Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 5, 2010

Current homeland security reading

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on October 5, 2010

Here are the abstracts (and links) from current articles in two homeland security-related journals: Homeland Security Affairs and the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management


Homeland Security Affairs

Homeland Insecurity: Thinking About CBRN Terrorism — Albert J Mauroni

This essay examines the threat of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism and specifically what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has done to address this threat. The author suggests that DHS has erred by using DOD planning scenarios and DOD concepts for CBRN defense that are not easily applied to homeland security. The DOD response to support state and local emergency responders is not appropriate for today’s conditions. The author identifies a methodology for reviewing DHS policies and suggests that there are more moderate, sustainable strategies to address the threat of CBRN terrorism.

Natural Security for a Variable and Risk-filled World — Raphael Sagarin

The twenty-first-century faces a range of severe threats to security including conflicts with non-state actors, emerging diseases, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, and climate change. This diverse set of problems would benefit from a common solution framework that can illuminate their root causes and be applied broadly to security analysis and practice. One such framework is evolutionary biology. 3.5 billion years of biological evolution have led to an enormous variety of security solutions that nonetheless share a key commonality: natural security is adaptable. Organisms in nature achieve adaptability through a decentralized organization where threats are detected and responded to peripherally, by managing uncertainty and turning it to their advantage, and by extending their adaptive capacity through symbiotic partnerships. This essay demonstrates how the basic tenets and many of the specific strategies of natural security systems can be applied to the analysis, planning and practice of security in human society. A case study from the IED attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is used to show how organizational structure, uncertainty, and symbiotic relationships all play a role in both creating and ameliorating security threats.

Homeland Security and Support for Multiculturalism, Assimilation, and Omniculturalism Policies among Americans — Fathali M Moghaddam and James N Breckenridge

Although Americans’ views concerning illegal immigration have garnered enormous media and pundit attention, this article argues that policy preferences concerning legal immigrants with diverse racial and ethnic origins deserve the attention of homeland security professionals. Using a representative probability sample of more than 4,000 Americans, the study presented here found a majority preference for an alternative to assimilation and multiculturalism – two policies emphasized traditionally among academics. The publics’ preferred policy – omniculturalism – cuts across American sociodemographic differences, yet predicts critical variations in the perceived threat of terrorism, the priority of terrorism, confidence in government, and support for aggressive counter-terrorism measures.

More is Better: The Analytic Case for a Robust Suspicious Activity Reports Program — James E Steiner

The U.S. government defines a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) as “official documentation of observed behavior that may be indicative of intelligence gathering or preoperational planning related to terrorism, criminal, or other illicit intention.” The homeland security, law enforcement, and intelligence communities formally recognize the value and usefulness of SAR in identifying, disrupting, and dismantling violent extremist groups. The ACLU and others are concerned over the threat posed to civil liberties by a large SAR program. The U.S. government has worked with the civil liberties community to address such concerns, but there is another, non civil-liberties claim made by these critics that has generated support for limiting the SAR program – namely that a smaller program would be better in terms of program efficiency and effectiveness. In other words, these civil rights advocates and organizations are now evaluating the analytic merits of intelligence officers having more or less data available to do their job. This article acknowledges the progress made in protecting civil rights, but rejects categorically the call to reduce or limit the size of the SAR program. The article presents two analytic requirements for the collection of more rather than less information through the SAR process to increase the probability of identifying pre-operational terrorist activity and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of critical infrastructure protection regimes. In statistical analysis, more information is better.

Threat-based Response Patterns for Emergency Services: Developing Operational Plans, Policies, Leadership, and Procedures for a Terrorist Environment — Robert T Mahoney

Emergency services are in the front lines of responding to terrorism and are directly threatened. Current response patterns are based on routine emergencies and insufficient to meet new WMD threats. These departments must ensure security of their personnel, critical assets, re-define allocation of resources, prepare for crisis leadership, and develop training methods and response patterns for this threat. This requires a series of related steps starting with a comprehensive risk assessment. Using the knowledge gained in this assessment informs the successive steps, and overcomes traditional, parochial approaches to developing new response patterns. Planners, trainers, and command personnel must develop these new patterns. All emergency personnel must understand, be trained, and be prepared to operate in both routine and crisis status that are different, because a terrorist crisis condition is different from the daily, routine condition.

