Assessment of the Organization and Effectiveness of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Homeland security policies involve organization of the activities in all social spheres to detect, protect, and respond to the domestic attacks, including 9/11. Within the context of the National Strategy for Homeland Security, the mission of the department is defined as a “concentrated national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and recover from and minimize the damage of attacks that do occur” (Kamien, 2005b, p. xli).
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The Department of Homeland Security organized activities into six critical mission areas, including intelligence and warming, border and transportation security, domestic counterterrorism, protecting critical infrastructures, protecting against catastrophic threats, and emergency preparedness and response. All these areas involve specific agencies and administrations that take greater control of specific fields of social activities to ensure security, protection, and prevention.
Under the auspices of the department, such agencies as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and many other areas work on analysis, prediction, and prevention of all possible hazards within and outside the United States. Specifically, the FEMA aims to organize, plan, and coordinate available resource for mitigating and responding to the effects of natural and man-made risks (Kamien, 2005b).
The TSA is also an important element in the security framework because it monitors seaports, airports, highways, railroads, and pipelines that ensure safety movement of people and goods within and out of the country (Kamien, 2005b). This sector is of particular attention because it is closely associated with global transport infrastructure.
The Homeland Security Infrastructure successfully applies a multi-dimensional approach to protecting and introducing prevention measures and responses to outside and inside threats. Despite the total coverage, there are still gaps that need to be fulfilled to enhance the security and reduce the risk of terrorist attacks.
Specific attention should be given to agricultural/food sectors which are considered within a broader context of domestic counterterrorism. Biological weapon and foodborne diseases can constitute a serious threat to the safety and health of the nation and, therefore, the Department of Homeland Security should consider this issue in more detail. In addition, the agencies should focus both on various types of terrorist weapons and on the areas that could be affected seriously.
Overseas combating terrorism is also among the most important natural strategies initiated by the Department of Homeland Security. Regarding the scheme under which the terrorism combating occurs. The problem is that the National Strategies address too generalized issues while encountering terrorist threats and hazards.
There should be a more consistent and specific approach to the areas that need particular attention. Much concern should be connected with diagnosing and predicting, as well as constant overview of possible measures that could improve the protection systems. Constant control and innovation is the major source of facing terrorist attacks.
Threats and Issues Pertaining Cyber terrorism
The issue of cybersecurity has now been on the agenda of the Department of Homeland Security for many reasons. First, the technological advances and popularity of web space have increased the computer-literate population. The spread of “hacker” tools complicated the tasks of the security agencies in terms of development of effective software and hardware that would reduce and eliminate the access to the confidential information (Moteff, 2010).
In response to the treat, the Clinton Administration planned to establish a Federal Intrusion Detection Network that could meet the goals of the Homeland Security Department (Moteff, 2010). During the Bush administration, the intense focus on cybersecurity occurred due to the 9/11 events, due to the mission to introduce a separate unit that would protect and monitor the recent challenges and problems in the sphere.
Cybersecurity significantly differs from the purpose of protecting the nation from cyber crimes in terms of objectives that are purposes by the initiators of cyber-terrorist attacks. Specifically, cybercrime covers much more general categories and that different cause outcome for the security of the U.S. nation (Moteff, 2010).
Specific attention should be paid on the developing a new agency and framework that would be responsible for cybersecurity activities and policies. The legislation and regulations introduced by the Obama Administration have enhanced cybersecurity and have contributed to the development of cyberinfrastructures that were particularly interested in considering the challenges being critical to the safety of the nation.
According to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2009), “the use of innovative technology and interconnected networks in operations improves productivity and efficiency, but also increases the Nation’s vulnerability to cyber threats” (p. 12).
Therefore, lack of awareness in the malicious factors that trigger attacks against the virtual infrastructure can lead to quick spread of debilitating effect. Therefore, the current and the main objective of the agencies responsibility for cyberspace should ensure that the information flow within the nation is properly controlled and monitored.
