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Homeland Security Phase Essay

The risk of terrorism has especially been high following the September 11, 2001, round of attacks.  The government and the people do have an inherent fear of terrorism, and the government and taken up many program and policies to counteract terrorism.  The role of public in the way it could help prevent terrorism and reduce the risk is still being assessed.  Besides, the terrorist organizations have also shifted their areas of interest due to several reasons including a stronger stance by the government and the law-enforcing agencies, destruction of several of the terrorist bases and finances, and greater use of terrorists on creating losses in terms of man and money.

Following the 9-11 attacks, the top leadership of several terrorists’ organizations has been weakened.  These organizations have shifted their leadership from a centralized system to a peripheral one.  Although, the chances of coordinated attacks are less, there are increased chances of isolated incidents.  However, these can claim a huge toll in terms of human life.  After the happenings of September 11, the security in several parts of the US has been advanced.  The incoming flights and airports have been thoroughly checked.  As the security levels become more and more harder, the terrorists aim at softer targets (by which people would be completely caught unaware).  These terrorists groups aim at specific targets (such as hotels, places of worship, shopping malls, airports, aircrafts, etc), where the toll on humans is high (Dixon & Reville).

It is important that the risk of a terrorist threat not only be identified, but also develop a plan to manage the risk.  The management of the entire terrorist threat should be done in three steps.  These include: –

1. Identification of the threat and assessment of the initial site/s – The type, nature and the probability of a terrorist attack should closely be assessed.  The intelligence agencies would have some measures in place by which such risks are identified.  They should also consider attacks on well-protected structures.  The law-enforcing agencies should conduct a site assessment of the probable terrorist location to determine the level of protection that is actually present and the extent to which it can be improved.  In this case, as the terrorist group is against capitalism, they would mostly attack a famous business building in the US City.

2. Assessment of the risks – The effects of the terrorist attack on a probable location should be closely assessed.  Some of the common analysis that is conducted includes analysis of explosives and blasts, and threats arising from nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.  Building and structures are closely assessed using the blast and explosive analysis.  The agencies should conduct a detailed analysis of how the building would react to an explosive, and the amount/type of explosives that would be require to completely collapse the building.  Specialized software tools are usually utilized.  Accordingly, the agencies can look out for the presence of such explosive in the building.

3. Management of the risks – This is similar to management of any other disaster such as an earthquake or a tsunami.  The risks have to be management at several periods depending on what intelligence the agencies would be obtaining.  If the intelligence agencies get an idea that at a particular time, a specific building would be attacked, then it would make sure that the building is well protected and that the terrorists are caught.  However, if the intelligence agencies do not get a specific idea, then it would have to increase the security measures in general and accordingly plan for an emergency or a disaster, so as to reduce the causalities.  Efforts should also be on to reduce the financial risks if possible.  Insuring the high-risk areas can do this.  (Gould, 2004),

One of the theories utilized to counteract terrorism is the policy of pre-emption.  According this theory, by acting first, an attack an effectively be prevented.  The law-enforcement agencies should use preventive action against the terrorist in order to prevent a life-taking attack.  Preemptive attacks could be considered as a separate law to launch an attack on the terrorist (Embrey, 2003).


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