It goes without say that the fight against terrorism has been taken a notch higher by the US forces. Major works are being done towards the upholding of a strong and reputable tactical response to terrorism by the various agencies and most notably by the New York Police Department. Through the richness of information that the various websites (particularly the agencies’ websites) offer, one is left with more answers than questions and amazement on the beauty of their structure and organization. The fact that these agencies have continually worked in synchrony with each other is highly commendable as it can be emulated as a model for other countries to look up to. With the inception of such a sophisticated system of security, it can be safe to say that any acts of terrorism would be a thing of the past once every measure plays out right.
How Government Agencies Combat Terrorism
Terrorism is not a new concept. Indeed, in some respects, what is today known as terrorism predates by millennia the modern term used to describe it. This is not to say that the act of terrorism has remained static. Rather, as the difficulties involved in defining it reflect, terrorism has evolved considerably over the years, even if retaining some of the same characteristics that have historically typified it. Terrorism takes on different meanings depending on the level. Terrorism can be described as both a strategy and a tactic; a holy duty and a crime; a justified reaction towards a subjugation and an inexcusable abomination (International Terrorism and Security Research, n.d.). It therefore goes without saying that much depends on whose point of view is being represented here. However, according to the United States Department of Defense, terrorism is “the calculated use of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.”
From all the possible definitions of terrorism listed above, three things stand out clear: Fear, violence, and intimidation. And it is primarily for this reason that measures to counter and curb terrorism attacks should be initiated and put in place, thus the term counterterrorism. Counterterrorism basically refers to all those tactics, techniques, practices and strategies that are adopted by governments, corporations, militaries and police departments in quick response towards a terrorist threat or act, both real and imputed (Kolodkin, n.d.). The United States of America recognizes the need to protect its citizenry against any form of terrorism, and that is why it has put in place several agencies that either directly or indirectly combat acts of terrorisms within and without the United States borders. This article looks at these agencies and their roles in details.
1. a) U.S Customs and Border Protection
The United States Customs and Boarder Protection (CPB) is one of those agencies. It is one of the Department of Homeland Security’s largest and most complex components, with a priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the United States of America. The headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., and with a workforce of sworn federal officers and agents totaling up to about 42,329 or even more, the CPB is recognized as the largest law enforcement agency in the US. Whereas the primary reason for the existence of the CPB is preventing acts of terrorism or terrorist weapons from finding their way into the borders of the US, it also has other responsibilities that it is charged with. The CPB makes sure that anyone attempting to enter the United States without following the necessary protocol is apprehended. It also monitors all activities that might pose a threat to its citizens such as illegal flow of drugs and other contraband. It acts swiftly to stem out such practices. Its duties stretch to the agricultural sector whereby it protects the agricultural and economic interest of the United States from any harmful pests and diseases. The final responsibility is to protect businesses in the US against intellectual property theft (CPB, 2009).
The areas where the CBP employees take their patrols depend on their job description. More than 21,300 CPB officers are stationed at ports of entry within the US and they screen the cargoes and passengers. Also, roughly about 2,200 CPB agricultural specialists are stationed in various parts of the US especially the farm lands. Their main responsibility is to restrain the spread of harmful pests, animal and plant diseases that may directly predispose the American farms and the food supply to danger. We also have Border Patrol Agents that protect 3100km of boarder of Mexico and 8000 km of boarder with Canada. There is also the unit Air and Marine Interdiction Agents stationed at airports, airstrips and water bodies. They prevent weapons, people, narcotics and conveyance from illegal entry into the US. The CPB also has a canine enforcement program which uses dogs in law enforcement; this program is stationed at 73 commercial ports and 74 Border Patrol Stations in the US.
b) New York Police Department
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has been in service in the United States from back in the year 1845 and it has grown in leaps and bounds to a reputable and the biggest municipal police force in the entire US. Its headquarters are located in Lower Manhattan, New York City. The NYPD has an operational jurisdiction in the state of New York, USA .Currently the NYPD police academy has about 37,838 sworn officers and additional thousands who work as support staff. There is also an additional staff of 4,500 auxiliary police officers, 370 traffic enforcement supervisors, 5,000 school safety agents and 2,300 traffic enforcement agents. When it comes to the responsibilities, the NYPD agency basically encompass every measure that restore and ensure the security of the citizens. The roles include, harbor patrols, anti-terrorism, K-9, tactical operations, air support, anti-gang, bomb disposal, narcotics, public transportation, intelligence, and public housing (NYPD, n.d.) The NYPD has two types of detectives: detective-investigators and detective-specialists. Detective-investigators are commonly well known, this is because over time, people tend to have grown a close association with their duties as depicted in movies and television programs. These detectives gain their prominence through actively being involved in the Narcotic division of the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau. In that division, the detectives are assigned to squads which are co-located within each precinct, their main responsibility lies in investigating robberies, murders, burglaries, rapes and other assorted crimes within the precincts boundaries. Other detective investigators may have different duties in their specialized units. These detectives investigate terrorist groups, narcotic dealings, political corruption, kidnappings, contractor fraud, organized crimes and other high profile cases. The other type of detectives which is the detective-specialists, these detectives are those that assigned duties of being bodyguards and drivers to police commissioner, mayor and other senior officials.
c) Georgia National Guard.