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The development of policies enhancing protection of the cyberspace is quite challenging because of the interdependent and interconnected nature of Infrastructure Resource Center. In order to meet the goals, the primary purpose of the Department of Homeland security is to introduce effective measure that would sufficiently address the consequences of outside influences, as well as provide effective response to the emerged contingencies.
In this respect, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2009) has introduced a consistent plan that touches upon the safety of essential assets, networks, and system operating in Canada and Mexico and creating possible threats to the welfare of the nation. In particular, functionality, planning, and coordination should be among the core approaches of improving the protection and prevention mechanisms.
Vulnerabilities, Threats, Hazards, and Challenges Regarding Port and Cargo Security
The post 9/11 event produces another potential attention to the carrier systems and cargo transportation in airports, and seaports. Such sectors as aviation and maritime have become the primary focus of protection due to the increased vulnerability and threats. The major challenge in aviation is connected to the open and distribution of entry points both inside and outside the country, which makes it difficult to protect (The White House, 2003).
Moreover, the main aspects of the aviation infrastructure constitute the primary focus of the terrorist targets because they can become potential weapon for a terrorist attack. There are many other potential hazards for aviation, including volume, limited capabilities, and time-sensitive cargo, accessibility, and aspects of security confronting accessibility.
To meet the threats experienced in the aviation sphere, the Homeland Department National Strategies has decided to identify interdependencies and vulnerabilities that could present the major threat in all possible spheres (The White House, 2003). Survey of manufacture, industrial, and production spheres in aviation are under the major focus. The points of accessibility should also be tightened in terms of security so as to reduce the availability of entrance areas in airport (The White House, 2003; Kamien, 2005a). Operations and coordination centers should not be available, as well. Cargo screening capabilities and detection technologies should also be improved constantly.
Railroad challenges should also be considered carefully to limit the threats of terrorist intrusion. The National Strategy, therefore, gives especial attention to the complicated network of railroad routes, which makes it challenging to ensure availability of security measures (The White House, 2003).
In particular, the threat of specific train materials, including freight and transportation security, as well as lack of effective information exchange between the managers of the transportation sector can increase the probability of terrorist attacks. Transportation of marketing car container is another challenge that needs special consideration. This is of particular concern to the emergency response mechanisms that are not developed extensively.
Highways and public transport have also been the primary concern because of lack of sufficient security system that would take control of the passengers. Therefore, this field is the least protected among all types of transportation systems. The routes that include tunnels and bridges are also under the significant risk of intrusion (The White House, 2003). These areas should be monitored by the public transportation officials to prevent the possibility of intrusion.
Because pipelines are part of industrial and public service system, no specific unit is responsible for this sector. In fact, any damage to pipelines can lead to negative consequences in many spheres of control. Because pipelines are attributes of differential industrial networks, the distribution of stakeholder prevents the government to take sufficient control of the safety measures.
In order to prevent the described risk, it is reasonable to introduce a common unit for controlling the industrial pipelines that are owned by various stakeholders. Introduction of common standards of checking is also another approach that has been implementing by Homeland Security.
Appropriate Roles and Responsibilities of the Federal, State, and Local Government and the Private Sector Respectively, in Terms of Security for Critical Infrastructure Key Resources
The U. S. social, economic, and political infrastructure is complex and multi-facet and, therefore, it is difficult for both state and federal government to take control of the public sectors. The greatest vulnerability can experience such spheres as the food industry, public places of food consumptions, including care and restaurant networks, as well as food markets. The Centre for the Disease and Control can experience significant hazards because of debilitating influences on economic and social infrastructure as a result of the identified gaps.
Michel-Kerjan (2003) argue that private sectors lack sufficient degree of collective preparedness, which is especially essential after the 9/11 events. Therefore, terrorist attacks are oriented on the private sectors that are out of the attention of the government to generate fear and deterrence among the population.
Previous experience reveals that use of separate elements in combination with more extensive social networks can be used to generate terrorist attacks because there are a bad interaction and connection (Michel-Kerjan, 2003). Therefore, the government at regional and national level should enhance their cooperation and interaction to be able to react immediately to emerged contingencies, as well as to predict any possible threats the welfare of the U.S. nation.
