M1D1: Concept of Homeland Security Enterprise

HSE (Homeland Security Enterprise) was designed to better coordinate the resources of all law enforcement functions that fall under the auspices of the DHS. DHA strives to provide law enforcement agencies with “the tools to identify and combat threats in their communities,” including access to its information (Strengthening the Homeland Security Enterprise: Progress Report 2011, 2011, DHS). “Because state and local law enforcement are often in the best position to notice the first signs of a planned attack, homeland security efforts must be integrated into the police work that they do every day, providing officers on the front lines with a clear understanding of the tactics, behaviors, and other indicators that could point to terrorist activity” (Strengthening the Homeland Security Enterprise: Progress Report 2011, 2011, DHS). DHS has created ‘fusion’ centers “to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism” (Strengthening the Homeland Security Enterprise: Progress Report 2011, 2011, DHS).

Although the duties of homeland security are often thought of as being relegated to the federal government, local authorities have a critical role in improving the safety of America. Several years after the attack on the Twin Towers, DHS Secretary Tom Ridge noted: “mayors have always held the responsibility to protect their cities as their number-one priority and after 9/11, there was an added dimension to the safety and security of that responsibility, an added dimension of a different kind of threat that you had to help combat” (Smith 2005). Mayors must ensure that local law enforcement is mindful of potential terrorist threats (both organized and individually-based) that can be posed by criminals. They must ensure the security of major city events as the tragic example of the Boston Marathon illustrated all too well.

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NGOs (non-governmental) organizations such as the Red Cross have provided invaluable assistance in recovering from tragedies through providing healthcare-related assistance, housing, immediate disaster relief, and other measures to supplement the resources of government aid workers. As such, the DHS can improve its operations by working with such agencies, briefing workers on how best to deal with the unique challenges of situations that can result from terrorist activities as well as providing financial assistance. NGOs can also alert the DHS if they spot suspicious activities during their regular operations.

Even ordinary citizens, however, can be valuable assets for homeland security by being watchful of suspicious activity such as unattended baggage. Also, individuals in workplaces (such as flight schools) who might encounter individuals who act suspicious can act as important resources in combatting terrorism. Citizens from high-risk ethnic groups, the majority of whom are not terrorists, can offer intelligence to law enforcement (which is one reason why racial profiling can be counter-productive, given that it can foster hostile community tensions when outreach to these communities can yield such valuable information).

References

Smith, M. (2005). U.S. mayors’ homeland security role highlighted at conference. EHS

Today. Retrieved: http://ehstoday.com/news/ehs_imp_12490

Strengthening the Homeland Security Enterprise: Progress Report 2011. (2011). DHS.

Retrieved: http://www.dhs.gov/strengthening-homeland-security-enterprise

M1D2: Barriers to an All-Hazards Approach

To some extent, I do not agree that emergency management and homeland security have the same ‘language.’ Homeland security approaches mitigating threats from a police perspective. “While law enforcement officials were concerned with the preservation of evidence, the emergency responses were much as they would have been to a ‘regular’ disaster — an act of God rather than an act of man” (Waugh 2004). Ideally, the perspective of agencies such as DHS wishes to prevent rather than simply anticipate and mitigate the threat, which is impossible with hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. However, it should be noted that there are many commonalities: “all-hazards does not literally mean being prepared for any and all hazards that might manifest themselves in a particular community, state, or nation. What it does mean is that there are things that commonly occur in many kinds of disasters, such as the need for emergency warning or mass evacuation, that can be addressed in a general plan and that that plan can provide the basis for responding to unexpected events” (Waugh 2004 ).

