Notes from the Editor (Vol. VII)

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December 2011

The articles published in December 2011 look at the future of homeland security and suggest a new method for assessing past effectiveness.

Rapid advances in technology have created a highly disruptive environment for homeland security, empowering small groups or individuals in new and unpredictable ways. Responding to the power of these “few,” argues Rodrigo Nieto-Gómez, requires new organizational approaches. One such approach may be to divide the homeland security enterprise into two distinct missions: the current systemic mission and a separate, disruptive (future shock) mission modeled on the efforts of DARPA.

Yee San Su uses network analysis to develop techniques for assessing effective coordination in response to large-scale disasters. He proposes two techniques for characterizing this coordination, both of which were successfully implemented in a case-study analysis of the Top Officials 4 exercise.

August 2011

In early September, John Mueller and Mark Stewart will publish their new book, Terror, Security, and Money. In advance of that publication, Homeland Security Affairs is pleased to offer our readers Mueller and Stewart’s article, “Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security.”

As we approach the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, the authors examine the cost effectiveness of the more than $1 trillion dollars spent on domestic homeland security over the past decade. A common question with regard to these expenditures is “are we safer?” Mueller and Stewart suggest the question should be “are the gains in security worth the funds expended?” They respond to this question by applying an analytic risk management approach to homeland security spending, using cost-benefit analysis and determinations of acceptable and unacceptable risks. Their findings are summarized in this article and expanded on in their forthcoming book.

June 2011

One article, one essay, and one conference report are added to Homeland Security Affairs this month. We are also pleased to announce the availability of e-reader versions of all articles published since the beginning of 2011, including those published in Supplement 3.

Sharon Caudle argues for a fundamental change in how we approach preparedness in “National Preparedness Requirements: Harnessing Management System Standards.”
The requirements encompassed in the National Preparedness Guidelines should, Caudle believes, be replaced by the application of national or international preparedness standards. She examines the trends that support the adoption of management system standards, suggests ways in which these standards could streamline certain preparedness directives, and identifies the obstacles faced in making this change.

Obstacles of another sort were discussed in the University and Agency Partnership Initiative’s 2010 Continental Security Conference, summarized here in a “Special Report” from Stanley Supinski and others. This event brought together academics and representatives of government organizations from the United States, Canada, and Mexico to discuss common security issues and the ways in which academia can contribute to creating a continental security perspective. Also included in this report are essays from Rodrigo Nieto-Gómez (“What is Continental Security? Avoiding Getting Lost in Translation), David H. Schanzer (“Continental Security — A Skeptic’s View”), and Harold Trinkunas (“What Contributions Can Academics Make to Continental Security?”).

U.S. security, particularly in the face of potential terrorist attacks, is the focus of “Homeland Security in Real-Time: The Power of the Public and Mobile Technology” by Andrew Heighington. He argues for moving beyond commercial broadcast alerts, mobile text messages, and social media sites to broaden the nation’s crisis communication strategy. By incorporating new technologies that allow two-way communication, the government could use the general public to assist in identifying and locating terrorists before they can act.

May 2011

Three new articles have been added to Volume 7 of Homeland Security Affairs.

Steven Hart and James Ramsay survey the resources available
to instructors in “A Guide for Homeland Security Instructors Preparing Physical Critical Infrastructure Protection Courses” and introduce a five-part framework for understanding CIP: policy, networks, level of hazard, level of protection, and system design. This framework, when combined with a variety of traditional and online sources, creates a self-study program instructors can follow to develop sufficient
expertise to teach a first course in physical CIP at the undergraduate or master’s degree level.

Information — of a very different kind — is the focus of “Protecting Sensitive Information: The Virtue of Self Restraint.” Dallas Boyd looks at the abundance of information available in the open literature that could, potentially, be used by terrorists. He argues that greater discipline in the dissemination of sensitive information could be exercised without compromising the scientific openness and the public’s “right to know.” What is needed is for scientists, journalists, and the general public to embrace a policy of self-restraint — as a civic duty — with regards to sensitive information.