Building Resilient Communities: A Preliminary Framework for Assessment — Patricia H Longstaff, Nicholas J Armstrong, Keli Perrin, Whitney May Parker and Matthew A Hidek

There is a growing need in the fields of homeland security and disaster management for a comprehensive, yet useful approach to building resilient communities. This article moves beyond the ongoing debate over definitions and presents a preliminary framework for assessing community resilience. Pulling from an interdisciplinary body of theoretical and policy-oriented literature, the authors provide a definition of resilience and develop a theory of community resilience as a function of resource robustness and adaptive capacity. Moving forward, the article develops the groundwork for further operationalization of resilience attributes according to five key community subsystems: ecological, economic, physical infrastructure, civil society, and governance. Through the examination of each community subsystem, a preliminary, community-based, resilience assessment framework is provided for continued development and refinement. When fully developed, the framework will serve as tool for guiding planning and allocating resources.

Organizational Innovations in Counterterrorism: Lessons for Cyber-security, Human Trafficking, and Other Complex National Missions — Daniel R Langberg

Today’s national security environment demands whole-of-government approaches to complex national missions ranging from combating terrorism and trafficking in persons to securing cyberspace. These and many other twenty-first-century security challenges require an agile and integrated response; however, our national security system is organized along functional lines (diplomatic, military, intelligence, law enforcement, etc.) with weak coordinating mechanisms across these functions. Recent reforms in the U.S. government counterterrorism community offer valuable insights into this challenge as well as organizational lessons that can be applied to other complex national security missions. Specifically, the Directorate of Strategic Operational Planning (DSOP) within the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) provides an innovative and promising model for a national level interagency team that can support the National Security Staff in strategically managing a priority mission from a whole-of-government perspective.


Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

A Review of Nurses in Disaster Preparedness and Response: Military and Civilian Collaboration; Felecia Rivers, C. R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Susan Speraw, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Kenneth D. Phillips, University of Tennessee – Knoxville Jan Lee, University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Every year the world experiences numerous disaster events, both human-made and naturally occurring. These calamitous occurrences are of concern to health care providers for many reasons, not the least of which the reality that their incidence is increasing. Mounting event frequency and magnitude, coupled with increasing world population, results in human impacts that are devastating. Frequently these events call for the deployment of military force, to restore order and secure devastated neighborhoods, or to provide other forms of aid, including healthcare. These military forces often work in concert with community-based, civilian volunteers who participate in disaster response as part of non-governmental agencies. Thus, for health professionals both civilian and military, disaster events are of great concern. This review of the literature provides an overview of disaster studies and anecdotal articles that reveal some of the difficulties and lessons learned over time and recommend research topics for future studies.

Politics or Risks? An Analysis of Homeland Security Grant Allocations to the States; Stacia Gilliard-Matthews, West Virginia University and Anne L. Schneider, Arizona State University

In the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the nation’s elected officials created the USA Patriot Act. The act included a grant program for the 50 states that was intended to assist them with homeland security and preparedness efforts. However, not long after its passage, critics charged the Department of Homeland Security with allocating the grant funds on the basis of “politics” rather than “risk.” This study analyzes the allocation of funds through all seven of the grant subprograms for the years 2003 through 2006. Conducting a linear regression analysis for each year, our research indicates that the total per capita amounts are inversely related to risk factors but are not related at all to partisan political factors between 2003-2005. In 2006, Congress changed the formula with the intention of increasing the relationship between allocations and risk. However, our findings reveal that this change did not produce the intended effect and the allocations were still negatively related to risk and unrelated to partisan politics.

Understanding the Dynamics of Emergency Communication: Propositions for a Four-Channel Model; Laura E. Pechta, Wayne State University; Dale C. Brandenburg, Wayne State University; Matthew W. Seeger, Wayne State University

Researchers from a variety of fields have demonstrated the importance of communication in the management of emergencies. In fact, communication is arguably a core function that, if practiced effectively, can significantly enhance preparedness, improve coordination and cooperation, empower the public, facilitate logistics, reduce public anxiety and generally limit and mitigate harm. Much of this research on emergency communication, however, fails to capture the complex elements of the communication process, including the multiple stakeholders involved, the complex interactions between agencies, the diverse needs of various publics and the evolving role of the mass media and new communication technologies including social networks. While emergency management approaches typically view communication as a static, one-way process, current approaches emphasize the dynamic features of communication.

In this work, we seek to characterize the role of the public as participants (via social networking) in the process of emergency communication. In doing so, we draw upon research associated with communication between emergency response agencies on mass media and disasters. A four-channel model of communication is proposed as a way to connect previous research and represent the dynamics of emergency communication taking into account the use of new mobile technologies especially cell phones and internet-based tools. We argue that this model offers a technological enhancement to the use of emergent networks commonly found in the aftermath of large-scale emergencies. We then discuss ways in which the four-channel model could change the characterization of the emergency management communication structure.