Streamlining the coordinated response of agencies like DHS and FEMA through an all-hazards approach can still be useful given that basic needed responses to major events such as terrorist bombings or biohazards can have considerable organizational overlap. These responses can include coordinating information-sharing, for example, to ensure effective planning. They can also include sharing training facilities and mutual preparation. Secondly, “it is cheaper to develop and easier to remember a single plan even if one has to wade through annexes to provide guidance for dealing with specific issues” (Waugh 2004). Thirdly, there may be a great deal of overlap in terms of the demanded responses to major disasters, regardless of the cause. Fourthly, one complaint of DHS is that agencies like FEMA that respond with an emergency planning mindset are insufficiently mindful about evidence-gathering — an all-hazards approach can work to circumvent this. Finally, in the future there may be more overlap in terms of both types of agencies given the rise of biological weaponry, attacks upon basic life functions (such as water and food), nuclear facilities, and other aspects of modern life that require a fusion of both emergency planning and homeland security.

References

Gordon, P. (2007, August). The state of emergency management and homeland security.PA

Times, 30(8). Retrieved from http://users.rcn.com/pgordon/homeland/stateofEM.html

Waugh, W. (2004). Terrorism and the all-hazards model. IDS Emergency Management Online

Conference. Retrieved: http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/Waugh%20-%20Terrorism%20and%20Planning.doc.

JOHN RHODES M1D1 Response to original post

You make an interesting point regarding Red Cross neutrality. While this may limit the data that organizations with such policies can provide to governments, at minimum governments must appreciate the supplementary role that NGOs can play to the function of government when dealing with the aftermath of a disaster. Also, by creating positive relationships between the affected victims in a particular population and outside sources, NGOs can act as de facto cultural ‘ambassadors’ between the West and non-Western cultures, thus creating a more peaceful world.

RAYMOND EDWARDS — Response to original post M1D1

I agree that the word ‘homeland’ is often a ‘hot button’ buzzword to draw forth an emotional response from people when they are being urged to step to their nation’s defense. That is clearly why the appellation ‘Department of Homeland Security’ was chosen in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to label the nascent agency that eventually became the DHS. The name itself is thus somewhat controversial and some might argue excessively nationalist in tone. I disagree with your analysis slightly given that I do think the word ‘homeland’ has some of the resonances of motherland and fatherland.

BRYAN MURPHY M1D1

As terrible as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were, they at least spurred law enforcement agencies to more effectively coordinate their resources and share information, one of the most positive effects of the DHS and HSE. Integration is an essential function of making law enforcement more effective: sharing information rather than fighting over bureaucratic territory amongst law enforcement agencies makes everyone safer. Similarly, the National Response Framework (NRF) has created an ‘all hazards’ response which streamlines training, standard operating procedures, and makes more effective use of scarce organizational resources.

DEREK BURRILL

The effectiveness of HSE demonstrates that it is not enough to merely have information: agencies must be aware of how to use that data in an intelligent manner. Bringing together diverse approaches under the HSE umbrella maximizes use of the existing resources of knowledge to create a more secure United States. Through consistently working and training together, agencies now have planned responses to threats, versus chaotic and confused reactions to when threats present themselves and agencies are forced to work together when a disaster has already occurred. Every person, even an ordinary citizen, can have access to critical information. In some instances, serious plots against the U.S. have been revealed by lower-level law enforcement or civilians.

RAYMOND EDWARDS — Response to original post M1D2

A great point about how the beginnings of the homeland security movement came about at the same time the community policing era was ending. However, the two can be complimentary. Working with members of the community located in mosques or other areas in which terrorists of various ethnic groups and nationalities might try to organize can be very valuable. Rather than ‘profiling’ and additional, aggressive vigilance, promoting a positive face of law enforcement can be a valuable source of information and also hopefully diffuse tensions which act as an impetus to radicalization.

LAWRENCE THOMAS M1D2

Perhaps the greatest barrier to an ‘all-hazards’ approach is cultural: it is very difficult for entrenched bureaucratic agencies such as FEMA and DHS to change their approach to emergency management and law enforcement. However, the considerable overlap in responses to such events suggests that efforts to create a common culture and language are worthwhile. Although the ‘all hazards’ concept is difficult to define at present, as agencies work together a common philosophy will become more easily articulated.…

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