The Department of Homeland Security is charged with protecting the US from terrorist threats and enhancing security (DHS, 2012). The vision of the DHS is to ensure a safe, secure and resilient homeland thereby providing a favorable environment for the success of American pursuits according to Dzikansky, Kleiman, & Slater (2011).
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This paper will outline the role of three state agencies in ensuring homeland security. These are the United States Coast Guard, the Office of Counter Terrorism and the New York City Police Department. According to Marks (2010), the importance of intelligence sharing is highlighted by the fact that recent disruptions in terrorist plans have often been carried out by several agencies.
The Coast Guard maintains a presence in America’s maritime environment to ensure security and safety. The USCG falls within the jurisdiction of the DHS. The Coast Guard has nearly 42,000 active duty members, above 7,800 reservists, more than 8,300 civilian employees and at least 33,000 volunteer auxilliarists. The Coast Guard enforces security perimeters at critical installations. It also patrols the US waters and escorts ships at risk (Dzikansky, Kleiman, & Slater, 2011).
Ports, Waterways & Coastal Security (PWCS) are the mission of the Office of Counterterrorism and Defense Operations policy in the Coast guard. The PWCS carries out maritime domain surveillance to gather intelligence. Marks (2010) argues that this intelligence can be used to carry out counter and anti terrorism activities.
The Maritime Security Response Team is charged with conducting counterterrorism operations (Marks 2010). It responds to terrorist situations and aborts terrorist plans at the port level. The Coast Guard Intelligence Coordination Centre coordinates the sharing of intelligence between the Coast Guard and other intelligence agencies. This facilitates for a more informed strategy formulation in tackling terrorism threats facing the US (Dzikansky, Kleiman, & Slater, 2011).
The Office of Counter Terrorism is a state agency in New York charged with the aversion, shielding against and preparation for terrorist threats and acts. The office of Counter Terrorism coordinates efforts with the New York State Police and other public safety agencies to fight terrorism. The OCT has four units (Dzikansky, Kleiman, & Slater, 2011).
The intelligence and analysis unit collaborates with the New York State Intelligence centre to inform the OCT of terrorist related information. The Public Safety Unit collaborates with New York’s First Responder Community to aid in terrorism preparedness (Marks 2010).
The Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit collaborates with public and private sector stakeholders to access and help in protection of critical infrastructure; this unit reduces America’s vulnerability to terrorism by preventing the use of critical infrastructure as weaponry (Marks 2010).
Among the duties of the New York City Police Department is to defend the city against terror attacks. The Counterterrorism Bureau develops and implements procedures that avert terror threats within the New York City. The NYPD has reviewed the role of police in its jurisdiction with the aim of implementing more protective measures against terrorism (Dzikansky, Kleiman, & Slater, 2011). Borough Counterterrorism Coordinators are charged with counterterrorism activities in the eight patrol boroughs. The Hercules and Transit Operational Response Canine Heavy Weapons (TORCH) is a heavily armed unit that conducts patrols at City landmarks, important infrastructure and transit points.
Other teams of the NYPD involved in antiterrorism operations include the Critical Response Vehicle (CRV) and the Transit Order Maintenance Sweeps (TOMS). The Counterterrorism Division supports the Counterterrorism Bureau to achieve its functions. The Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative (LMSI) are also projects aimed at denying terrorists the opportunity to attack the United States (Dzikansky, Kleiman, & Slater, 2011).
Recently, the NYPD was involved in the arrest and arraignment in court of one Jesse Curtis Morton for conspiring to commit murder and threatening other persons. The suspect used his position as leader of the Revolution Muslim Organization to incite people to attack those believed as enemies of Islam according to the U.S Attorney’s Office (2012, February 9).
The NYPD’s Intelligence Division worked closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to monitor Morton’s activities in promoting radicalism and violent forums on the internet. The suspect was arraigned in court in February 2012 (City of New York, 2012).
The United States Coast Guard has recently reviewed its handling of ships that have docked in Yemeni ports. The Coast Guard has set more rigorous security checks at the US ports since the Yemeni authorities do not implement fool proof security measures. This improved security procedures when it was noted that the US Coast Guard was allowing natural gas shipments from Yemen close to residential areas.
This is despite the fact that Yemen is a well known haven for terrorist organizations. The Coast Guard will thus safeguard the US ports from being used as entry points of materials that can be used for terror activities (Dzikansky, Kleiman, & Slater, 2011).
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The Joint Terrorism Task Force which is composed of detectives from the NYPD and the FBI thwarted a planned attack on a Manhattan synagogue on May 20, 2010. The JTTF’s detectives were praised for their undercover operations that helped to net the terrorists (City of New York, 2012).
In the above cases, it is noteworthy that every disrupted terrorist attack was carried out by more than one homeland security agency. Thus, it is arguable that sharing of intelligence among security organs will vastly help in detecting and making faster responses to potential threats (Marks, 2010).
City of New York. (2012). NYPD New York’s Finest. Retrieved from https://www1.nyc.gov/
DHS. (2012). New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services. Retrieved from http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oct/
Dzikansky, M., Kleiman, G., & Slater, R. (2011). Terrorist Suicide Bombings: Attack Interdiction, Mitigation & Response. Florida: CRC Press.
Marks, R. A. (2010). Spying in America in the post 9/11 world. California: Greenwood Publishing.
U.S Attorney’s Office. (2012, February 9). Leader of revolution Muslim pleads guilty to using internet to solicit murder and encourage violent extremism. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/