Critical thinking is an important concept whose emphasis has grown in recent years. Schools have gone ahead to introduce critical thinking subjects and units. The growth of critical thinking and its associated models has aided several industries and nations in terms of security. The security of any nation is vital to its economic performance and social stability. Such a need has led to the establishment of special security installations and organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security in the US. This essay constructs a critical thinking model from a host of the available models. It evaluates the use of this model in the US Department of Homeland Security. Besides, it focuses on an event where the model was successfully applied.
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“Best” Critical Thinking Model
The ‘best’ critical thinking model that is established in this essay consists of a combination of other critical thinking models that have been employed in the past (Browne, & Keeley, 2007). An example of a model that is commonly used in critical thinking is the Paul and Elder’s critical thinking model.
Professor Hughes popularized the use of the above model in security matters when he was working in the National Defense Intelligence College (NDIC) (Browne, & Keeley, 2007). Paul and Elder’s (2005) model of critical thinking involves asking some critical questions about thinking to derive a well-formulated thought process.
Other models that are important in critical thinking include the ones that are listed in the book, ‘Asking the Right Questions’ by Browne and Keeley (2007). A combination of these models results in a tool that is useful in the assessment of any situation, including application in Homeland Security. During any critical thinking process, Browne and Keeley’s (2007) models suggest that individuals should ensure that they follow a linear plan of thought. The thoughts should be organized in a particular manner to achieve an organized thought process.
From the above thinking tactics, the best thinking plan is a linear model, which is an amalgamation of the above models. Hence, individuals should follow a linear path from the description, analysis, and evaluation (Browne, & Keeley, 2007). For this critical thinking model to work, a series of questions should be applied in each of the various stages of the model. Some of these questions include the assessment of who, where, why, how, what, and when among other questions. The reasoning methods that are used in this model include the inductive, deductive, and adductive reasoning strategies where each of them has different results (Paul, & Elders, 2005).
The application of this model should yield results in any areas such as security. A combination of models ensures that the best results are obtained in the critical thinking process. Producing the linear thinking model provides the best support for Homeland Security as an important part of the federal government, which ensures that citizens are guaranteed of safety in the contemporary world of terrorism and other types of security threats (Paul, & Elders, 2005). The linear thinking model that incorporates several critical thinking models is effective because it ensures that solutions are provided to the biggest of security challenges and threats in the US.
Critical Thinking Model in Support of Homeland Security
The above critical thinking model is realized after merging other models, such as the one derived by Paul and Elder (2005). The model can find use in the Department of Homeland Security, especially in the prediction of security threats, prevention of security incidences, and/or planning of future functions of Homeland Security. The use of the critical thinking model in this area helps in the preparation of future security issues. It also aids in stress management. Since Homeland Security is a sensitive component of the government, each decision affects a significant part of the population. Application of critical thinking allows the management of complex problems that currently face this organization.
Individuals who work in Homeland Security constantly face large amounts of information that is available for use in the maintenance of security. The environment where the Department of Homeland Security operates in is constantly changing. Its failure to apply critical thinking can lead to massive casualties and property destruction. The public may eventually lose trust in the government (Kiltz, 2009). The use of critical thinking ensures that some of the major security events that have occurred in the past are not repeated.
By using the suggested critical thinking model, analysts and security advisors can predict security events and other threats before they occur. The model will ensure that the motives of individuals who intend to participate in criminal activities are known, with measures being taken to prevent their activities. This model can help predict time, place, and people who carry out criminal activities. Application of critical thinking allows researchers to point out areas that are vulnerable in the country. This plan allows them to prepare for eventualities. Researchers propose that cognitive skills can help avert disasters or prevent catastrophic damages that often result from unpredicted disasters (Nakaya, 2005). Emotions are part of the thinking process. They are also known to influence the outcome of security management.
The critical thinking process that is most applicable for Homeland Security entails making assumptions and hypotheses. Critical thinking is a process and not an outcome, as previously discussed in some literature (Browne, & Keeley, 2007). The critical thinking model that is suggested in this essay will entail asking important questions that can allow security managers to predict and control security situations. Some of the most important questions include, ‘what is the intention of any security threat?’ The book “Asking the Right Questions” by Browne and Keeley (2007) provides a basis for the critical thinking model as applied in the management of Homeland Security. In the proposed linear model, some of the questions that can be asked in the description part include the common types of threats, the main problem, and the reason behind it.
According to Browne and Keeley (2007), critical thinkers should ask questions and attempt to answer them in a manner that allows prediction. About Homeland Security, questions should be asked regarding the probability of attacks, the likely effects of such attacks, the possible measures to avert them, and the likely public outcome. The description stage should also involve questions concerning the involved parties, the affected people, and/or any interested parties (Browne, & Keeley, 2007). Some of the other questions include the timing of the events, how they will occur, and/or how they occurred (Browne, & Keeley, 2007). The assessment of systems in Homeland Security should entail questions such as how the various people interact to cause and alleviate any security disasters.