The Georgia National Guard consists of the following; The Georgia Air National Guard and Georgia Army National Guard. The Georgia Army National Guard can be likened to be the army National Guard component and the administrative part of Georgia Department of Defense. It is also a component of the US Army and is absorbed into the National Guard of the United States. The Georgia Army National Guard comprises of a mighty army of more than 9,000 citizen-soldiers drilling in units across the state. In terms of magnitude, Georgia’s Army Guard ranks as the thirteenth largest in the United States. It is further subdivided into various subunits; combat, combat support and combat service support service support units. Over 60 percent of the Georgia Army National Guard forces are in high priority units and would be among the first to deploy during a national crisis (Global Security n.d.). By Presidential order, the National Guard units can be marshaled upon at any given time to complement regular armed forces. The other sub unit; the Georgia Air National Guard, comprises of about 3,000 airmen and officers assigned to six geographically separated units and two flying wings throughout Georgia.
2. Role In Homeland Defense
The NYPD has taken considerable steps in making sure that the citizens remain safe against future threats through the following; A high-tech wall of defense. After long periods of debate about the appropriate responses towards a chemical or biological attack, the NYPD came to a conclusion that they had to acquire sophisticated detection equipments. The department has been working closely with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory which has developed an autonomous pathogen detection system. Basically, this device works by continuously monitoring the air and automatically detecting and identifying any presence of over 100 different strains of virus and bacteria, all this within a time span of 45 minutes. The devices are fully automated and are operational twenty four hours every day without the human intervention and servicing. This device system named the Biowatch has remained reliant on technology and currently it is installed in 30 cities in the entire US. The Biowatch utilizes air monitors to sniff the air for about fifteen lethal pathogens.
Apart from the Biowatch system, the NYPD has initiated a eight million vaccination plan to vaccinate residents and distribute medications as a way of averting major casualties in the event of a bioterrorism attack on the American people. The vaccine that is administered mostly is that against smallpox. In the readiness of combating acts of terrorism, the NYPD agents undertake complex drills for instance, boarding cruise ships from piers and helicopters, reviewing the plans of the floors of nearly all large midtown theaters, conducting training inside some of these theaters to develop their ability to act in response to a possible attack (Rashbaum & Miller, 2004)
The Georgia National Guard is also charged with a task of maintain calmness in the US and it has its ways of getting prepared and combating any form of terrorist activities. First and foremost, training of the units is conducted in accordance with conditions, tasks and standards supporting the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) capability to accomplish military objectives. The training is based on relevant, combat skills and it incorporates all manner of combat operations. A lot of investment is made in the training process because professionalism counts a great deal when it come to fighting terrorism. Apart from training the agents, Georgia has an accurate up-to-date flow of information and intelligence. With this, they are able to detect potential threats and respond accordingly. Additionally, the early detection of aggression enables the Georgia National Guard to make warnings that are timely to the international community and seek pertinent backing by diplomatic or other means. Another aspect of readiness in combating terrorism for the Georgia National Guard is the availability of active and reserve forces who are highly equipped and trained (Ministry of Defense of Georgia, 2009).
The US Customs and Border Protection which protects the US border against infiltration of terrorists and their weapons, also has its initiatives on how to combat terrorism. One sure way the CBP has played a role against terrorism is through the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) initiative. This initiative seeks to build a cooperative relationship that in turn will improve and strengthen the overall international supply chain and U.S. border security. C-TPAT recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security through close cooperation. C-TPAT has offered trade related businesses opportunities to play active roles in the war against terrorism through participation in first worldwide supply chain security initiatives. Companies then have to ensure that there is a secure and expeditious supply chain for their employees, customers and suppliers. Apart from the security benefits that CBP offers to licensed C-TPAT member categories, there is also; reduced border delayed times, priority processing for CBP inspections, eligibility to attend C-TPAT supply chain security training seminars and many more (CPB, 2007).
