Running head: POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
This essay will look at the operations of the homeland security management system with respect to policies which have instituted to fight terrorism. The essay discusses these policies in the perspective of Al Qaeda: a terrorist group which has been quite consistent in attempting to carry out terrorism within the U.S. The paper starts by showing the mechanism of operation of the Homeland security management system which operates through four phases purposely to ensure that effectiveness is achieved. This makes it a highly dynamic body with an ability to make multiple changes in an attempt eliminate terrorism activities. The paper will proceed to discuss a sample of the policies which have already been instituted. Keen attention will be given to show how effective the policies are with respect to terrorism groups in this case the Al Qaeda. The paper will make some recommendation followed by the conclusion.
The U.S. faces threats from the terrorism world. Bush call these threats "complex and dynamic." He believes that the best way to face these threats is by understanding them. The author writes about successive concerted worldwide efforts which were manifested after the September 11 attacks on the American soil. However he is quick to add that a new challenge faced is that these groups are continuously evolving and coming up with new ways of attacking and inflicting pain. The author particularly associates the al Qaeda group with the new creative ways of carrying out terrorism activities: "the most serious and dangerous manifestation of this threat remains al-Qaida, which is driven by an undiminished strategic intent to attack our homeland" (Bush, p. 17). Understanding the operations of this group is core to ensure the success of the war on terrorism posed by the al Qaida group. In the light of this information the Homeland Security management System has come up with strategy of ensuring that it is dynamic enough to meet the challenges of this group.
The Homeland Security Management System
The Homeland Security Management System has an objective of strengthening the foundations of a prepared nation. It seeks to prepare and strength the U.S. in preparation for any attempt on the homeland soil. This is been achieved through the institutionalization of a comprehensive system that incorporates all the stakeholders. The policy includes all the relevant departments and agencies. According to the Homeland Security Presidential Directive -8 which was issued in 2003 the homeland security should focus on the National Preparedness Guidelines (NPG). In order to ensure that all the stakeholders are being effective in the fight against terrorism a new Homeland Security Management System has been put in place. The new management involves four phases which are aimed at continually and mutually reinforcing a cycle of activity (Bush, 2007).
This is the first phase and encompasses the overarching homeland security guidance. This phase is meant to ensure that all the directives are duly followed in a clarified manner to ensure that there is effectiveness in the fight against terrorism. This will involve at times the training of the stakeholders at times (Bush, 2007).
Planning is the second phase. This is aimed to making the homeland management system a dynamic system that is quite effective in executing its plans. At this the directives are to be translated into a way that will make the execution of the policies a possible process. All the stakeholders will be informed on the planning issues (Bush, 2007).
The third phase involves the execution of the plans which were strategized to thwart strike attempts. This can be in form of an actual occurrence or in the form of an exercise prepared in order to prepare the stakeholder on how to respond in case of a similar event (Bush, 2007).
Assessment and evaluation
This is the forth phase and involves a continuous assessment and evaluation of exercises and operations. This stage is meant measure the effectiveness of the plans with respect to response given to a testing exercise or an actual occurrence which might have taken place (Bush, 2007). This therefore means that the homeland security management system is a dynamic project which keeps on changing with respect to changes and dynamism manifested by terrorism.
The U.S. Policy on Fighting Terrorism
The U.S. policy on fighting terrorism is by preventing and disrupting terrorist attacks. This is been effected through so many strategies which are being planned and implemented with a special attention being given to the dynamism portrayed by the terrorist groups in particular the al Qaida. According to Bush (2007) the al Qaida group is still strong and at work, "the group has protected its top leadership, replenished operational lieutenants, and regenerated a safe haven in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas- core capabilities that would help facilitate another attack on the homeland" (Bush p. 9).
Prevent and Disrupt Terrorist Attacks
In the fight against terrorism, the U.S. government has made attempts terrorism at all costs. There are various tools and strategies which are being implemented to ensure that such group as the al Qaida is disbanded. In order to accomplish this the U.S. is doing its best to ensure that the weapons of mass destruction do not reach rogue states, the government is also ensuring that the terrorists are denied support in the rogue states. There are intentional actions which have been undertaken by the government to ensure that the terrorist groups do not get to control any nation which they can use as their launching pads for attack on the U.S. (Bush 2007).
To ensure that the terrorist groups the main being the al Qaida group are disrupted and prevented from disrupted the following have been implemented:
Country Entry Restriction
The U.S. government has purposed to prevent and deny terrorist from entering the homeland. This restriction equally applies to the terrorist groups and any materials which are terror related. By restricting the ability of the terrorists groups to travel across the nations and in particular within the borders of the U.S. it will become quite hard for them to carry out terrorist plans. Their ability to identify, survey, plan and launch attacks are severely impeded. This is been accomplished through three strategies:
- National strategy to combat terrorist travel
- National strategy for maritime security
- National strategy for aviation security
There are strengthened travel and document security at the points of entry to the country. Information is being shared at the international levels to purposely enhance visitor screening cargo to the United States. The U.S. government is doing its best to ensure that the travelling procedures are not compromised. Bush (2007) note that the terrorists are quite dynamic and good at exploiting the illicit means to circumvent the border of the United States of America. He believes that the it is possible to maintain reliable and efficient flow of people, services and goods at the same time prevent the infiltration of the terrorists into the homeland (Bush 2007).