Decision Evaluation of Response Strategies in Emergency Management Using Imprecise Assessments; Aron Larsson, Mid Sweden University; Love Ekenberg, Stockholm University; Mats Danielson, Stockholm University

This paper focuses on the decision evaluation of different response strategies in emergency management utilizing decision analysis with imprecise information. A method for the selection of response strategies in emergency management, as well as a model for the representation of catastrophic consequences, are proposed. In emergency management decision problems, the available estimates of probabilities, utilities, costs, and priority weights are often subject to large degrees of uncertainty and imprecision. When uncertainty prevails in the input data and large societal values are at stake, coping with this lack of precision becomes very important in decision making processes. The method employs representation of imprecision in probabilities, utilities, and weights on attributes in the form of interval statements and comparisons together with a formal, comprehensive, and comprehensible description of a catastrophic consequence facilitating the use of preferential statements between catastrophic consequences. The method proposed can be viewed as a more frugal decision analysis method, decreasing the efforts needed in elicitation of input statements which often is a cumbersome threshold for the use of decision analysis techniques. It is suggested as a complement to cost/benefit approaches and other approaches relying on inaccessible probabilistic data either when probability assessments regarding catastrophic events are too uncertain or when pure monetary scales are deemed inadequate.

Towards Shared Situational Awareness and Actionable Knowledge – An Enhanced, Human-Centered Paradigm for Public Health Information System Design; Chiehwen Ed Hsu, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; William Chris Chambers, The University of Maryland School of Public Health; John R. Herbold, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Joshua C. Calcote, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Robert S. Ryczak, US Army; Robert F. DeFraites, US Army

Technology has exerted an increasingly dominant influence on the ways and means that objectives of informatics projects are pursued and has extended the capabilities of informatics systems in general. However, literature examining the importance of human links between situational awareness-related processes and decision-making capabilities remains relatively sparse. Substantial knowledge gaps exist in information system implementation between technology and public health surveillance. The purpose of this article is to present an enhanced conceptual framework, built upon innovative perspectives of a human-centered paradigm of implementation, to enable and enhance human-centric decision-making. To clarify this concept, we employ a case of situational awareness in the setting of a recent command post exercise in order to illustrate core concepts and practices. We divide the framework into methods, tools, and goals to broaden the context of discussion, and conclude with lessons learned from this field operation exercise. The present study could be of value to military commanders, policy leaders, and analysts across multiple disciplines, such as in the public health, counterinsurgency, and bioterrorism surveillance communities.

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October 5, 2010 @ 4:25 am

Lots of stuff here. Another day another dying newspaper. You need less paper, you still need paper, reading Washington Journal? People are out of the loop, holes in budgets and layoffs. It’s rough. It’s still justice.


October 5, 2010 @ 5:53 am

It’s what you remember, not what you read. Words have limits. You can only fit so many on a stone. All governments are run by liars as Izzy said. They have a lot of words. They have regrets. No action is better than bad action and we have lots of bad actors in Washington homeland security bosses. Hell we even have bad homeland security bosses. People with expensive lifestyles want kicked up to. The kick backs from this war are bigger than the last war.

“She was an honors student in speech therapy, and did not take part in any of the demonstrations. She was killed when the bullet struck her in the throat while she was walking to her next class.” http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6438665\
No class no warfare. Study on a beach and avoid camp-us shootings. The lifeguards don’t need guns.


October 5, 2010 @ 6:16 am

I just bought her Key West. Get the kids new swimsuits and don’t forget the Keys. Leave the extra key under the stone around back so the pool guy can get in. Security is tight here. Bring your books and don’t forget the paper.

Comment by Claire B. Rubin

October 5, 2010 @ 6:55 am

Note that both journals are digital; no trees were killed to produce them.

If you decide to print them out, you decide the fate of the trees!


October 5, 2010 @ 7:27 am

Keep your Pusser stick handy and keep killing trees. Time to ride off into the sunset. In God have I put my trust and I will not be afraid of what man can do unto me. Keep walking tall before God among the light of the living. The sun is rising someplace. We’ll keep logging more miles and there’s always another one who’s going to run on you. It’s a war on the road warriors. His truth goes marching on Troops.

Abled died and well.

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November 24, 2017 @ 7:25 pm

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