Notes from the Editor (Vol. III, Iss. 2)

Download the full issue. Welcome to Homeland Security Affairs, Volume III, number 2. In this issue, we are pleased to offer essays and articles from James Delaney, James Burch, and Thomas F. Stinson, Jean Kinsey, Dennis Degeneffe, and Koel Ghosh. These authors take different angles in examining how we prevent and respond to national threats.

The threat of a major pandemic and how we will respond are the focus of James B. Delaney’s essay “The National Disaster Medical System’s Reliance on Civilian-Based Medical Response Teams in a Pandemic is Unsound.” Delaney argues that our strategic response to a pandemic relies too heavily on civilian medical personnel who, due to personal or professional obligations, may be unable or unwilling to assist in a pandemic emergency. A stronger strategic position, Delaney believes, would be for the federal government to enhance state and local public health and medical resources and capabilities. This might include the federal government establishing permanent teams of medical response personnel under a quasi-military structure.

Analyzing our ability to prevent threats, James Burch asks if the United States would benefit from a domestic intelligence agency. In “A Domestic Intelligence Agency for the United States? A Comparative Analysis of Domestic intelligence Agencies and Their Implications for Homeland Security,” Burch addresses the feasibility of such an agency by looking at how domestic intelligence is handled in the United Kingdom, Australia, and India. Through a comparative analysis of four aspects – organization, strategic outlook, information sharing, and oversight – Burch measures the effectiveness of each country’s domestic intelligence and concludes that information sharing and oversight are the principle hurdles to be overcome, both for countries with domestic intelligence agencies and for the United States.

While Delaney and Burch look at the organizational aspects of response and prevention, Thomas Stinson, Jean Kinsey, Dennis Degeneffe, and Koel Ghosh address what is, perhaps, a more fundamental question: how do Americans want the government to address terrorism? Specifically, “How Would Americans Allocate the Anti-Terrorism Budget?” Using data gathered in a national survey of the public’s thoughts about terrorism, the authors find that Americans are more concerned about protecting the food supply system and preventing the release of chemical or biologic agents in congested public areas than about preventing another 9/11-style attack using commercial airplanes. The article suggests that, although decisions on allocating the homeland security budget should not be made on the basis of a public opinion survey, consumers’ concerns should be considered in future budgetary decisions.

In closing, we are pleased to present two new features with this issue: book reviews and letters to the editor. Paul Stockton offers a thoughtful and thought-provoking review of Stephen Flynns’ The Edge of Disaster, referring to it as “a clarion call at an ideal moment.” In a Letter to the Editor, responding to “Expecting the Unexpected”, by W. David Stephenson and Eric Bonabeau, (published in the Volume III, number 1 of Homeland Security Affairs) E. David Hodgins, CEM, British Columbia Fire Commissioner, provides an overview of Canada’s integration of networked response in its Emergency Site Management system.

We welcome your response to these articles, as online comments or in the form of a Letter to the Editor.

The Editors.

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