Future of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security has been put to task to increasingly offer vigilant services to the nation, in the wake of continued aggression against the US and our allies. The risks of attack by terror groups on the American soil has never been so potent and our resources are now concentrated for the sake of averting such threats on home soil (Zarate 2009). To this end, our leadership has been tremendously awake to the task ahead and the input made towards this course from all our leaders is commendable. It is perhaps important to trace the origin of the level of homeland security threats originating from terrorist activities both outside and inside the American boundaries. The level of the threat potency has increased significantly from 2010 since the coalition forces completed their mandate to actively purse terrorist organizations from their hideouts in the Middle East. A brief timeline of acceleration of the threat can be traced as follows.
Changes in the Overseas Situation
Eight years ago, the Al Qaeda was regrouping and changing strategies to sustain their aggression against the United States and our allies. The volatility of the region from the apparent vacuum left by our defense forces created a virtual proliferation condition for the various sects associated with the illegal group. Some of the most affected areas include Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of North Africa. Despite spirited efforts of the coalition forces to equip and empower the local security agencies in Afghanistan, there were many loopholes in coordination of the program (DHS 4). Lack of a powerful political willingness to denounce illegal groups has been a chronic challenge to international peace in the region and the whole of Middle East. Sympathizers of the illegal groupings in the region have exposed the government to lack of the necessary support. In view of the lack of cooperation to enable the political leadership to avert potential proliferation of terrorist organizations, the weaknesses of the government after the withdrawal of our defense forces were further exposed. The general willingness levels of the religious leaders in the region to assist political leadership in averting extremist ideologies was also lacking in the wake of removal of our direct military support.
Just before the completion of the withdrawal of our defense and coalition forces from active operations in the Afghanistan, the nature of attacks had changed to target airline safety. Spirited international intelligence cooperation identified the new trends of attacks such as 7th of April 2012 successfully thwarted attack on a Yemeni airplane destined to the USA in nature of a non-metallic improvised explosive device. Earlier on, a Nigerian national had been apprehended for attempting to execute a terrorist attack using an underwear bomb. Since then, it clearly emerged that the nature of future threats would be targeting execution of terrorist activities inside the US.
Homeland Security Changes
The legal mechanisms proposed and enacted prior to the 2010s for purposes of elimination of the terrorist threat faced a lot of public resentment on claims of infringement of private rights. Following close cooperation by the Department of Homeland Security and all American leadership, the number of laws in support of homeland security measures against terrorist attacks on American soil significantly increased since the trend was evident. Before a successful civil campaign to rally support for unpopular homeland security laws such as SAFETY Act of 2002, several hurdles were to be overcome. The success of the campaign however was late in the day before the 2018 terrorist attack in Los Angeles where Al Qaeda used the loopholes in our civilian cooperation (Picarelli para.2). The government continues to urge the various human rights groups to offer the appropriate support and advice to civilians with regard to the safety mechanisms requiring their cooperation.
Two years after the Los Angeles attack, the Department of Homeland Security has made several comprehensive interventions in terms of handling risks and threats posed by terrorist groups. In view of the specific steps that the government has taken, airline security mechanisms that suddenly rose to unprecedented compromise levels have experienced dramatic changes. Cooperation at the international level has been increased to facilitate a network of intelligence sharing and capacity building has significantly been improved. Whereas homeland security issues fall within our internal issues for us to handle, the external threat and potential risks involved puts the government of the US to rally all resources within and outside our country (Hoffman 133). In this regard, the capacity enhancement of our homeland security mechanisms goes beyond our borders and is the reason why continued cooperation with our international allies forms the basis of our success in warding off danger. America will continue to be safe at home and our people will continue to be safe outside home when we formulate appropriate cooperation as seen from the Los Angeles attack to this day.
The use of technology in nearly every section of life never thought before makes it possible for our homeland security interventions to be modernized and better than they were yesterday. However, the advancement of technological capacity also raises expertise for terrorist activities and we cannot be lenient for a second against such attacks. To this end, anti-terrorism laws covering cyber attacks and other online threats to our national security form part of our spirited fight against attacks of this nature (Kaplan para.1). On the preparedness and resilience that our national security systems have acquired against a backdrop of all sorts of terrorist attacks, I take this opportunity to report to the people of the United States about a serious cyber attack on the Department of Defense. On 17 January 2020, there was a hack attack attempt on the Department of Defense database, which was successfully countered. The best part of our continued growth in strength to protect our people in regard to this scare is that our online security agents not only identified the source of the threat but also apprehended the masterminds notoriously known as the Anonymous Hackers. The success that we have acquired to this end in termination of other related threats posed by hack networks promises to be one of the best success stories in our homeland security (Katz and Kern para.3). In the near future, the government shall be making official statements on the nature and extent of threats that the cyber crime and terrorism attacks posed to our homeland security and further issue specific successes and future expectations.
Incident management within our country is a fundamental mandate of our homeland security agencies. Disaster response as well as critical infrastructure to assist in rescue has been facilitated across the nation and world-class services of this category are now available in all our major cities. In view of the protection of our critical facilities and infrastructure against terrorist attacks, measures have been taken to ensure that terrorism has no clear targets. These measures not only improve our internal capacity to ward off danger but also act as deterrent to possible attacks from our enemies. Apart from enhanced interoperable communications that improve our emergency response mechanisms, the Department of Homeland Security continues to create networking and cooperation capacity among all government agencies (Hoffman, B. & Sageman 166). The United States Secret Service is a vital body offering protection to our national leaders including the President and Vice President and continues to offer special service to the American public in more ways than it did before. In redefinition of the expertise of our esteemed agencies towards a common threat proves to be an important decision by our government and America can rest assured of competent protection against aggression from any source.
DHS “Report of the Future of Terrorism Task Force,” 2007, Web. HYPERLINK “http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hsac-future-terrorism-010107.pdf” http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/hsac-future-terrorism-010107.pdf (Accessed 10 May 2012)
Hoffman, B. & Sageman, M., “Does Osama Still Call the Shots? Debating the Containment of al Qaeda’s Leadership,” Foreign Affairs 87(2008): 163-166
Hoffman, B., “The Myth of Grass-Roots Terrorism: Why Osama bin Laden Still Matters,” Foreign Affairs, 87(2008): 133-138
Kaplan, Eben “Terrorists and the Internet,” 2009, Web. HYPERLINK “http://www.cfr.org/terrorism-and-technology/terrorists-internet/p10005” http://www.cfr.org/terrorism-and-technology/terrorists-internet/p10005 (Accessed 10 May 2012)
Katz, Rita. & Kern, Michael. “WashPost: Terrorist 007, Exposed,” 26 March 2006, Web. HYPERLINK “http://www.cfr.org/terrorism-and-technology/washpost-terrorist-007-exposed/p10836” http://www.cfr.org/terrorism-and-technology/washpost-terrorist-007-exposed/p10836 (Accessed 10 May 2012)
Picarelli, T. John “The Future of Terrorism,” NIJ Journal, 264(2009)
Zarate, C. Juan, “Current and Future Terror Threats and Challenges Facing the United States,” 1 March 2009, Web. HYPERLINK “http://csis.org/event/current-and-future-terror-threats-and-challenges-facing-united-states” http://csis.org/event/current-and-future-terror-threats-and-challenges-facing-united-states (Accessed 10 March 2012)