The issue of homeland security has taken centre stage ever since the 9\11 terrorist attack. Various planning models have been presented on the approaches of handling homeland security. The concept of homeland security broad and covers many aspects of all security terrorism issues. As it is today, there is no accepted and precise definition of what is homeland security. However, it can be defined as the measures taken by the state through the existing military forces to prepare, prevent and respond to terrorist attacks on American soil. Homeland security is not just a concept that cropped up after the September 11 attack on US by terrorists. It is an issue enshrined in the constitution. It has a constitutional basis as well as a legal basis. In the preamble of the US constitution, it provides that, (in) order to form a perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic harmony, provide for the common defense, encourage the general safety and secure blessings of liberty to ourselves and individual posterity. This provides a justification for the existence of homeland security. To expand on this provision, article 1 section 8 of the constitution provides the circumstances that can permit the military to be domestically employed. It states that; Congress shall have power (A133) to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union suppress insurrection and repel invasions. Similarly, article IV section 4 provides an expansion on the authority of the congress as it states that; the United states shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican state of government, and shall protect each of them(A133) against domestic attacks.
Indeed, the subject of providing security to the citizens has always been a responsibility of the government, in the process of providing security; the security bodies reduce interference of individual rights and liberties. However, the situation changed at the dawn of September 11, 2001. The attack on the World trade centre and the Pentagon was a wake up call to the security agencies of the nation. It brought people’s awareness on the state of their own security and the real threat to their own lives. The government increased its awareness and preparedness to disasters. With it the term “Homeland Security” was introduced. The department of homeland security was formed through the merging of the United States government agencies in 2003 following the September 11 attack. Since then, significant strides have been made in order to protect the United States from foreign aggression on its own soil.
These strides were captured more aptly in the speech delivered by the then US president George .W Bush in July 2006, from the White House, in, which he stated the security measures that had been taken since September 2001. In his speech, he highlighted the passing of the laws by congress, which gave the security agencies powers to investigate and prosecute terrorists and those who support them. He noted that there are more than 60,000 America troops around the world fighting the war against terrorism. The status of the aviation has been upgraded, and the border security tightened. He also noted that the government had stockpiled medicines to defend against bioterrorism and thus improved the ability to combat weapons of mass destruction. (Bush, 2006)
Consequently, the state of the national security has become a concern of every American citizen, and thus, everyone today is actively or passively involved in ensuring that the state of security is not compromised where they are. However, some of the methods adapted by the government have always raised questions that have split the country when it comes to the best approaches to homeland security. Various strategic planning models on the state of homeland security have been developed in order to find the best approaches to homeland security. In order to find the best approach to the issue of homeland security, a number of factors have to be considered.
Strategic Planning Models
The planning models that are to be adopted in pursuit of homeland security involve a great detail of factors to be considered. The basic concept of homeland security is to ensure that all the citizens of the nation have adequate security. This will imply that not only are the security agencies ready for prevention of occurrences that otherwise threaten the security of the population, but are also prepared on how to respond should such occurrences indeed occur. Therefore, homeland security does not only deal with terrorism and other terrorist activities in the United States of America. Instead, it also stretches to disaster preparedness and emergency responses in times of such disasters by security agencies. Thus, when designing these models, there are many factors that have to be considered, and because of these factors, most strategic planning models tend to focus on some specific areas as seen in some of the models in this paper (The National strategy for homeland security, 2008.
The Transportation Model in Homeland Security
This is a crucial strategic planning model in the efforts of providing security in the country. The transportation sector has taken centre stage precisely because of the planes that were used in the September 11 attack. The US has most of well established modes of transport in the world; virtually every transportation system is connected from one terminal to the other all the way to the border line. These established systems of transport are interconnected and interlinked to the global transportation system. On its borders, the US has two friendly neighbors on the north and south and two oceans on the east and west, these factors, coupled with the fact that all modes of transportation- air, rail, sea and roads connect the US to the rest of the world, makes the provision of security a complicated matter (Joseph, 2008).
When discussing the concept of transport, it is wrong to leave out border line security. The US borderline provides a passage of many illegal immigrants into the country; the border is a source of income of billions of shillings to the government through trade. Many evil-minded individuals have taken advantage of this opportunity to achieve their own selfish ambitions. The concept of globalization has not helped matters either; it has brought with it increased mobility around the world and thus, facilitates the movement of terrorists with much ease. In view of all this, the security agencies have to rethink on the functionality of the established models of homeland security. Increase in trade activities has connected virtually every American citizen to the global transportation system through seas, air, road, railway and pipeline.
