Bullock, J., Haddow, G., Coppola, D. and Yeletaysi, S., (2009), Introduction to homeland security (3rd edition), Burlington, MA: Elsevier Butterworth-HeinemannFox News: Chronology of the key events of Sept. 11, 2001, retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,62184,00.html
Gross, T, (2005), Building a Contingency Menu: Using Capabilities-Based Planning for Homeland Defense and Homeland Security, Homeland Security Affairs, Vol.1 (1), p. 1-12
TSA, (2012), Journalists Educate The TSA at Buffalo Airport, retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://wn.com/tsa
U.S Department of Justice: FBI, Terrorism in the United States 1999: Counterterrorism Threat Assessment and Warning Unit Counterterrorism Division, retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://www.fbi.gov/publications/terror/terror99.pdf
Vise D.A, (2002), The bureau and the mole: The unmasking of Robert Philip Hanssen, the most dangerous double agent in FBI history, New York, NY: Grove Press
Hawley, K, (2007) in 21st Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law, A National Security Conference, retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://nationalsecuritylawbrief.com/wp- content/uploads/2011_ABAConferenceNationalSecurity.pdf
Presley, S. M, (1996), LCDR: Rise of Domestic Terrorism and Its Relation to United States Armed Forces, retrieved March 22, 2014, from http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/presley.htm
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