An Examination of Threats against Homeland Security

THREAT is one of the leading terms in establishing, formulating, implementing and even assessing Homeland Security. It can be said that the definition of the role of Homeland Security is highly dependent on the role that it takes in relation with threats. Unfortunately, threat as a term is vague enough to completely confuse the definition of Homeland Security. When some is asked regarding the functions and tasks of Homeland Security, the usual answers would revolve around this department’s role as the conserver of peace particularly in battling against terrorism.

It can be said that the impetus regarding this question would usually be within or at least on the boundaries of the dominant issues in terrorism. Answering that Homeland Security is only dedicated to combating terrorism can be said to be correct by looking at it through the perspective that terrorism is a vital part of this department’s role. Even if terrorism is a big part of the national mandate to Homeland Security; it cannot represent the department holistically.

There are other aspects of Homeland Security which can be deemed as vital in deriving a holistic study regarding the comprehensive role of this department in conditioning a state’s well being and security. In line with this, this study will be fully concentrated in drawing a possible sense of comprehensiveness by redressing issues towards the formulation of holistic definition of Homeland Security.

This paper aims to do this by enumerating and briefly defining the other forms of threats that Homeland Security addresses; this will be done by continuously denoting that terrorism is not the sole problem and threat that Homeland Security aims to address. It can be generalized that this paper will be fully geared towards the satisfying the very reason for it to be written in the first place which is to provide a new definition of the role of the Department of Homeland Security in relation to the state that it functions with.

The discussions which will be used as this research progress on will lie in this structure- introduction, specific threats chosen and conclusion. This will be utilized to provide a healthy discussion of the issue at hand without compromising the academic value of this research. The introduction part of this research will include a brief discussion of terrorism and an enumeration of the other threats mandated by the foundation of Homeland Security. On the second part of this research, this paper will look closely on the other threats that Homeland Security seeks to pacify and address.

The discussion of this other threats will be the basis for the selection of the three threats to be compared and discussed in this research. The conclusion of this research will use the facts and specifications used in the first two parts of the paper. The generalization of this paper will be drawn by relating the chosen threats to a possible reconfiguration of the misconception that Homeland Security is solely focused on terrorism; and by tracing the relationship of these chosen threats to terrorism.

Introducing Homeland Security: An Enumeration of Threats Homeland Security is one of the cabinet departments which are established in many countries all around the globe. This department is established in many countries under similar or even identical mandates. It is undeniable that after the history turning events such as the 9/11 bombing and Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, the role of Homeland Security departments all around the globe appear to be focused on battling with terrorism and its other proponents (Relyea, 2003, p. 602).

The aftermath of these events made the mandate of the department of Homeland Security more and more relevant to discuss (Relyea, 2003, p. 602). However, Homeland Security is a department which is mandated with more than the ability and power to put a stop to terrorism. In the United States of America alone, the department of Homeland Security is third in ranking among the biggest departments. There are many roles that the department of Homeland Security assumes through the diverse and comprehensive set of threats that it encounters daily.

Aside from terrorism, Homeland Security as a department screens and prevents these threats from happening in its country of use. As for this case, these threats are enumerated by the US department of Homeland Security in their latest National Security Threat List or NSTL. Terrorism, espionage, proliferation, economic espionage, targeting of national information infrastructure, targeting of US government, perception management, and foreign intelligence activities are the eight threats which are included in the NSTL; these threats are also collectively known as the issue threat list (Wright.

edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ). These threats are considered as the issue threat list because these are the threats that concern the department of Homeland Security regardless of the countries or entities involve in the threat (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ). Terrorism is the act that involves activities that involve coercion and even violence perpetuated by entities which are foreign power-sponsored or foreign coordinated (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ).

Espionage is the crime that involves the identification, targeting and collecting of vital information of a country, most particularly concerning the information on national defense and national security protocols (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ). Proliferation is a threat because this pertains to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of advanced conventional weapons (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ). Economic espionage is identical to espionage except for its focus on disrupting and even taking advantage of the economy of its victimized country (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ).

Targeting the national information infrastructure as a threat concerns with the use of computer based technology to illegally get hold of vital information (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ). Perception Management is the threat that concern the department of Homeland Security because it is a threat that include the unlawful manipulation of information and data by power sponsored groups (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ). And lastly, foreign intelligence activities is the threat that concern with the use of information against a country; or even the unlawful gathering of information in a country (Wright.

edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ). These threats will be fully utilized in this paper to demonstrate that the department of Homeland Security without question answers many other needs as compared to the misconception that the department of Homeland Security is only concerned with antiterrorism. It is undeniable that the creation of a full understanding regarding Homeland Security would require a collective understanding of these threats; this paper will only be limited in discussing three of the threats given.

As for this paper, there will be three threats that this paper will put full attention to. These threats are economic espionage, proliferation and the targeting of national information infrastructure. These threats are chosen because of certain reasons; they are chosen particularly because they are deemed in this paper as threats which can well represent the major aspects of society- economics, technology and national defense. Economic espionage obviously is a representative of economics because of the implications it can bear on the whole country.

Proliferation can be considered as a representative of national defense because of its strong inclinations to armament s and weapons. And finally, the targeting of national information infrastructure can be considered as a representative of the technological issues apparent in any country. The comprehensiveness which can be attained in the discussion on these three threats can allow this research to take a step closer to fulfilling its objective of reconstructing the definition of the roles and tasks of the department of Homeland Security.

The reconstruction which can be arrived will further allow this paper in starting discussions which can relate to the value it puts in relating Homeland Security to other aspects such as policy making. Economic Espionage: An Assault on the Fortress of Commerce The economy is one of the pillars of any country all around the world. However, even if it is valuable it has a fragile nature which always lies in a balance which can be easily tipped off. The balance that economies are put into is a balance of the good and bad sides of economic bloom and economic downfalls.

