Sunday, May 22, 2016

Personal Security Measures: A Guide on How to Live and Work Safely in Abroad (Part 1)

(Image courtesy of Pixabay)

     On January 2016, the US Department of State had issued seven travel alerts and warnings for the Americans who are going to Mexico, El Salvador, Haiti, Uganda, Sudan, Niger, and Burkina Faso. The USDOS advised the travelers of the risks they would encounter in these countries. Tourists are even cautioned to consider not going at all or to postpone their plans to a later date.
     Accordingly, the reasons for issuing the notification was due to “unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks.”  The announcement also mentioned of “an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks.” On both publications, the USDOS pointed out the possible terrorist attack. This kind of threat would intensify as the years go by notably with the expanding clout of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East, and the al-Qaeda (AQ) in the African continent.
     For the American tourists, they can always forego their vacation plans and depart when the security condition in their destinations changed for good. This could also be said for those company executives who are on a planned business trip. But for those expatriates living overseas, they do not have the luxury of altering their schedules; instead, they will need to raise the level of their security awareness to protect themselves and their household from physical harm.
     Executives of multinational corporations would be the most likely targets of criminal and terroristic acts, not only for financial gains but also for political objectives because they are construed as conduits of so-called American imperialism.
     One of the critical assets of a corporation is its personnel—primarily the managers or those assigned on sensitive assignments. As such, appropriate attention must be given to the safety and protection of the executives and their families, particularly in high-risk countries where crimes are rampant and where terrorist groups operate unabated.
     The security operation is of universal application, but some techniques may need to be applied to address the threat condition. A security precaution required for a given situation would depend mostly on the nature of the threats, which could be assessed on several factors. 
     So, in this article, I am going to outline the Personal Security Measures that you--the American expatriate--could apply to mitigate your risk of becoming a victim of criminal or terrorist group. I will discuss the precautionary security measures you can take while in the field, in the office, and at home. These guidelines come in the simple Do’s and Don’ts, which are uncomplicated that you and your family members can perform daily.
     As a caveat, the security measures presented herein should serve as guides only, as no one is more concerned with the protection of your well-being than yourself. So, the greater the security awareness you put into the task, the greater the degree of your safety will be. Remember, even the professional security practitioners find it hard to stay on full-security alert on a 24-hour basis. As such, it is crucial for you to identify and recognize vulnerable situations when traveling to work, staying at home, or even doing recreational activities with your family. For instance, you might be defenseless when pumping gas in a local station, opening the door to callers, or traveling on a deserted highway. It is, therefore, important to always be on the lookout and not to lower your guard down.
     Remember, attackers operate using the element of surprise, and if you take that component away from them, the criminals or terrorists will find you operating on higher ground, if not leveling the threat to a manageable degree.
     The following are basic personal security guidelines that lay down the foundation on the Do’s and Don’ts that I am going to discuss in the succeeding chapters. These guiding principles are:
     1. Always be alert to the suspicious conduct of person/s around you, in the vicinity of your home, or near your office.
     2. Always be sensitive to the areas of threat arising from your personal dealings, as well as those resulting from your official business. Inform your immediate superior, staff (who should be aware of the situation), and family members.   Report the threat to the police at once either by phone or in person.
     3. Always remember that an attack would succeed if the perpetrator caught you unaware. If you were on guard, the attacker would stop and think twice. This brief interval is precious, as it will give you time to take evasive actions or call for assistance.
     4.  Summon for help at the first sign of danger when something is about to happen or when the act is occurring. Shout, sound the motor horn or blow the whistle to call the attention of the people around you! When you can’t do this yourself, tell your family or friends to sound the alarm.
     5. Always remember that raising the alarm is an effective means of slowing or hindering the perpetrator from pressing on his attack.
     6. If you and your family plan to go out of town in a period of days, inform your trusted neighbor or friend in the community to look after your house. Have your lookout call you and/or call the police when they see unusual activities happening in and around your house.                            
     7. While traveling to work and going back to home, make sure not to establish observable patterns that would enable a potential attacker to predict your future movements, construct an attack-plan based on it, intercept you in conditions unfavorable to you, or isolate you from summoning assistance.
     8. Only provide an interview or conduct a business transaction with a properly accredited person in the office during the business hours, or in the presence of your staff or trusted person.
     9. While on the field, you must not stay overnight in a place or in conditions that would isolate you from persons able to provide help or summon assistance.                            
   10. When attending social functions, be cautious on your conversations with the locals and with expatriates of other countries. If your position in the company is sensitive in nature, do not disclose anything about your official functions/duties, particularly to the publishers of commercial or social directories. You may not know who among the guests are working for the criminal or terrorist group.
     Please bear in mind that your family and household staff may, at any given time, also be the target of the criminal or terrorist group. So, the Personal Security Measures I am going to share on this blog apply to them as well.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Personal Security Measures: A Guide on How to Live and Work Safely in Abroad (Part 2)

