Homeland Security Affairs (HSA) is pleased to present this special collection of essays in remembrance of the ten-year anniversary of September 11, 2001. We chose to honor those who lost their lives that tragic day, as well as those whose lives were forever impacted, by reflecting on the homeland security lessons and achievements since 9/11 and the challenges that lie ahead. Download the full issue.
The emergence of homeland security forced the United States to revisit, over the past ten years, some of its founding principles and social values in order to address tough security questions. What are the federal government’s constitutional responsibilities (and limits) to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from events, versus those of state and local governments? What is the appropriate tradeoff between privacy, civil liberties, and security? In a free market economy, how do we engage businesses as active homeland security partners without heavily regulating industry? What are the definitions of war, a prisoner of war, enemy combatant, terrorist, and criminal and how do we bring these people to justice? What responsibilities do individual citizens have for their own safety and the security of their community? In the age of social networking, what is a community and what holds it together?
In assembling these essays, HSA invited the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s three Secretaries — current Secretary Janet Napolitano and former Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff — to reflect on homeland security’s past and future. HSA also asked Department of Defense Assistant Secretary Paul Stockton (the founding Director of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security) to pen an essay from the homeland defense point of view. We are grateful that all four accepted our offer.
In “Progress Toward a More Secure and Resilient Nation,” Secretary Napolitano states, “Our experience these past ten years also has made us smarter about the kind of threats we face, and how best to deal with them.” Her essay focuses on the strategy of local hometown security as a key to making our communities and the nation safer in the future. Napolitano argues that, “ … more and more often, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers — and their community partners — are best positioned to uncover the first signs of terrorist activity.”
Secretary Ridge reminds us, in his essay “Never Any Doubt: A Resilient America,” of the dangers of complacency and that “ten years is enough time to know that in the next ten years, the fight will still be with us.” He also reminds us that as new threats surface, our tools, policies, and security strategies must continue to evolve. “Because after taking fifty years to win the Cold War, while we emerged as the lone superpower, we were also left with a stockpile of weapons, tactics, and diplomatic relationships that were of little utility in the new security environment.”
In “9/11: Before & After,” Secretary Chertoff provides an overview of the “new legal architecture for counterterrorism” which required a refashioning of US laws and processes “focused on three elements of the counterterrorism process: intelligence collection, information integration, and terrorist incapacitation.” His analysis includes observations on the legal challenges that homeland security presents in preventing attacks, sharing information and bringing terrorists to justice.
Assistant Secretary Stockton’s essay, “Ten Years After 9/11: Challenges for the Decade to Come,” is an invitation to practitioners and academics to work in partnership with the Department of Defense to build on the far-reaching progress that has already occurred since 9/11. Stockton identifies two areas that require specific attention: defense support to civil authorities and “a little-known but vital realm of preparedness: civil support to defense.”
HSA also invited faculty from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security (publisher of HSA) to reflect on areas related to their research and teaching. The ten essays presented here provide insight to a broad array of domestic, international, technological, economic, academic, and social topics that influence how we live and govern. More importantly, the faculty essays help us better understand opportunities for increased security over the next decade.
In “Does Homeland Security Exist Outside The United States?” Nadav Morag contends “Homeland security is a uniquely American concept. It is a product of American geographic isolation and the strong tendency throughout American history to believe that there was a clear divide between events, issues and problems outside US borders and those inside US borders.” In answering the question, he examines how other countries have organized their security policies, strategies, and plans.
John Rollins provides a transnational perspective on how the US approaches homeland security. As US economic, political, social, and environmental interests become more global, so have security threats. Rollins believes “the US no longer has the geographic or economic luxury of approaching security issues from a domestic or international perspective. Regardless of where a threat emanates from, today’s security professionals need to recognize, respond, and appreciate the near- and long-term transnational implications of risks facing the nation.”
