Volume XVI Notes from the Editor

The December 2020 Special COVID Issue of Homeland Security Affairs features eleven essays which chronicle agency and jurisdictional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons learned thus far.  The essays focus on how agencies or jurisdictions changed their operations to deal more effectively with the pandemic, as well as how the conditions of the pandemic constrained normal agency operations.

The first two essays deal with COVID-related intelligence failures and a foreign sponsored COVID disinformation campaign at the federal jurisdictional level. In “Warnings Unheeded, Again: What the Intelligence Lessons of 9/11 Tell Us About the Coronavirus Today,” Erik Dahl analyzes the performance of the U.S. Intelligence Community and the international medical intelligence and surveillance system and ascertains that both sets of institutions failed to varying degrees in the run-up to the pandemic.  He concludes with recommendations for how to prevent such pandemic-related intelligence failures in the future. In “COVID-19 Effects and Russian Disinformation Campaigns,” Wesley Moy and Kacper Gradon examine how Russian government entities are weaponizing COVID disinformation to exacerbate existing social cleavages and create social and political unrest in the U.S.   They conclude with a set of recommendations for how to best counter this hybrid warfare campaign.

The next three essays examine specific jurisdictional operational responses to COVID-19 at the state and local level. In “COVID-19: Public Health, Privacy, and Law Enforcement a Precarious Balancing Act,” Christopher Whiting examines the challenges that public safety first responders face in safeguarding protected health information (PHI) when dealing with COVID- infected individuals while on duty.   In “Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Response vs. Homeland Security Frameworks and Research: Masking the Whole Community,” Alexander Siedschlag analyzes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s operational response to the pandemic.  In “The Role of Elected Executives in Pandemic Response: Reflections from Salt Lake County,” David Schuld examines the operational response of a large local jurisdiction to the pandemic.

The next two essays explore broader strategic and operational issues at the federal jurisdictional level. In “Toward a Science-Based Management Approach to Stealth Threats: A Case Study Using the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic Policy and the Logistics of COVID-19 Mass Vaccination,” Thomas Mackin examines the utility of scientific modeling for forecasting slow onset threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In “Pandemic Policy and the Logistics of COVID-19 Mass Vaccination,” Thomas Russo analyzes the challenges associated with creating a mass-vaccination program in the U.S. for COVID-19, and suggests a hybrid public-private model for the U.S. program.

The final four essays examine agency operational responses at the federal and local levels. In “Two Transformations In, USCIS Confronts Further Change in Post-Pandemic Future,” Michael Locke analyzes how USCIS dealt with major pandemic-related disruption to its core mission. In“Wearables: Useful Sentinels of Our Health?” Matthew Austin explores the use of wearable health-monitoring technology to protect Coast Guard personnel from infection during a pandemic.  In “How Should the National Guard Be Employed for The Next National Disaster?” Paul Jara examines legal and doctrinal obstacles to the effective use of the national guard in a pandemic or other similar national emergency.  Finally, in “Public Health Departments Face Formidable Issues During COVID19 Pandemic,” William Pilkington and Deepak Kumar  examine the operational problems that local health departments have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The August 2020 Issue of Homeland Security Affairs features a review of an important book on women in homeland security, an essay examining the need for more adaptable standard operating procedures for first responders, and a research article which evaluates two recent CVE projects.

In the first essay, Beth Windisch reviews “A Woman’s Place: U.S. Counterterrorism Since 9/11” by Joana Cook. In “The Case for Adaptive SOPs in Complex Crises and Unpredictable Operating Environments,” Shawn Harwood and Wayne Porter make the case for more adaptive SOPs for operators in the homeland security enterprise. In “Assessing the Impact of the Boston CVE Pilot Program: A Developmental Evaluation Approach,” Elena Savoia et al. share a developmental evaluation approach that they used to assess CVE projects in Boston.


The April 2020 Issue of Homeland Security Affairs features an essay analyzing trends in European border security, a review of an important book on attribution of cyber-attacks, and a research article which proposes a set of reforms to the way DHS deals with risk.

In “Border Management in Europe: Is the Paradigm Evolving?” Nadav Morag examines changes in European Border Security in the wake of massive refugee flows from Syria and elsewhere. In the second essay, Col. Mark Peters reviews Inside the Enemy’s Computer: Identifying Cyber-Attackers by Clement Guitton. In the third article, Michael Brody explores systemic obstacles to properly accounting for national risk at the Department of Homeland Security, and recommends approaches to overcome those obstacles.

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