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

     The desire to stay alive is innate in human behavior. This inherent conduct is true even for animals, like the mother Hen securing herself and her chicks from the predacious Hawk hovering in the sky.  Self-preservation is a natural instinct, and it is an intrinsic part of human’s defense mechanism.  
     Although I don’t subscribe to Darwinism, yet the philosophy of “survival of the fittest and the elimination of the unfit” applies to personal security. If you live in a high-risk country, you are vulnerable to attack--not only against your personal being but also of your family and your property. Thus, the best defense against the malefactors is to keep yourself and your family protected even at home. 
     Remember what Sir Edward Coke said in The Institutes of the Laws of England in 1628? Coke declared, "For a man's house is his castle, and each man's home is his safest refuge." This adage has no time expiration. It was a spot-on maxim centuries ago, and it is still true even today. 
     In the olden days, a King would order his royal guards to keep a vigil in the towers to protect the castle from invaders, and at times, he would instruct the gatekeepers to raise the drawbridge to prevent the enemies from gaining access to the castle. This same security philosophy is applicable today, and even without the luxury of having a regiment of royal guards at your disposal, you can protect everyone at home using simple steps as outlined below.
     The following are necessary home-safety measures that you can use in securing your house and safeguarding your family from intrusions. Remember, the guidelines below are adaptable to various settings—whether you live in rural area or in urban center.


     1.    Fit locks to outer doors. Ideally, exterior doors should be of solid construction. If the doors have glass fixtures, cover the doors with blinds or curtains from the inside.
     2.   Know where you keep the door keys.
     3.   Use strong chains or bars on outer doors and gates.
     4.  Check visitors through a peephole or from adjacent windows before opening the door.
     5. Fit window locks on ground-floor windows and on any windows on upper floors, especially those hidden from the view of the passers-by.  Any openings/windows not normally used can be permanently secured by screwing the window to the frame.
     6.  Hang a non-see-through curtain in rooms commonly used by the family.
     7.  Light the approaches to your house and garage. Make sure the exterior lights are placed out of reach. Check the lighting system from time to time. A time-delayed type of system is ideal.
     8.  Leave a porch light on or in the area of the front door during hours of darkness. A motion-detector lights are excellent in the yards.
     9.  Always have reserve lighting equipment available in your home, such as flashlights, candles, and hand lamps. Make sure you have spare batteries. A cheap gasoline-powered generator is ideal if you live in the suburb.
   10.  Consider also the use of other types of security lighting system for use in emergency situations. Lights placed at strategic points make it difficult for the attackers to hide in the shadows or behind the shrubberies.       

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Personal Security Measures: A Guide on How to Live and Work Safely in Abroad (Part 3)

(Image courtesy of Pixabay)

     In this article, I will discuss the security measures in protecting your home and keeping your family safe from intruders, as well as screening your household staff and selecting party caterers and repair men.

