Criminal Justice Paper on Terrorism and Domestic Preparedness


The world today has come under one of its great threats caused by terrorism, which has continued to evolve over the years. The world has witnessed different acts of terrorism, which has led to several changes across the globe and the United States homeland protection approach. Different religious extremist groups have continued to justify their terrorism acts of violence mainly in the political arena. The evolution of terrorism and change of tactic by terrorists have resulted in a shift in the Homeland Security policies. For instance, local policing collaboration within the homeland has become integral essential approach in sustaining the security needs of the local population. This means that the law enforcing agencies both at the federal and local level need to be in constant communication regularly to address the concerns of terrorism associated with intelligence, deterrence, and responses to real occurrences of terrorism. Furthermore, interagency cooperation needs to be effective in ensuring the efficacy of the citizen’s safety. Any form of agency concerns that might hinder the effective organization and communication need to be sorted for the sake of the safety of American communities. When organizational bureaucracy among the law enforcing agencies becomes fruitless, there must be action plans and strategies that will ensure a smooth flow of measures within the agencies alongside Homeland Security requirements. Generally, the United States Homeland Security policies aimed at safeguarding the nation against terrorism are recurrently subjected to changes to successfully counter the evolution of contemporary forms of terrorism.





Terrorism and Domestic Preparedness


The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States left an indelible mark in the consciousness of the American society. Their ripple effects are still being felt in the country. There have been several forms of terrorist attacks like the famous 9/11 that have left a huge population of the Americans citizens worried over the possibility of impending attacks and their likely effects. As a result of these attacks, there has been an increase of uncertainty concerning what may occur, hence, intensifying unease and stress levels among different people. The likelihood of the continued existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) has amplified incidences of terrorism on the American soil, for instance, chemical, organic, and radiological armaments (Friedmann, & Cannon, 2009). The likelihood of terror groups like the ISIS in engaging WMDs against Americans is possible. A weapon of mass destruction involves an armament that can cause grave damage or devastation and death on a bigger magnitude.

Globally, the possession of such weapons by nations and antagonistic groups, for example, terroristic poses a solemn risk. The historical terror attacks on the American soil, for instance, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building, and the application of drones in the notable bombing of the Pentagon and the WTC (World Trade Center) in 2001 were significant. The acts showed that America is still vulnerable to attacks from both universal and domestic terrorists. As a result of these previous occurrences and the likelihood of future attacks, it is necessary to develop the national preparation strategies further beyond the traditional physically security provision. The homeland security preparedness approaches need to be put in place with the intention of decreasing the vulnerability of the nation through enhancing effective response proficiencies at all levels of government.

The impact that international terrorism has had on United States homeland security policies

The current model of terrorism appears to have changed form into structured and self-sponsored international networks of terrorist groups. Radical Islamic groups, for instance, the Al Qaeda, ISIL/ISIS, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab, and some religious groups that are using religion as a justification, have turned out to be a threat to the security of the United States and other associated administrations. Additionally, global terrorism has also become the main danger to the country’s national and foreign security. The growing partisan involvement of terrorist and extremist groups in foreign nations, as well as the evident development of international links among different terrorist organizations has also become a concern to the United States. This is because these connections among the terror organizations commonly encompass combinations of technology transfer, financing, and martial training. The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States triggered the need for comprehensive and extensive modifications in the security strategies of the nation. The terrorist attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon changed how America would detect and respond to threats as well as strategies in thwarting them. The most significant step in the fight against terrorism in the U.S. after the 9/11 terrorist attack was the creation Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS was aimed at enhancing the different homeland security activities through the combination of both, tribal, local, state, and federal governments, besides the private sector and American populations into one organized homeland security initiative (Friedmann & Cannon, 2007).

The national approach of America towards international terrorism features entails considerable military elements, which is replicated in the nation’s military operations in the Middle East. Since terrorism has become a global tendency, a key challenge that policymakers encounter is how to exploit international backing and collaboration at the same time not compromising the homeland security and interests of the U.S. Other notable strategy challenges consist of the methodology that can be integrated to abate civil and economic rights expenses. The costs are caused by a heightened security environment and the best approach to the reduction of the terrorism lures, mainly in areas, where terrorist activities are allowed or funded by states.