Using exercises to improve preparedness is the topic addressed by Brian Jackson and Shawn McKay in “Preparedness Exercises 2.0.” They describe the application of the systems analytical approach adapted from engineering that examines response operations as systems with potential failure modes. The purpose is to focus exercise design more tightly on key potential problem areas to assess what could prevent a response system from responding effectively to a future incident.

Also addressing the subject of preparedness is a letter from Paul Biedrzycki in which he argues that identifying and studying the social determinants of community preparedness and resiliency requires new attention and focus at all levels of government.

February 2011

We are pleased to announce that Homeland Security Affairs is moving to continuous publishing. Future articles will be published as they complete the review process, with all articles in a given year belonging to a single volume. This will, we believe, allow the journal to take full advantage of the flexibility of electronic publishing, making new articles available to our readers throughout the year.

The first articles of 2011 (Volume 7) include essays on the usefulness of the homeland security paradigm, how homeland security might use social networking, and the integration of military forces in disaster response; three case studies on resilience and recovery; and an analysis of how terrorist groups can evolve to gain national power. The breadth of topics addressed by these essays and articles would appear to demonstrate the breadth of the homeland security discipline — and the degree to which homeland security draws on other disciplines to achieve its goals.

In “Changing Homeland Security” Christopher Bellavita asks “In 2010, was Homeland Security useful?” The discipline of homeland security has had nearly ten years to emerge as a competing paradigm for organizing the nation’s security. But other — previously established disciplines — have been addressing the same issue, perhaps to greater effect. How can homeland security, as an academic and professional discipline, add significant value to the security framework?

Perhaps the added value comes from forcing us to constantly challenge how we define that framework. “Twitter, Facebook, and Ten Red Balloons” — the winner of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) 2010 Essay Contest — looks at how homeland security could benefit from crowd-sourced applications accessed through social networking tools. Author Christopher M. Ford offers two examples of successful applications of these tools, which might provide the U.S. government a way to solve an array of discrete homeland security problems through the active participation of interested citizens.

Active participation — of the military — is the subject of “Dual Status Command for No-Notice Events: Integrating the Military Response to Domestic Disasters” by Ludwig J. Schumacher. Separate and uncoordinated chains of command hampered the military response to Hurricane Katrina, with state military forces under the control of state governors and federal military forces employed under the control of the president. Schumacher analyzes the dual-command structure and suggests that the newly established Council of Governors has created a window of opportunity for establishing relationships to affect an integrated military response.

Response to the aftermath of disaster is the subject of three separate case studies. In “With a Disaster, Pain is Inevitable, but Suffering is Optional,” Sharon L. Caudle and Ernest Broussard, Jr., draw on the experiences of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, to illustrate how a culture of self-reliance and independence have helped a close-knit group of communities to recover from not just one, but multiple, hurricanes.

Marc Hyden and Charley English analyze the case of “Americus, Georgia” to determine whether a community is in better condition before or after being struck by a natural disaster, positing that even major natural disasters have minimal negative to potentially positive effects on the economy, technology, and physical makeup of local regions in the medium to long term.

Authors Laura J. Steinberg, Nicholas Santella, and Corrine B. Zoli study the role of infrastructure performance data and modeling studies in understanding the effect of disasters and promoting resilience. Examining data for “Baton-Rouge Post-Katrina,” they address which systems in Baton Rouge proved resilient and why, offering recommendations for effective planning to increase critical infrastructure resilience.

Our fourth case study, “Terrorist to Tyrant” by Thomas Myers, looks at an entirely different issue: how terrorist groups can evolve to gain national power. Myers compares three cases — the overthrow of the Russian Czar, the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, and Hezbollah’s rise to power in Lebanon — and identifies six common stages in terrorist evolution.

Finally, Nick Catrantzos, in a Letter to the Editor, reflects on today’s security professional and the protection business, suggesting that security is neither purely technical nor totally creative. It is, at best, a home for artisans.

As always, we publish these essays and articles with the goal of stimulating debate in the field — and discipline — of homeland security. Your comments and suggestions are welcome at www.hsaj.org.

The Editors.

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