One security component that was the focus of much scrutiny following 9/11 is the US intelligence and information sharing system. In “Domestic Intelligence Today: More Security but Less Liberty?” Erik Dahl discusses the reshaping of the US intelligence system over the past ten years and argues “that even though we as a nation decided not to establish a domestic intelligence organization, we have in recent years done just that….” His overview concludes that while progress has been made, “… the development of a vast domestic intelligence structure since 9/11 has moved the balance [between security and liberty] quite firmly in the direction of more security, but less liberty.”
Adaptable, creative, risk-taking, and innovative are words that are used to describe entrepreneurs, especially in the technology sector. They are also words that could be used to describe al-Qaeda during the past ten years. Rodrigo Nieto-Gómez looks at the innovation process that drives the technology sector and how the convergence of technology made 9/11 possible. He also explores the difficulties that technology convergence poses for homeland security professionals. “This retrospective distortion creates a security ecosystem where homeland security practitioners feel pressured to try to ‘connect the dots’ every time, instead of adapting to an environment of emerging patterns and mutating dots that cannot be connected.”
“If there is any advantage to being at war, it is that it creates conditions for exploring new knowledge and gathering disparate players around the flagpole for support.” Stan Supinski’s essay, “Security Studies: The Homeland Adapts,” examines the development of homeland security education since 9/11 and the influences that have helped to shape its evolution. Supinski highlights some key challenges that remain to be addressed in order for homeland security to achieve academic maturity.
The essay by Susan Page Hocevar, Erik Jansen, and Gail Fann Thomas is an example of the maturing of homeland security as an academic area of study. “Inter-Organizational Collaboration: Addressing the Challenge,” demonstrates how scholars have become engaged in theoretical work that can provide the basis for new homeland security policies, plans and organizational arrangements. The authors’ work focuses on identifying factors that contribute to effective inter-organizational collaboration and the factors that inhibit collaboration. This is an area that has proven to be one of the most critical challenges for the homeland security community.
Sam Clovis brings education into the homeland security discussion using a different argument. “My intent is to call the attention of my homeland security colleagues to the idea that public education reform must be part of any serious discussion about national or homeland security.” Clovis argues, “A better-educated citizenry will be less dependent on government and more independent in times of crisis … will be more attentive to issues and challenges at the state and local level and more engaged at the national level … will cost less in public funding and will contribute more to the public coffers.”
In “How Proverbs Damage Homeland Security,” Chris Bellavita discusses twelve proverbs — or accepted truths — that have characterized the homeland security narrative. He contends that in the haste to establish a homeland security enterprise and create new policies and strategies, many homeland security proverbs may be inaccurate and “distort the homeland security narrative in a way that inhibits the search for more effective ideas to protect the nation.” Bellavita sees an opportunity over the next ten years for academics and strategists “to take another look at the basic assumptions underpinning our homeland security narrative, and identify evidence that supports or refutes the proverbs used to guide strategic direction.”
In, “The Post-Tragedy ‘Opportunity-bubble’ and the Prospect of Citizen Engagement,” Fathali Moghaddam and James Breckenridge examine the opportunities that exist for leaders to mobilize the public immediately following a tragic event. “Although great crisis will inevitably invite consideration of many alternatives, leadership must pay special attention to opportunities to engage the public as capable partners in their country’s response to the crisis — calling upon them as citizens with civic duties, as well as rights.”
Future generations of Americans will inevitably view 9/11 as a historical event and time period much like the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Vietnam War era. However, 9/11 brought about significant changes to the country and American’s daily lives. These changes are the subject of James Wirtz’s essay, “The Last Days of Summer.” “Instead of remaining an ‘extraordinary’ activity,” Wirtz suggests, “homeland security in the United States is becoming part of everyday life because it is slowly but surely improving the ability of federal, state, local and tribal agencies to prevent and respond more quickly and effectively to all sorts of threats and incidents.”
Homeland security is still a work in progress and we as a nation are still working through many important issues that touch on who we are as a nation. One of the true benefits of homeland security is that America gains strength through the process of debating answers, solutions and options. The essays in this special issue provide perspective on the ongoing national homeland security dialogue.