What types of strategies the Department of Homeland security undertakes to counterterrorism and terrorist threats? The current efforts focus on four core goals, where intelligence sharing between agencies should be improved by the reduction of procedural barriers in order to boost preventative measures against terrorism.
Statement of Facts
The issue of terrorism, regardless of whether it is domestic or foreign, can have a major destabilizing effect on the public and public perception. The core objective of terrorism is to invoke terror and mass hysteria through shock and fear. Therefore, the impact of such attacks can be devastating to the nation on several levels. Firstly, the damage can be physical, where people die and infrastructure becomes destroyed. Secondly, the wider effect is social and psychological, where the country and its inhabitants can become traumatized and fearful. Third, the nation’s key economic, political, and social processes can be disrupted. Therefore, terrorism can severely damage the criminal justice system by making people lose trust in core democratic institutions and the government’s competence to defend the nation against internal and external threats.
Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security adopted the strategic framework, which consists of four critical objectives. The first goal is to “understand the evolving terrorism and targeted violence threat environment, and support partners in the homeland security enterprise through this specialized knowledge” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2019, p. 2). In other words, the problem is constantly studied and monitored to identify patterns of behavior and change in risk elements. The second goal is to “prevent terrorists and other hostile actors from entering the United States and deny them the opportunity to exploit the Nation’s trade, immigration, and domestic and international travel systems” (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2019, p. 2).
Thus, key and critical entrance points and potential movements are tracked to reduce the number of opportunities for terrorists. The third goal is direct terrorism prevention, which focuses on superior and advanced intelligence gathering (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2019). The last goal is directed towards critical infrastructure enhancements in order to ensure preparedness as well as protection.
The turning point in the history of the United States in regards to the counterterrorism agenda was irrefutably the 9-11 attack on the World Trade twin towers. After the attack, counterterrorism became a top priority, which led to extensive global policing and interventions. It is important to note that although counterterrorism efforts led to major victories, such as the elimination of Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, in recent years, the main source of terrorist threats comes from a domestic source. One of the most recent and prominent examples of domestic terrorism is the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, which was categorized as such by the FBI director as well as other security leaders (Guardian staff and agencies, 2021).
In other words, the terrorism threat morphed and evolved into domestic security risks, which can even endanger the core and fundamental institutions of the United States. It is evident that the legal precedents leading to such attacks are primarily politically charged due to a high degree of partisan hostility and polarization. However, recent events of withdrawal from Afghanistan can become a catalyst for an increase in international or foreign terrorist threats.
In conclusion, terrorism is a major issue that has physical, emotional, and psychosocial consequences, which can be devastatingly destabilizing to the nation by halting all essential economic, political, and social processes. The Department of Homeland Security undertakes efforts under the strategic framework, which consists of four core objectives. Firstly, the measures are aimed at understanding and monitoring terrorism as it evolves in order to have an improved predictive capability. Secondly, preventative actions are implemented, where key entrance points and movements of potential suspects are tracked. Thirdly, direct preventative actions are taken through advanced intelligence efforts. Fourthly, the approach includes core infrastructure enhancement measures in order to boost preparedness and protection.
The main complexity of proposing effective solutions to terrorism is rooted in the fact that it constantly evolves and morphs. Terrorist threats can also come from a multitude of sources. In addition, rapidly advancing technological developments make efforts highly reliant on intelligence capabilities in order to integrate timely preventative measures.
The immediate actions revolve around intelligence and information sharing, where different governmental agencies and departments need to exhibit the highest degree of cooperation and collaboration by eliminating procedural and bureaucratic barriers (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2019).
The required data for the evaluation of the strategic framework’s intelligence sharing as the core solution is a number of procedural steps needed for information to be shared after the request to delivery. If the number of interest is low and the security metrics are unaltered, then the proposed solution can be categorized as successful.
According to the routine activity theory, there needs to be an absence of a capable guardian, a suitable target, and a motivated offender for a crime to take place (Fennelly, 2020). A reduction in the procedural steps of approval and verifications between intelligence agencies will increase the flow of information, which will reduce the degree of absenteeism of capable guardians and will increase preparedness and prevention.
In accordance with the SARA model, procedural steps of information sharing between agencies need to be scanned, where the analysis should focus on identifying security non-altering points. The response is based on the elimination of these barriers, whereas the assessment is based on evaluation and efficiency improvements.
Fennelly, L. (2020). Handbook of loss prevention and crime prevention (6th ed.). Butterworth-Heinemann.
Guardian staff and agencies. (2021). FBI chief calls Capitol attack domestic terrorism and rejects Trump’s fraud claims. The New York Times. Web.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2019). Department of Homeland Security strategic framework for countering terrorism and targeted violence. Web.