Stephen Flynn focuses on existing flaws in U.S. border security and international transport networks. He argues that there is “an alternative between maintaining trade and travel lanes so open that they practically invite terrorists to do their worst, and turning off the global … spigot whenever a terrorist attack occurs or a credible threat of one arises.”
Together, the authors of these short articles offer a comprehensive look at the monumental challenges faced by the U.S. government in creating the new Department of Homeland Security. They identify key issues that must be addressed if this new department is to have a chance at fulfilling its primary mission.
Steven Brill offers “five realities” to help the reader sort through the political rhetoric that increasingly envelops the issue of management of homeland security. He argues that spending more money will not guarantee security.
Romesh Ratnesar argues that while the Bush administration has kept the issue of terrorism at the forefront of its policy agenda, it has done little to reduce the threat of terrorism. He concludes, “…that in many respects the homeland is no more secure than it was on September 10, 2001.”
This article examines differences between the national emergency management system and the counterterrorism system. Richard Sylves and William Waugh argue that the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security could undermine the existing cooperation between the many current disaster agencies.
According to the authors “…a total of 88 congressional committees and subcommittees have jurisdiction over issues related to homeland security.” They argue that effective operation of the Department of Homeland Security requires some of these “infamous 88” to relinquish their oversight rights.
This article discusses the problems associated with developing and managing an information technology system for the new Department of Homeland Security. It concludes “DHS will only be as effective as its Information Technology allows it to be.”
A breakdown of government-wide budget requests for the Department of Homeland Security is provided in this primer, which includes an overview of past allocations, major initiatives, and funding requests for fiscal year 2004.
According to Daniel Hirsch, “Security at the nation’s nuclear plants has been grossly inadequate for decades, and the nuclear industry and its captive regulatory agency, the NRC, have refused to do anything about it—both before and after September 11.”
The Transportation Security Administration’s first major challenge, according to Steve Dunham, is to “…remedy the security deficiencies in air travel in the United States.” His article provides an overview of the duties and responsibilities of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Total Information Awareness (TIA) is a Department of Defense research project designed to identify terrorists through the use of “personal data collected in computer databases.” The program, described by some as the “…most massive surveillance program ever tried by the federal government” poses a serious challenge to existing privacy protections.
Frank Keating, the former governor of Oklahoma, examines the relationship between local, state, and federal agencies in response to terrorist attacks. Drawing on his experiences from the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and Dark Winter, a disaster response exercise in 2001, he offers five basic guidelines for interaction among these agencies.
The governor of Maryland highlights in this article the issues that states face in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001. He discusses some of the organizational, legislative, and economic challenges that must be dealt with.
States and localities are increasingly dissatisfied with the formulas for distribution of federal funds for homeland security. Cities like New York are faced with major expenditures in a time of budget shortfalls.
Conflicts between the federal government and local authorities over the escalating cost of homeland security continue. This article provides a number of examples of the costs facing local and state governments.
While the federal government continues to be preoccupied with Iraq, state and local governments continue to make their preparations for possible terrorist attacks. Siobhan Gorman and Sydney Freedberg highlight the challenges faced by states and localities.
In an interview with People magazine, Department of Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge offers his advice on how to prepare for a terrorist attack. Ridge suggests keeping an emergency kit with 3 day’s worth of supplies including food, water, and, yes, duct tape.
According to Brian Jenkins, the main targets of the new Homeland Security color-alert system are government agencies. These agencies, however, cannot protect all citizens at all times. Jenkins argues that Americans must become involved “in the defense of their communities…” in order for homeland security to succeed.
Matthew Scheider and Robert Chapman argue that community policing, which requires citizen involvement, will lead to more effective terrorism prevention and response and will help reduce both fear of an attack and fear during an attack.
Some 500,000 health care workers are supposed to voluntarily receive the smallpox vaccine as an unprecedented first step in preparing for a smallpox attack. Some first responders are prepared to take the risk, while others are just not sure this plan is worth the potential danger or the costs.
John Powers argues that many first responders currently lack “…a unifying concept of operations.” He believes that in order to save time and lives during a terrorist incident, first responders must establish and be able to function within a “network of networks,” which he describes in this article.
