Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 30, 2014

Friday Free Forum

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Arnold Bogis on May 30, 2014

The National Academies Press recently sent around a newletter that collected much of their recent work on preparedness and resilience.

We’re halfway through Hurricane Preparedness Week, but how prepared are we really? We’ve pulled together a dozen of our reports on disaster preparedness to evaluate how ready we are for hurricanes and other disasters, and what we can do to improve our response and resilience.

There is a lot of good stuff – Crisis Standards of Care, children in disasters, alerts and social media, community disaster resilience, flood maps, etc. You have the option to buy a hardcopy or download free pdf copies.

You can read it online here.

(Thanks to Bill Cumming for sharing this link.)

What’s on your mind related to homeland security?

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Comment by William R. Cumming

May 30, 2014 @ 8:28 am

NAS has links back to the Civil War in early 1860’s when President Lincoln wanted the North’s scientific and engineering talent mustered for the war effort!

Lincoln was a reader from childhood. Theodore Roosevelt not only read but wrote over 45 books and spoke and read several languages fluently including German.

How does reading books and speaking other languages correlate to Presidential performance and HS?

If you wanted to make sure our President read one book on HS what would that book be?

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 30, 2014 @ 8:33 am

The MIPT [Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism]founded in Oklahoma after the Murrah Building bombing in 1995 [hard to believe 20 years ago next year] was one of many organizations that gobbled up federal resources after its establishment [between $12-16M annually for a number of years.

Can anyone tell me if that organization is still active and if so what it does and is it still collecting documents and studies on terrorism?

Comment by John Comiskey

May 30, 2014 @ 4:10 pm


RE: If you wanted to make sure our President read one book on HS what would that book be?

I thought about your question and do not have one answer.

Rather than list about 10 books, I have noted the question to include in my current research.

I will get back to you on this.

Comment by Frank Gorman

May 30, 2014 @ 4:34 pm

As summer fast approaches, I am concerned that violent homegrown extremists may take a play from the Islamic terrorists that are currently wreaking havoc in Western China. Twice in the past two months, Muslim radicals have perpetrated deadly attacks in places of public accommodation, a public transit hub, and an open air market. If these attacks are possible in a Communist society that is not open as ours is, we are deeply vulnerable. The further away we get from 9/11, the more complacent we have become as a society.
Summer provides many opportunities for terrorists to conduct similar low budget, deadly attacks at transit hubs full of beach goers, amusement parks, baseball stadiums, outdoor concerts, etc. Major cities, such as New York, use roving teams of heavily armed police (Hercules Teams) as a deterrent to such terrorist attacks. I believe it imperative that similar tactics be implemented at venues throughout the nation. As many smaller towns or transit agencies may not have the manpower to conduct such operations, interagency cooperation will have to play a key role. For example, state or county police forces could rove areas such as beaches, major and minor league baseball venues, amusement parks, fireworks displays, and transit hubs.
While an increased police presence may not deter suicide terrorists, it will deter those that may not be suicide bombers. Further, an increased presence of trained law enforcement personnel may detect and interdict suicide bombers before they can execute their missions. While we enjoy our summers, please keep your eyes and ears open – homeland security is everyone’s job.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 30, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

Frank Gorman! Violence against innocents never justified IMO! But the PLA and other government forces bulldozing Mosques in Western China and also major demographic changes and government policies favoring internal relocation of Han Chinese to Western China and Tibet.

There are unclassified estimates that over 50,000 Han Chinese per month cross into Eastern Russia [mostly Siberia]! These are not refugees.

If you are on Netflix stream and interesting documentary on Russian Siberia titled THE HAPPY PEOPLE!

Comment by Brian Lozada

May 30, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

With recent reports of the first known American suicide bomber with ties to Al-Qaeda to successfully carry out an attack in Syria, the concern of radicalization is quickly becoming a real threat that continues to rise.

The American, identified as Moner Mohammad Abusalha, grew up in Florida and traveled to Syria late last year. His attack, which took place on Sunday, is believed to be the first suicide attack conducted by an American in Syria. According to The New York Times (2014), law enforcement officials stated that Abusalha was amongst several dozen Americans on the radar because of past trips to Syria. He and the other identified radicals are fighting alongside Islamic militants in opposition of President Bashar al-Assad.

After news of Abusalha’s recent attack, my hope is that the other several dozen individuals are being monitored closely. This event is just one example of how anyone could potentially become a radical with no prior warning signals, which makes it that much more difficult to both identify and prevent future radical attacks. Countering radicalization is challenging but an important task and should begin with analyzing previous terrorist recruiting and radicalization tactics in an effort to identify trends.

The ability to easily communicate with Islamic extremists has been made possible through the increasing reliance on the Internet and social media as a means to recruit and train the homegrown extremists in the radicalization ideology. Therefore, the homeland security stakeholder community should monitor the Internet and social media sites where the extremists are recruiting, meeting and discussing their attacks. By identifying and monitoring these digital locations, the homeland security community will be able to possibly deter such attacks from occurring and become informed of any future plots. Though controversial, challenging, costly and resource intensive, both in human and financial capital, monitoring Internet communication is a necessary approach to addressing radicalization in the digital age.

For more information about Abusalha’s attack, see the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/31/world/middleeast/american-suicide-bomber-in-syria.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0

Comment by Arnold Bogis

May 31, 2014 @ 1:23 am

Bill, the one HS-related book I’d like President Obama to read is Graham Allison’s “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.”

Oh, wait. He already has…(http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-19617419/)
“The tour bus chugged across a winding, rutted highway toward a nuclear weapons destruction site outside the Russian city of Perm. Obama was engrossed in the new book by Graham Allison, “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.” He barely looked up as a barren soccer field, toppled statues of Soviet icons and closed factories passed by the tinted window.

When a Russian security official boarded the bus and began reading a roll call of the American visitors, Obama put the book aside.”

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2014 @ 2:04 am

Thanks Arnold and Brian!

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2014 @ 2:19 am

Speaking of the Graham Allison book note this authority vested in the Administrator of FEMA by the Robert T. Stafford Act:

“The Administrator may procure and maintain under this subsection radiological, chemical, bacteriological, and biological agent monitoring and decontamination devices and distribute such devices by loan or grant to the States for emergency preparedness purposes, under such terms and conditions as the Administrator shall prescribe.”

Would you be surprised to learn that not only has Administrator Fugate not used this authority, nor has any other FEMA Administrator, but none have been briefed on this authority?

Perhaps President Obama should send over several copies of Mr. Allison’s book to FEMA.

Comment by William R. Cumming

May 31, 2014 @ 2:23 am

Reference the prior comment–the authority referenced could easily be cross delegated to all other departments and agencies since authority for that cross delegation also is in the Robert T. Stafford Act.

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