3. Discuss Us Customs And Border Protection Cases
CBP’s Border Patrol is the foremost line of defense in DHS’ multi-agency efforts to dismantle the vicious smuggling groups that terrorize the American quality of life. The CPB agents are qualified, outfitted and instructed on how to deal with border violent behavior as well as incursions. And have continued to work in order to progress public safety and the lawful flow of exchange along the border. Recognizing that the CPB cannot control the borders by merely focusing on the immediate border, the Border Patrol strategy incorporates a “defense in depth” approach including use of checkpoints away from the border, recognition, and rapid reaction. The checkpoints are significant to the patrol operations, for they disallow key routes of outlets from the borders to smugglers intention of conveying drugs, people, and other illegal imports into the inside of the United States. Permanent checkpoints make it possible for the Border Patrol to institute an imperative second layer of defense and help dissuade illegitimate entries through improved enforcement.
The Border Patrol is also working in partnership with the ICE, Department of Justice and some of the DHS components on an incorporated approach to dismantling the unlawful groups that bring about cross-border criminal activity. Border Patrol and ICE partners in the Department’s recently established Border Enforcement and Security Task Forces (BESTs), which builds on the Department’s know-how in combating violent cross-border crimes in Texas, Laredo, and during Operation Black Jack.
Another case in point of how interagency efforts advantage this layered defense is the joint venture between Department of Justice and the DHS to develop the IDENT/IAFIS incorporated workstation, which captures a distinct set of fingerprints and puts them forward concurrently to DHS’ Automated Biometric Identification System (IDENT) and DOJ’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) for uniqueness checks. With abrupt access to IAFIS nationwide, Border Patrol agents have come to identify a large number of egregious criminals in the past year, including 648 sex crime suspects, 513 homicide suspects, 6439 subjects that have been previously convicted of motivated assault, and 11,844 suspects involved in hazardous trafficking or drugs , which if not ,would have gone unnoticed. With 31,414 major crime hits and 120,268 total IAFIS hits through fiscal put forward 2005, thus the CPB has made noteworthy progress towards improving nationwide security and greatly enhancing the aptitude to secure the Nation’s borders.
4. Core Values Of Each Agency
Each agency has a fine blueprint onto which their operations are based on. And all efforts in the line of duty always lead down to the few things that are stipulated on the individual agencies mission statements. The NYPD mission is to enhance the quality of life in the City by working in partnership with the community and in accordance with constitutional rights to enhance the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear and provide a safe environment. It also has a set of values which it pledges to implement in partnership with the community. These are, protecting lives and property, fighting crime, maintaining a high standard of integrity and most importantly honoring human life (NYPD, n.d.).
The mission of the US Customs and Border Protection is to safeguard the American homeland at and beyond its borders. It is also the role of the CPB to protect the Americans against terrorists and weapons of terror. The CPB steadfastly enforces the laws of the US while fostering the nation’s economic security. Finally, it serves the American public with vigilance, integrity and professionalism. The CPB core values are based on vigilance, service to the country and integrity.
The mission and values of the Georgia National Guard is to serve as an extension of the eyes, ears, voice and conscience of the adjutant general; focusing on the readiness, economy and efficiency, discipline, training morale of the Georgia National Guard. It also includes community efforts, quick response to floods or wildfires. The mission also recognizes the power of the presidency and is loyal to his call of duty. The National Guard pledges to all always be at the service of the president in implementing services such as serving overseas in the training of foreign forces, or serving along the U.S Mexico border. But in all its responsibilities, the core values that are eminent in the Nation Guard are; service to the community, the state and the entire country (National Guard, n.d.)
Korodkin, B. (n.d.). What is counterterrorism? Retrieved from http://usforeignpolicy.about.com/od/defense/a/what-is-counterterrorism.htm
CBP. (2009). CPB Mission statement and core values. Retrieved from http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/about/mission/guardians.xml
International Terrorism and Security Research. (n.d.). What is Terrorism? Retrieved from http://www.terrorism-research.com/
N.Y.P.D. (n.d.). New York’s finest. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/home.shtml
Global Security. (n.d.). Georgia National Guard. Retrieved from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/army/arng-ga.htm
NYPD. (n.d.). About NYPD. Mission and values. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/mission.shtml
National Guard. (n.d.). What is the National Guard’s mission? Retrieved from http://www.nationalguard.com/what-is-the-guard/what-is-the-national-guard-s-mission
Rashbaum, W., & Miller, J. (2004). New York Police take broad steps in facing terror. Retrieved from http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2949&page=1
Ministry of Defense of Georgia. (2010). National Military Strategy of Georgia. Retrieved from http://www.mod.gov.ge/?page=-10&Id=9&lang=1
CBP. (2007). C-TPAT overview. Retrieved from http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/trade/cargo_security/ctpat/what_ctpat/ctpat_overview.xml