Economies can easily start some of the worst horrors of living in a country such as social unrest, famine and even complete chaos. On the brighter side of things, economic blooms and advancements can easily elevate the lifestyles of the citizens of a country and it can even put a total stop to poverty. Ultimately, economies can be highly profitable. Aside from the goods side of a well off economy, the negative implications which can be marked by failures in an economy also make economic control a viable venue for control and coercion.

Due to the vital position of economic control, Homeland Security also tries to prevent and if not stop those that engage in economic espionage. This stance by Homeland Security can be best seen in the passing of the “The Economic Espionage Act of 1996”. This act was passed on to put a stop on those that try to steal the trade secrets to create or at least simulate the profits of those that have previously used the trade secrets (Halligan, 1997, p. n.

pag. ). This act even particularly put a stress on defining the term trade secrets. The term trade secret includes all forms and types of financial, scientific, economic, engineering formation, formulas, designs, structure, methods of business implementation, business plans and other specific terms that are involve in dealing with the economy are included in the definition of trade secrets that this act aims to protect (Halligan, 1997, p. n. pag. ).

This act is only but a single manifestation of the other strategies of Homeland Security in dealing with economic espionage. Example of this is the strengthening of the punishments of those that transgress this act is a complementary to the legislative aspect of this act (Halligan, 1997, p. n. pag. ). Proliferation: A New Front of National Defense Ammunitions and armaments can be considered as the foundations of every war waged in the history of humankind.

These two products of humankind’s continuous advance in terms of technology, particularly in armaments put a strong warning sign especially to the department of Homeland Security because of the possible proliferation of both armaments and ammunitions even to those who can be considered as harmful elements to both national defense and security. Proliferation of armaments and ammunitions is classified in the NSTL in two basic sets- weapons of mass destruction and advanced conventional weapons (Wright. edu, 2010, p. n. pag. ).

Homeland Security’s departmental assessment that Iraq most probably harbors weapons of mass destruction was marked the start of the military incursion by the allied forces to put a stop to these weapons from being used by invading Iraq. In terms of the proliferation of advanced conventional weapons, Homeland Security works hand in hand with other leading legislations that aim to control the proliferation of Advanced Conventional Weapons or ACWs. Homeland Security does its job regarding these weapons by putting strong and distinct qualifications for the holding, transferring and even of selling these weapons (US Department of State, 2010, p.

n. pag. ). This threat also requires multi lateral international cooperation of involved countries to insure that these armaments and ammunitions can be cooperatively sanctioned just in case that they will be sold illegally across regional and international borders (US Department of State, 2010, p. n. pag. ). Up to date there are existing international organizations that were formed to put a consolidated front against the proliferation of these armaments and ammunitions.

These organizations all around different regions are in charged of checking whether there are revolving ammunitions and armaments which are illegally purchased or transferred (US Department of State, 2010, p. n. pag. ). Targeting National Information Infrastructure: The Cyber and Virtual Threat The use of computers and the fast digitalizing world paves the way for the emergence of a new concern- cyber and virtual threats. These threats may revolve around simple viruses to the most complicated cyber crimes that might be responsible for the theft of some of most valuable information all around the globe (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ).

There are six major classifications of cyber security threats- intrusion or hacking, viruses and worms, Trojan horse, spoofing, sniffing, denial of service. These security threats can pose as security threats because these activities can allow even the most unlawful individuals to gain access to vital information needed to gain illegal advantage over national information infrastructure (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ). Hacking is simply the act of gaining access to a computer system without the legal permission of the computer’s owners (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ).

Viruses and worms require carrier files to disrupt the proper functioning of the computer systems of the targeted infrastructure (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ). Trojan horse does not used to be a threat to information infrastructure, this type of program used to be maximized for administrative processes (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ). However, the remote orientation of this program provides a lot of venue for those who would want to take advantage of the national information infrastructure (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ).

Spoofing is used to replicate the original sources of legitimate files for the advantage of the proprietor; this act is usually done to deceive other users of the network to gain vital information (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ). Sniffing literally means the screening of vital information through unsecured networks (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ). And lastly, the denial of service means an activity that puts a complete stop to the functions of the targeted network; particularly denying legitimate users from the services of the service provider (Jesan, n. d. , p. n. pag. ).

Conclusion: What is Homeland Security beyond Anti- Terrorism? The chance of dying from terrorism particularly in America is almost close to zero; there is almost no probability (Friedman, 2005, p. 22). Amidst this almost null probability there is still strongly pronounced calls that pertain to protecting the people from terrorism. As seen in the speech rendered by Barack Obama, president of the USA, terrorism is still an existing threat that requires attention and action (US Department of Homeland Security, 2010, p. n. pag. ).

Every day, in the United States alone the governmental expenses dedicated to battle terrorism skyrockets to millions of dollars (Thacher, 2005, p. 635). Howevr, in the statements given by most world leader’s terrorism appears to be the mother threat subordinating the other threats enumerated in this research earlier. This can be seen through the speech cited earlier by US president Obama that pertains to terrorism as the mother root of all existing threats (US Department of Homeland Security, 2010, p. n. pag. ).

This speech is not a complete debunking of the validity of the earlier cited threats; instead this speech only marks the need to contextualize the issues regarding the definitions of the terminologies involved in the threats encountered by Homeland Security. Bibliography Donley, M. B. , & Pollard, N. A. (2002). Homeland Security: The Difference between a Vision and a Wish. Public Administration Review, Vol. 62 , 138-144. Friedman, B. (2005). Homeland Security. Foreign Policy, No. 149 , 22-29. Halligan, R. M. (1997).

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