Most of the resources used by the government are not used properly to address the needs of successful infrastructure cooperation. There should be an equal distribution of forces, responsibilities, and duties to coordinate actions and introduce a powerful protection mechanism.
Specifically, the primary mission of the Homeland Security is to ensure proper cooperation of local, tribal and national governments, as well as private sector administration to remove control deficiency (Department of Homeland Security, 2010). Lack of interconnected response to threat is among the principal vulnerabilities that the President Administration should address first. The establishment of relations between public and private sectors is also essential for working effective protection strategies.
Despite the useful diagnosing and prediction of challenges and threats, there are still areas that need to be addressed. Specific attention should be paid to equal distribution of control between the identified sectors because prevalence of one over another will not ensure successful cooperation (Department of Homeland Security, 2010).
Therefore, there should be balance struck between local government initiatives and the legislature and protection schemes issued by the federal and state administration. Specific attention should be paid to decision-sharing process and problem identification.
Overall, the overall protection and prevention techniques that were previously developed will work much better in case they are enacted in cooperation of private and public sectors. These operations could also be enhanced in case much concern will be given to the private areas where separate elements of a network should be in accord with other elements relating to much greater infrastructures.
Threats and Vulnerabilities Affecting Agriculture/Food Sector
Foodborne illnesses are among the major threats that can be used as a biological weapon for terrorist attacks. This is of particular concern to seafood, poultry, eggs and other perishable goods that should undergo strict control and adherence to food standards. The problem is that there no strict standards that could be applied equally to all products irrespective of region and place of delivery.
Imported goods should be of particular concerns because there are differences between the food standards at home and abroad (DeWaal and Barlow, 2004). In order to prevent the hazards, the government should be more concerned with the development of international standards that would correspond with global standards and that would provide a safer ground for food distribution.
Lack of facilities for inspecting and checking food for quality is also a severe problem that needs to be addressed immediately. The local governments should creative an extensive network. Lack of laboratories and relevant technologies does not contribute to the security of the U.S. citizens because of the lack of cooperation between public and private institutions. The second step that needs to be considered is poor work of reporting and surveillance systems (DeWaal and Barlow, 2004).
Despite the excellent and cooperative work of investigation networks, the information received is not properly distribution for further analysis and, therefore, the government fails to implement to corresponding measures. In order to avoid this program, the government should implement a specific legislature that would regulate transparent reporting. This area of reporting should not be confidential because the public awareness should be informed about possible threats of consuming various food products.
Monitoring of food-poisoning outbreaks is also a significant component that should be properly arranged. Most of the programs addressing this issue do not equally assess the extent to which these outbreaks can damage the economy and social welfare of the country.
Therefore, the government and the Department of Homeland Security should introduce more significant efforts to improve the situation (DeWaal and Barlow, 2004). In addition, Domestic food production is closely connected with agricultural sector and, therefore, it should be carefully monitored by the National Strategy initiative. Control of planting and supply of pesticide and other substances are enhanced to prevent the spread of biological weapon.
Department of Homeland Security. (2010). Quadrennial homeland security review report: A strategic framework for a secure homeland (Sections I-IV, pp. 1-36). Web.
DeWaal, C.S. and Barlow, K. (2004). Outbreak Alert! Closing the gaps in our federal food-safety net. Web.
Kamien, D. G. (2005a). Civil Aviation in the United States: Security Before and After 9/11. In D. G. Kamien The McGraw-Hill Handbook of Homeland Security. US: McGraw-Hill Companies. pp. 613-630.
Kamien, D. G. (2005b). The McGraw-Hill Handbook of Homeland Security. US: McGraw-Hill Companies.
Michel-Kerjan, E. (2003). New challenges in critical Infrastructures: A US perspective. Journal of Contingencies & Crisis Management, 11(3), 132-141.
Moteff, J. (2010). Critical infrastructures: Background, policy and implementation. Congressional Research Service, 1-31. Web.
The White House (2003). The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets. US: Washington. 1-96.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2009). National infrastructure protection plan. Web.