With all these new developments in mind, there is a need to develop a strategy that is modeled to respond to the needs of the globalized world, while at the same time not compromising the security of the citizens. The department of homeland security has a single entity that handles all the details and information of whom and what enters in the country through the borders. Whether this single entity is capable of fully monitoring details of goods and people, who come through the borders, remains to be seen. However, there is a need to merge all the security agencies which deal with issues related to borderline. This will include agencies such as the Coast Guard, the U.S Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization service, Animal and plant Health Inspection service and the Transportation security Agency. This will allow the details of individuals who enter the United States through the borders to be dealt with in one branch, thus, eliminating the bureaucracies that come with different agencies handling related issues. This will enable the issuance of American visas to be done at one place (Bush, 2006).
In ensuring homeland security in the transportation sector, tightening of borderline will go along away into helping the situation; however, it may not be all. In 2001, the president signed into law The Aviation and Transportation Security Act. This Act contains many bold provisions that seek not only to ensure aviation security but security to all other forms of transport. However, not much effort has been put towards implementation of this Act. If this Act is implemented fully, security will be enhanced on all forms of transport and thus, enhancing homeland security.
Collection and Use of Intelligence
The collection and use of intelligence gathered by the security agencies is a crucial aspect of homeland security. The attack of September 11 was in large part due to poor models of using intelligence information gathered by all security agencies. It is understood that no particular agency could be able to put one and one together to discover the terrorism attack. An informed security agency is better placed to protect the country, than an agency that is in the dark. It must be understood that terrorists rely on the surprise element to inflict the most pain. Prior to 2001, security agencies were hindered from sharing intelligence information they had through the existence of many administrative policies and statutory prohibitions. This was the main reason why no intelligence information was exchanged prior to the 9\11 attack (Joseph, 2008)
Therefore, the collection and use of intelligence information gathered is a central tenet in the adequate provision of homeland security. Various models can be used in the process of collecting the intelligence; however, there has to be a clear defined system of sharing information. The system has to define the process of gathering the information, what to do with the information gathered and what preventive and protective measures to be taken in light of the information gathered. Without this clearly defined model, there is bound to be a breakdown in communication and very important intelligence gathered by an agency may not be used or analyzed. There are different models that can be used in the collection and use of intelligence information gathered.
The “top-down approach” is the process where the intelligence information gathered, either raw or finished, is passed on downwards, from the federal government, to the state, local and tribal law enforcement entities. These entities, upon receipt of such intelligence, are required to make independent, and conclusive determinations on whether the information received are actionable. Another approach used is the “bottom-up”, which implies that the intelligence information collected is passed on upwards to the higher decisions making organs to decide on the status of such intelligence. Whatever approach taken, it must be remembered that the channels of communication between security agencies must remain open for a proper working model for homeland security (Stan, 2010).
Approach to Homeland Security
A number of approaches have been taken in order to address the flaws of homeland security that led to the attack of September 11. These approaches have been made to rectify the flaws of homeland security, they have been many, but only few have worked to bring home any results. This paper analyses the activity-based approach to homeland security. The activity-based approach encompasses great mass of details and information on every aspect of an individual’s life, and this being a national approach to homeland security; we will look at the activities of every American citizen. According to Ettema and Timmermans, “ activity based approached characteristically refer to all the activities which individuals pursue, the location from which they pursue them, the different times and scheduling of these activities, the mode of transportation they will use, aspects of the institutions in which they belong and their natural characteristics.
In the analysis of the activity-based model, there is a need of understanding comprehensively the behavioral characteristics of individuals within a state. The state has to keep records of activities that each person will engage in and personal characteristics, how they eat, where they eat, destinations they travel, their preferred mode of transport and other factors that can be observed in a person. The importance of the activity-based approach is that it enables the government to be prepared on how to handle disaster situations. Through the observation of people’s characteristics, the state is able to tell the most frequented areas, the most used modes of transport and the likely responses from individuals in times of emergencies. This way the state can offer proper training to security agencies, enabling them to be fully prepared to handle disasters. The activity-based approach takes into account disaster preparedness from an individual’s perspective, emergency responses and reactions.
The world today has indeed changed; the many developments that have been witnessed in the last century have brought with them a lot of good and evil in similar proportions. The state of security has taken a new dimension with technological advancements. Governments can longer seat on the periphery and hope that all will be well. All the measures that seem necessary have to be taken, and the security of the citizen has to be ensured, at least in their own country. The issue of homeland security is therefore, very important, and there is a need to ensure that every activity taken in the interest of homeland security must be aimed at hope of a better country that is safer and secure. This is aptly captured by hart in the following extract; “America will not be truly safe, until we address the various sources of insecurity. Sovereignty is the result of security, and we must create a new understanding of safety in the twenty-first century much as Franklin Roosevelt did in the twentieth century. Security must uphold to the four different forms freedom, which are; the freedom of commons, the freedom of livelihood, the freedom of a sound environment and freedom from fear” (Hart, 2006).