The United States response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks was rapid, ample, and significant. Subsequent after the acknowledgment of the terrorist attacks on Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, the United States pronounced a drastic modification in its homeland security strategies from an emphasis on deterrence to prevention. As a result of the possibly devastating impacts of the WMDs use by terrorist groups, the security agencies and other stakeholders decided that the U.S. would no more be inactive, relax and act in response to a terrorist attack. Consequently, preventive military intrusion against foreign terrorist groups and their organization was welcomed among the policymakers. After the 9/11 attacks, antiterrorism program changed to a preventive model, which emphasized predominantly on foiling attacks from Al Qaeda, often by transferring war to the enemy’s zone.

A conforming strategy of policy intervention entailed defending the homeland against terrorist threats and attacks, besides the reverberation of such assaults through border safety, the decrease of susceptibilities of vital state infrastructure and enhancing the backing and resources provided to intelligence and police (Jackson, 2008). Terrorists may attack at any time through the use of weapons, for instance, biological weapons and bombs. Since it is not likely to safeguard everything, it is important for law enforcing policies that are aimed at prioritizing the fortification of vital infrastructure. This comprises of facilities, for example, electrical utilities, oil refineries, and nuclear power plants, in addition to public transportation systems like airports, roads and bridges (McEntire, 2009). This is because they form critical components of life and economy sustainability in the United States, hence, being likelihood targets to terrorists.            Furthermore, in 2003, the Homeland Security Advanced Research Project Agency (HSARPA) created the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative, designed to inspire small businesses to take part in the federal Research and Development initiatives designed to provide answers and technologies that match the objectives of homeland security. Acknowledging the persistent challenge that homeland security encounters in its mission several American institutions and organizations have incorporated the continuing inquiry efforts. For example, Stanford University and the UC Berkeley have become part of the developments and missions aimed at enhancing technological response to computer occurrences.

The appropriate roles of local communities and law enforcement agencies in a national strategy for protecting the homeland

Local communities and law enforcement agencies are important entities in a national strategy for protecting the homeland. One of the reasons as to why community-focused policing is a critical facet of homeland security is because ordinary initiatives at the grassroots level alongside local and state organizations are frequently the first line of security in issues associated with protecting the homeland. Moreover, the supreme law of the United States institutes an arrangement whereby the local and state governments have been transformed severally both the local and state administrations currently are tasked with the major role of safeguarding the homeland and defending the population from terrorism. In line with the National Response Plan (NRP) and the 2001 Patriot Act, the central government has put in place guiding principles and canons that apprise of the grounding and response to impending terrorist activities by law enforcement agencies.

It is also significant to acknowledge the importance of involvement by the states since they are the first to respond to crises; and their contribution and obligation to safeguarding the homeland is very important too as they entail a vital element of successful counterterrorism strategies. On the other hand, local governments are well off in ascertaining the needs of the security matters at the grassroots level. Consequently, homeland security dogma affirms that data should be gathered at the local level and distributed to the state and federal establishments (Kaiser, & Library of Congress, 2011). Besides, the responsibility of defending the infrastructure and reacting to tragedies is usually the main function of local governments, which can be transferred to the state and federal levels, when a need arises.

Law enforcement is anticipated to be amended and support the objectives of Department of Homeland Security. As a way of making sure that homeland is sufficiently safeguarded, both communities, researchers, law enforcement agencies and public officials have acknowledged several strategies if successfully implemented, will help in defending local communities at the same time enhancing the effectiveness of homeland security policy. Precisely, the local government may be effective in fulfilling homeland security expectations through the extension of intelligence collection, enhancement of the connection between the community and the police, collaboration with federal, state, and local entities, in addition to the development of their proficiency in responding to terrorism occurrences (Docobo, 2005).