Fearing future terrorist attacks with shoulder-fired missiles on passenger planes, members of Congress have proposed the use of antimissile systems on U.S. aircraft. While some support the installation of “countermeasures” on passenger aircraft, others believe that there are less costly ways to address this potential threat.
John Cohen and John Hurson argue that in order to respond more effectively to terrorism we must continue to improve communications. They advocate the linking of data systems and the integration of emergency response systems.
Aerospace companies are trying to help fill the need for increased “communications interoperability” that became evident in the wake of the attacks on September 11, 2001. Companies such as Raytheon are developing mobile command centers that will allow communication between all first responders regardless of radio compatibility.
Much attention has been paid to the possibility that terrorists may possess and use biological agents such as anthrax and smallpox. The U.S. government has taken a number of steps to enhance preparedness for and response capability to such an attack. Despite this, Katherine Eban argues that there are problems with the public health system that, if left uncorrected, will leave the United States vulnerable to bioterrorism.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, a disturbingly large number of nuclear weapons and radioactive materials were left under frequently minimal security. This article looks at the possibility that some of those materials could find, or could have found, their way into the hands of terrorist groups or states that sponsor terrorism, and could be used to mount a devastating attack on the United States and our allies.
In the post–September 11 world, the threat of an attack on the American mainland involving conventional weapons and/or weapons of mass destruction is very real. This article addresses the possibilities that our nation’s critical electronic infrastructure may be vulnerable and that an attack combining cyberterrorism with a traditional physical attack poses a grave risk.
The enormous economic and health consequences of an attack on plants and animals are often overlooked in discussions of possible future terrorist threats. This article examines the threats that terrorism poses to plant and animal health as well as the wide-ranging ramifications that would rise from such an attack.
Valerie Demmer believes that Bush administration policies to prevent terrorism such as the U.S. Patriot Act have lead to the “…erosion of civil liberties.” According to Demmer, the government’s“ …McCarthy-like tactics strip citizens of their fundamental rights while not being effective in—and often not having anything to do with—stopping terrorism.”
Mary Zeiss Stange claims that the steps taken by the government in the war on terrorism are similar to the steps taken in the 1993 Waco incident. The problem with this is that the cult members’ civil rights were violated in 1993 and the same sort of rights violations are being made legal today for the purpose of preventing terrorism.
According to the government, Total Information Awareness (TIA), an experimental system created to help prevent terrorism, uses the Internet to “detect, classify, and identify foreign terrorists and decipher their plans.” Civil rights groups are protesting TIA because they fear that the program gives the government unnecessary access to our private lives and too much power.
Worried about the information available on the Internet, the Department of Energy began removing files from their Web site. Brian Costner argues that “in the process the public got shut out.”
This article compares the U.S. government’s indefinite detention of Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, to the 1962 arrest of Nelson Mandela in an apartheid regime in South Africa. It notes that unlike Padilla, “Mandela was given access to lawyers and his prosecutors had to follow rules of due process.”
Michael Scardaville argues “…the greatest failing on September 11 was the inability of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies to prevent the attacks.” He offers a series of recommendations to improve homeland security.
M. Mitchell Waldrop discusses new intelligence software that can detect transactions or relationships between people that might not appear via any other form of intelligence gathering. This software may play a vital role in preventing future terrorist attacks.
This article examines the problems facing the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), including the lack of centralized leadership and a culture that balks at interagency cooperation. It argues that significant reform is necessary to meet today’s challenges.
Alex Salkever outlines some of the changes in homeland security that have been made since 9/11 as he tries to address the question, “Is America safer now than before?” He offers mixed reviews of ongoing efforts.
Murray Weidenbaum examines the roles of government and private enterprise in homeland security. He argues that businesses have been saddled with a “hidden tax” that may have long-term effects.
Michael Scardaville outlines five basic principles that the newly created Department of Homeland Security “should follow” as it faces the momentous task of consolidating 22 federal agencies.
According to Harlan Ullman, the United States has five important pieces of “unfinished business” at home and abroad. This article outlines major outstanding issues that the Bush administration must resolve in order to ensure the nation’s security.