Prevention of exploitation of the legitimate pathways by the terrorists is been carried out by the use of sophisticated gadgets especially at the points of entry. To ensure the effectiveness of these objectives there have been continued hiring, training and deployment of additional border patrols agents. Equally increased in numbers are the customs and border officers as well as the officers who man the immigration and custom offices. Employers are being taken to task to ensure that all their employers have got valid identification. To ensure that the terrorist do not sneak in and obtain jobs as immigrants, the government has been expanding the use of electronic employment eligibility verification system to help the employers identify people who are illegally in America and thus deny them employment opportunities (Bush 2007).
In the same spirit the government has stepped up the measures to verify the status of those students who are the beneficiaries of SEVIS (student and exchange visitor information system). The measures include taking into account any violations or oversight which might have been made. All these measures are meant to ensure that incase there are people within the borders of the U.S. then they will be incapacitated: through lacking employment and any other means of livelihood (Bush 2007).
It should be noted that will be quite effective in curtailing the activities of al Qaida. This is because the group does not proceed as an army but works in decentralized manner with isolated groups which are coordinated. That means that the terrorists can even operate and execute their attacks single handedly hence the need for the government to be thorough to the levels of individuals. Another factor which needs to be considered is that a terrorist will take the minimum possible time strike and he/she does not need to have a job to carry out his missions as he is likely to be sponsored by the group. This means that a terrorist might even pose as a tourist who is not coming to get a job but coming for a holiday. To counter such moves the government instituted the REAL ID Act (Bush 2007).
The REAL ID Act is a form of additional measures which are taken by the government to check the integrity of the document used for entry into the country. There has been enhancement of international security measures through such means as use of biometrics. The biometrics system makes it hard for the forging of the travelling documents to be easily detected. Other measures which are taken to ensure faking of document is not possible include the use of Visa Waiver Program (VWP), the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), the US-VISIT and the secure flights (Bush 2007).
Apart from taking care of the people, the cargoes have to be screened to avoid smuggling of tools of terror. There are various types of materials which can be used to carry out terrorism including weapons of mass destruction. The biggest fear has been a possibility of a nuclear and radiological material smuggle in the homeland. This has led to the development of advanced methods of screening cargoes at the points of entry. Some of the measures which have been taken to ensure that the screening of cargo is done effectively include:
The Container Security Initiative: This provides for the creation of a security regime to evaluate and prescreen maritime containers. This is done before they are shipped from the country of origin. The process makes use of automated targeting tools which ensures that high risk cargo has to be scanned first before shipment takes place.
The Customs Trade Partnership against Terrorism (C-TPAT): This is a voluntary U.S. customs and border protection program. Under the program the participating businesses undergo review of the security procedures and come up with enhanced tight security measures for the purpose of ship expediting.
Megaports initiative: this program is under the department of energy. Under this program the government of US makes collaboration with foreign countries to help them increase the potential to scan cargo specifically for nuclear materials. The scanning also includes other radiological materials. This is usually carried out at major international seaports.
The secure freight initiative: this is a comprehensive model which seeks to enhance secure delivery of cargoes. The objective is to keep legitimate trade flowing. The model ensures that there is leveraging of shipper information, trade partnership and the government (host) partnership to scan cargoes which are headed to the United States.
The measures above are quite appropriate in curbing attempts which might be aimed at smuggling weapons and tools of terrorism into United States.
Incapacitating the Terrorist Networks
The United States of America is leading the world in carrying out the war against the terrorists' networks. The federal government and its allies are making attempts to deny the terrorists what they require to survive and operate overseas. The United States aims to uncover the terrorists' hideouts away from the homeland. To achieve this, the government has made efforts to understand the trends, actions and events that take place on the land air, space and maritime. This calls for the understanding of the daily occurrence of the activities. With such knowledge it becomes quite easy to identify any anomaly in the occurrence of events which could be indications of terrorist activities. This is made possible by the use of Intelligence led policing (Bush 2007).
Is it possible to disrupt the al Qaeda?
It should be noted that as much as Intelligence led policing might be good strategy to understanding anomaly occurrences in the society; it might at times be quite effective in curbing the spread of terrorism. The reason for this stand is because of the dynamism displayed by the members of the al Qaida. It should be appreciated that there is a likelihood of an occurrence of a new breed of terrorists who are out to wage war on the homeland. The new breeds are intelligent people who are learned and who can easily avoid being detected by the security and intelligence system. The new should not be taken for granted because they are people who probably have an understanding of the security system. Furthermore it is a simple that the terrorists' can strike individually for this it will quite hard for the authorities to detect an anomaly behavior of an individual among a crowd. These are just some of the challenges which are being faced by the government.
Still there are further worries about the ease with which some of the weapons can be devised. If we take the example of the improvised explosive devices (IED) the same which were disrupted in the 2006 U.K based plot to blow up some commercial airline (Bush p. 20). The terrorist do not have to bother carrying around these weapons as they ca n be easily devised in the homeland. Is not possible to devise such weapons from the homeland hotels rooms? To answer that consider what Bush (2007) writes concerning their devising, "given the ready availability of IED components and the relative technological ease with which they can be fashioned" (Bush p. 20).
Are the arguments above meant to demean the efforts being out forth by the homeland security measures? The answer is no. The arguments above are meant, in fact, to strengthen the home land security system.