To effectively win the war on terrorism, triumph is only possible through the effective collection of intelligence. Therefore, local communities and law enforcement agencies need to work in collaboration to enhance investigation besides their contribution in safeguarding crucial infrastructure. Additionally, law enforcing agencies are at a continual contact with residents at the community level, an element that is important in gathering valuable intelligence about threats to national security. Since the local law enforcing agencies are at the front of homeland security, they meet the standards of homeland security strategy by harmonizing with federal and state agencies. The aptitude of law enforcement agencies to disseminate data and intelligence involving security matters is vital not only for the three major levels of government but also for the private and international segments.

How Organizational Bureaucracy Inhibits Cooperation Across Federal, State, And Local Jurisdictions

According to homeland policies, response to terrorist activities by law enforcement is feasibly one of the significant necessities in the United States through effective organizational bureaucracy. In particular, community administrations at the local level of government play some important roles that are associated with homeland security, for instance, emergency response, policing, fortification of vital infrastructure, and updating the public of likely terrorist threats. Despite the fact that the likelihood of a terrorist attack is very minimal for most local jurisdictions in the nation, coherent and useful response devices and measures are still critical in improving the efficacy of homeland security at the same time safeguarding the safety of communities and local governments. Therefore, local law enforcement agencies are qualified to in a manner that they are able to withstand any form terrorist acts. For instance, the local agencies are well equipped on how to ascertain the existence of acts of terrorism in their communities and mechanisms of avoiding diverting their attention during that time. Additionally, since the law enforcers are normally the initial group to respond to terrorist threats and acts, they are at risk of encountering challenges. Also, since the expenses entailed in preventing and controlling terrorist attacks are commonly high, there is a need for a close collaboration between law enforcement and the local community in the fight against terrorism (Wuchte & Knani, 2013). The scope of victory or failure of in strategies to protect the homeland unswervingly impacts the accomplishment and victory of law enforcement initiatives.

Interagency cooperation between the several federal agencies is significant in the fight against terrorism. In the contemporary bureaucratic environment, most team members are frequently compensated for concentrating on their subsistence and organizational needs. For an effective counter-terrorism strategy, there needs to be a close collaboration between the several local, state, and federal agencies (Bush, 2009). This is as a result of the dynamic nature of terrorists, whereby some might need different forms of mechanisms to deal with, for instance, judicial or military intervention.

In the United States, there are several measures, which have been put in places in enhancing a warm inter-agency partnership, despite organizational bureaucracy stifling collaboration across federal, state, and local jurisdictions. Poor information exchange and sharing between law enforcing agencies and intelligence services at the three levels of government in one way have provided a leeway to terrorist activities. According to a perception that was related to the 9/11 twin terrorist attacks, it is believed that intelligence information was not provided to law enforcement agencies, boundary sentries, and immigration representatives. Till now, the concept of information sharing has not been sufficiently developed. The presence of interagency players exposes the limits that organizations are encountering in guaranteeing effective sharing of data and aptitudes.

Enhancing Interagency Cooperation

There are several efforts that have been put in place to enhance interagency corporation. Some of the Initiatives include institution multifaceted evaluation, situation-based planning, and conflict assessment structures. The current form and model of terrorist groups call for necessitates an effective interagency partnership and communication. The bureaucratic solution to limitations in interagency teamwork can be addressed in training procedures, introducing job-swapping agendas and ensuring leaders who emphasize on the significance of partnership between agencies.

Despite the fact that there are different terrorist groups with different structural and conceptual structure, their objectives entail similar aspects, for instance, instilling fear through the obvious and making use of unlawful practices to accomplish political motives. Additionally, terrorist acts are aimed at sending hostile messages, commonly as a result of absolute political power or religious variances. According to the public perception of the role of the government in failing to prevent the 9/11, the terrorists utilized the weaknesses of law enforcement and intelligence institutions to hit the United States. It is commonly acknowledged that these institutions and organizations entailed a weak system that could not play a significant role in precluding the attacks. According to the American homeland strategy, gathering of intelligence, harmonization with local, state, and federal agencies and enhanced collaboration between the law enforcing and the local communities at the local level is the remedy for preventing and responding to likely acts of terrorism. Homeland security policy developed as a result of appalling terrorist attacks in Washington D.C. and New York City, which has continued to advance substantially over time.





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McEntire, D. (2009). Introduction to Homeland Security. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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