Notes from the Editor (Vol. I, Iss. 1)

Download the full issue. We are pleased to present the inaugural issue of Homeland Security Affairs. The primary goal of the journal is to be the academic publication that furthers the discussion and debate of important elements that comprise the nation’s homeland security system. Homeland Security Affairs is meant to encourage relevant research and commentary by academics and practitioners and provide an outlet for the growing body of knowledge that addresses the diversity of homeland security issues and challenges. This first issue features articles by the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security and its partners. Future issues will include works from scholars and practitioners from around the country and abroad.

Homeland security as a discipline in the United States emerged out of necessity from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Unlike other professional disciplines which have evolved and matured over decades and in some cases centuries, homeland security is on the fast track. This inaugural issue features articles centered on the relatively new concept of prevention. The country is still discovering what a national prevention strategy needs to entail. Over the past decades, emergency management professionals have continued to develop and refine response plans, systems and capabilities to incorporate lessons learned from natural disasters and events like the Oklahoma Murrah Federal Building bombing and first World trade Center attack. This response framework provided the vehicle and focus for billions of dollars in federal grant funding sent to local and state first responders following 9-11. However, there was no such framework for coordinating and funding “first preventors.”

Over the past four years, local, state, and federal government, private sector and military officials have been asked to assume new prevention roles and responsibilities. We are just now beginning to see prevention best practices emerge at the local and state level. For example, prior to 9-11, intelligence and information sharing organizations were not commonly found in municipal and state agencies. A recent study conducted by the National Governors Association reports that more than a third of the states have or are in the process of establishing intelligence “fusion centers.”

In what will be a regular Homeland Security Affairs column entitled “Changing Homeland Security,” Chris Bellavita examines the challenge of public complacency as the attacks of 9-11 become more distant. Historically, we have learned from natural disasters that the public and politicians are most willing to commit resources and pass legislation in the months immediately following a disaster. The more time that passes after the disaster without a new event occurring, the more likely the urgency and support for increased spending and legislation will diminish.

In a separate article, “What is Preventing Homeland Security,” Chris Bellavita explores why four years after 9-11 the nation’s homeland security system is still designed around response rather than prevention. One reason for this could be that it is difficult to measure successful prevention measures. The public is familiar with response operations which are well covered by the media. But in most cases, prevention happens behind the scenes and is invisible to the public. This makes it difficult to maintain long-term financial and political support. In “Measuring Prevention,” Glen Woodbury repels the argument that prevention is immeasurable.

The security of U.S. borders continues to challenge government officials. Homeland security has caused Americans to look at the issue of border security from a new perspective that goes beyond traditional immigration policies. Robert Bach’s article, “Transforming Border Security: Prevention First,” looks at the fundamental shifts in U.S. border policies required to achieve a true border strategy centered on prevention.

Homeland security is not a single well-defined discipline but rather the integration of several — e.g. law enforcement, public health, fire, agriculture, utilities, military, etc. Individual local, state and federal agencies as well as industry all have a role in homeland security that requires officials to rethink traditional policies, strategies and business models. Jose Docobo’s article, “Community Policing as the Primary Prevention Strategy for Homeland Security at the Local Law Enforcement Level” presents one model for addressing the challenge of terrorism prevention in law enforcement. David Longshore in “American Naval Power and the Prevention of Terrorism” puts forth a military model and examines its relevance to local jurisdiction terrorism planning.

There are countless potential terrorist attack scenarios. Public and private sector leaders recognize that they cannot plan for every type of attack, yet we as a country must be prepared. Thomas Goss recommends one approach to preparedness planning in his article “Building a Contingency Menu: Using Capabilities-Based Planning for Homeland Defense and Homeland Security.” Goss suggests that changing the question “who is the threat?” to “what could the threat do?” will allow exploration of a broader range of eventualities than is encouraged by either threat based or scenario based planning.

Homeland Security Affairs is committed to publishing quarterly issues that contribute to the growing body of knowledge from which homeland security as an academic and professional discipline are evolving. We encourage our readers to further the national discussion on the topics presented. We welcome reader feedback through “letters to the editor” at www.hsaj.org and the submission of articles presenting alternative viewpoints, models and approaches as well as research in new areas.

The editors and staff would like to thank the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Domestic Preparedness for sponsoring the journal. The views expressed in Homeland Security Affairs represent the personal views of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Naval Postgraduate School, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

No Comments

Post a Comment