Intelligence in Homeland Security

Topics: Terrorism, Al-Qaeda, September 11 attacks Pages: 6 (2210 words) Published: December 9, 2012
1. Can terrorism be predicted? (If so, how/ to what extent? If not, why not/what are the limitations?)  
Paul Pillar argues in Terrorism and American Foreign Policy, "that the war against terrorism will not be won outright, it can only be managed. It is more like the Cold War than war in a traditional sense; it will require a patient and persistent effort. Nor will the war on terrorism conclude with a clear victory. Terrorist acts, rare events by definition, cannot be predicted. Increasingly, they seem to depend on sudden, extemporaneous decisions of single individuals or small teams. Because terrorism is a product of complex forces, forecasting it is specious. What we can predict is that terrorism will endure." [1] Pillar is correct in his argument but of course the intelligence community can mitigate many factors to at least make it more difficult for terrorists to attack. Since terrorism cannot be predicted, the goal should be to anticipate future attacks. Anticipation sounds futile in certain contexts yet it should be viewed as being prepared and having an appropriate response. Indeed, "while prediction for the future is a non-starter, we should be able to anticipate the nature of upcoming problems so hopefully leaders and decision makers can be prepared to react intelligently when a crisis arises." [2] After reading so much after 9/11 and how we might, which I think is a gross exaggeration, prevented it, the clearer it becomes that with anticipation comes planning, then a strategy and then response. Having a response like Thailand has done to prepare people in the event of a tsunami seems a key ingredient yet does not sound reassuring to voters, hence Congress who is controlling the purse strings. "Judging our "success" will depend to a large extent upon what we identify and set as our homeland security goals. As a Nation we are unlikely to definitively "win the war against terrorism" since terrorist threats are subject to constant change, resources are finite, and it is simply impossible to be 100 percent secure in such an environment. Nor could our Nation definitively say that we are "doing enough for homeland security," since although much progress has been made, much more needs to be done, and like many of our Nation's complex issues, always more could be done." [3] As Randall Yim states, most people believe that just being better prepared is an inadequate response. As is the case with home security, having a good lock, renters' insurance and possibly a security system like ADP does not necessarily guarantee that your house will never be robbed. "Thus success for homeland security may be better measured in terms of continual progress towards becoming better prepared. And since homeland security relies upon the coordinated actions of federal, state, local and private sectors, and in many cases upon "layers" of defenses, progress must be measured across numerous dimensions." [4] Since we are limited by budget limitations and finite resources, how can we become even better prepared in regards to homeland security? As asked in the preceding question, we must work out a plan to sustain intelligence efforts within the security area. There needs to be a balance of priorities now where there is a determination on where prevention of terrorism ranks along with education security and economic security for example. Homeland Security needs to be integrated and flow from federal agencies to local municipalities to work effectively. Gutting state and local government budgets and laying off police and firefighters is not a response that helps. Accountability for every agency needs to be more transparent as well. This will help determine a fairer allocation of resources. The Department of Homeland Security has stated that "federal agencies, state and local governments, and the private sector are looking for guidance on how to better coordinate their missions and more effectively contribute to a comprehensive homeland security...
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