Homeland Security

Homeland Security

1. In your opinion, is the Afghan Taliban a terrorist organization? Why/why not? Be sure to consider the different definitions of ?terrorism? and the nature of current Taliban activities.

2. In the critical infrastructure field, what are Information Sharing and Analysis Centers and what are their roles?

3. What is the difference between a ?key asset? and a ?critical infrastructure?? Give examples of both.

4. What is the definition of a ?weapon of mass destruction?? In your view, did the events of Sept. 11, 2001 constitute a WMD attack? What about a truck bomb such as the one used by Tim McVeigh in Oklahoma? Why/ why not?

5. What makes a critical infrastructure ?critical?? Give examples of some infrastructures that are not critical. What are the differences between these and ?critical? infrastructures?

ESSAY QUESTIONS (1,000 words or less for each question)

1. ?The more secure you make things the more inconvenient things become.? The trade-offs between security and practicality are extremely difficult, and we often oscillate between too much security and too little. There are real threats out there, and as we saw on 9/11 (or earlier in Oklahoma City) it doesn’t take much these days to create major problems. On the other hand we can’t lock up everything all the time. From the standpoint of emergency managers and law enforcement officials who have to protect us and at the same time keep society running– what would you do if you were in their position? Suppose you were the new emergency planning officer for a mid-sized city and the Mayor asked you for a set of principles on how to achieve a realistic balance between too much and too little security. Provide a set of guiding principles that the city can use. Be as specific as possible.

2. In a recent book (Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What To Do About It, Ecco, 2010) Richard Clarke, the former National Security Council coordinator for counter-terrorism and cyber issues, and his co-author Robert Knake say that defensive and policy weaknesses make the U.S. highly vulnerable to attack on our critical infrastructures, especially the cyber infrastructure. They argue that one of our major weaknesses is that the government is focused on protecting its own systems, but no one is really in charge of protecting the nation?s overall critical infrastructures from a determined enemy attack. Assuming that they are right, what should we do about it? Should we create a strong government agency with power to order sweeping changes in cyber-security even if this adds costs and limits innovation by the private sector? Should we provide tax incentives for those who adopt government-approved measures? Should we rely on persuasion and private sector self-interest? Are there other options available and if so, what are they? (You do NOT have to read this book to assess the policy options!)
3. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was a natural tendency in the United States to define ?homeland security? solely in terms of counter-terrorism; al Qaeda was the enemy. They had shown that they could and would attack us here, and we needed to shore up our defenses. Since then, many have argued that ?homeland security? should include more than counter-terrorism, and that the safety of the homeland also extends to response to natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. This ?all-hazards? approach to homeland security has grown in popularity, but there are still those who argue that such a wide reach will inevitably dilute our ability to focus attention and resources on the terrorist threat. Analyze both sides of this argument, and give your opinion as to which side has the better case, and why.


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