The other question that is important to ask in Homeland Security concerns how the different factors affect each other and how they can be altered to make security decisions. In the next step of the analysis, questions that should be asked include why the events occurred or are to occur, what was done, and why the threats are in the US and not anywhere else. Clarification questions such as ‘what if the system was wrong’ should be asked (Nakaya, 2005). The last part of the critical thinking process is evaluation, which involves asking questions such as ‘so what?’ The other question is ‘what next?’ (Perrow, 2006) In the evaluation step, individuals who are involved in Homeland Security should assess the outcome of the critical thinking process. They discussed the critical process should be adequate to prevent and preempt any security disaster.
Probable Historical Use
The above critical thinking model is applicable in the modern-day threats as well as threats that occurred many years back. In this section, the model discussed is applied to assess a security situation that occurred within the past 20 years. The discussed incidence is the attack on the United States that occurred in 2001. The Al-Qaida terror group took responsibility for one of the largest attack ever to be staged in the US soil (Perrow, 2006). The September 11 attack in New York was some of the most devastating events. It led to the death of over 2000 civilians.
The above critical thinking model could have been used to avert the crisis and/or prevent the negative outcomes of this disaster. People in Homeland Security should have asked several questions in their analysis of the impending attack, with the intention being to avert this terrorist attack. At the time, the US was involved in some global activities. The regimes in some countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan proclaim that the US was negatively affecting their operations. There were significant threats at the time. Terrorist organizations accumulated resources that could be used to harm the US (Nakaya, 2005).
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Using the above critical thinking model, security advisors should have asked questions such as how ready the terrorists were to carry out attacks outside their bases in the Middle East. The analysis of the capabilities should have established whether the threat that was posed by these groups was enough to warrant counterterrorism measures (Perrow, 2006). The critical thinking model could also have been used to predict areas that were to be attacked in the US and the modes of attack that would have been used. For a long time, the terrorist organizations had indicated the intention of attacking highly populated areas (Perrow, 2006). Therefore, the cities were the most vulnerable. Security installations in the country had an equal risk.
At the time of the attack, the aviation industry had been experiencing challenges in security, with most of the airports around the world lagging in security checks. Therefore, there was a chance that the terrorists would use the aviation industry, particularly airplanes, to attack the US (Perrow, 2006). The model should have enabled security experts to ask questions of how prepared the country was to handle any type of threat of this magnitude. At the time of the attack, the nation was ill-prepared to handle a disaster of that extent because there had been poor coordination of security operations in the country. The threat of such kind of terrorism was still new.
The use of the critical thinking model at the time of the attack would also have reduced the number of casualties that resulted from the collapse of the World Trade Union towers and the fires that followed the event (Perrow, 2006). Many firefighters and ordinary civilians lost their lives when the building collapsed. Some of the spectators were too close to the building. Others did not have the necessary training and skills to handle such kind of a disaster. Homeland Security should have been equipped with the above critical thinking model to avert any disasters that occurred in this day.
Fallacies of Logic
The outcome of the above event was influenced negatively by some activities that were performed inappropriately or were not performed at all. Several reports after the 9/11 attacks indicate that Homeland Security should have done more to avert the attacks. Some of the researchers state that the available intelligence was not effectively utilized to make sure that the attacks did not occur. There were indications that the attacks were planned long before they occurred and that they could have been predicted (Perrow, 2006). Some individuals claim that the attacks would have been prevented through the collaboration of security agencies. However, these agencies were busy establishing individual dominance.
The other reason that Homeland Security may have failed to avert the incidence is due to the poor financial support it had at the time. The implementation of the above model requires solid financial backing, where individuals who work here are motivated. However, reports indicate that the federal government had reduced funding for counterterrorism measures at the time of the attack (Perrow, 2006). A highly confidential program to monitor the activities of Al Qaeda was denied funding before the incidence, with experts stating that this move would have helped avert the crisis if it had taken off (Perrow, 2006).
Another fallacy is the failure of information passing and sharing between the various agencies that were involved in the provision of security for the nation, including Homeland Security. Perrow (2006) reveals a problem that was evident while coordinating the information that was available to avert the crisis. Centralization was a major effect of this issue. Department of federal governments that dealt with large projects such as security and counterterrorism should have been decentralized to allow smaller operations in the same area. Decentralization of these organizations would have also contributed to the application of the above critical thinking model.
The other fallacy that evolved after the attack is that the culture at the organization was not adequate for an organization of its size. There was a need to alter this situation for the sake of future aversion of such disasters (Perrow, 2006). There were warnings in advance that this attack was impending. However, this information was not utilized to ensure adequate preparation and counterterrorism measures (Perrow, 2006). The threat levels for such a disaster would have necessitated important measures such as tighter security in airports. The federal government should also have marshaled the army and other forces in the country to the nations that were later attacked after the incidence. The application of the above critical thinking model could have been adequate to prevent the disaster of this magnitude.
Browne, N., & Keeley, M. (2007). Asking the right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Kiltz, L. (2009). Developing Critical Thinking Skills in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Courses. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 6(1), 1-23.
Nakaya, C. (2005). Homeland Security. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2005). The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools. New York, NY: The Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Perrow, C. (2006). The Disaster after 9/11: The Department of Homeland Security and the Intelligence Reorganization. The Journal of Homeland Security Affairs, 11(1), 1-32.