     1.    Leave a “courtesy light” at the porch or front door from dusk to dawn. A light with a dusk-to-dawn sensor is highly recommended.
     2.    Consider the use of other types of security lighting system for use in emergencies.  Lights placed in strategic areas around the house would make it difficult for the would-be-assailants or robbers to hide in the shadows.
     3.    Keep the boundary fences in good condition and make sure they block the rooms in the house that are often used.
     4.  Remove or trim shrubberies around your house, particularly shrubs near paths and driveways to make concealment of persons or devices difficult.
     5.    Make a safety check each night before retiring to ensure that all doors and windows are locked.
     6.    Treat late callers with high suspicion.
     7.    Consider keeping a dog. A barking dog will warn you of strangers or trespassers.
     8.   Know your domestic helpers. Let them fill out a Personal History Statement (PHS) or other similar forms. Take their pictures yourself, if not, ask for their current pictures. This will serve as a deterrent to those who have criminal plans.
     9.    Conduct due diligence. Verify the information declared by the helpers on their PHS.
    10.  Avoid walk-in helpers or helpers dropping names of an acquaintance who are not available for verification.
    11. Schedule the works/repairs in your residence and never leave the workers in the house on their own.
    12. Exercise utmost care when holding parties or gatherings at your home.  Workers, helpers, and caterers should be properly checked before the function. Be wary of those last-minute substitutions.
    13. Prepare an action plan or emergency plan in case of intrusion or other threats. The plan should involve the protection of family members as well as the helpers in the house and also of the household pets.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Introduction: The Nation Under Siege (Creation of the Department of Homeland Security)

(World Trade Center. Photo courtesy of Wally Gobetz, Wikemedia Commons)

            The notion that the United States is invincible from a foreign-terrorist attack was proven wrong after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, which later referred to as the 9/11. The successful terrorist operations carried out in New York and Washington DC by the members of al-Qaeda (AQ) have revealed to the world that even a powerful country like the United States is not secured from a suicidal terrorist group.

            The results of the suicide attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon building not only claimed the lives of 5,350 Americans and foreign expatriates, but they also resulted in the injuries of 6,500 people. These figures do not include the lives of 44 passengers and the flight crew of United Airlines Flight 93 killed when they crashed in the outskirt of Shanksville, Pennsylvania while bravely wrestling control of the plane from the terrorists.

            The terrorists' operations on 9/11 have revealed the softer sides of the security and intelligence apparatus of the United States government. The much-heralded invincibility of the US Intelligence Community (IC), considered as the best in the world, was later on regarded by the public as an incompetent organization. The IC members' ineptitude raised serious concern about the capability to provide the policymakers with accurate and timely intelligence on future terrorist operations in the United States.

            There are several factors that can be considered why the IC failed to preempt the AQ plot. One of these was the lack of a strategic plan to counter the emerging threats of global terrorism coming from the ranks of the Islamist terrorists after the Cold War. The IC members, particularly the FBI and the CIA, have failed to adjust to the changing geopolitical landscape of the world after the collapse of the Berlin wall—which consequently united the two German countries—and of the break-up of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) into independent States.

            The political change has shifted the global alliances that even former Warsaw Pact members (i.e., communist states) became part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This transformation had left the United States with no traditional military enemies to engage with. The threat to United States' national security via conventional warfare or through missile strikes from the distant European shores has lessened.

            The lowering of guards created false security, which apparently affected the collection of intelligence data because of the pressure to disband the CIA in the aftermath of the downfall of communism in Europe. The Democratic Party leaders called for the abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and to transfer its foreign intelligence activities to the US Department of State as well as the CIA’s paramilitary operations to the Pentagon.

            The demise of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries—considered as the “A” list nations in terms of threat to national security—has caused the United States’ foreign policy on security to shift to the “B” list nations (e.g., Iraq and North Korea)  and to the “C” list nations (e.g., Bosnia, Somalia). Accordingly, the immediate attention given to the “B” list nations is to preempt these countries to fill the void left by the “A” nations and to counter the proliferations of weapons of mass destruction. Security experts claimed that, because the focus of the IC resources in the past decade was shifted to the “B” list nations, the IC had never seen the emerging threats coming from the Islamic radical groups, particularly the MAK—the forerunner of AQ network, after the Soviet-Afghan war.

            There were estimated 40,000 displaced had-core mujahideens, who came from various Muslim countries around the world to fight in Afghanistan.  With no more war to win and no more battle to fight, these seasoned fighters went back to their respective countries and became leaders of terrorist groups in their localities. For example, the late Abdurajik Abubakar Janjalani, who founded the notorious Abu Sayaff Group in the Philippines, was a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war. Others had surreptitiously relocated to the West and secretly formed cell groups in Germany, France, and Spain. These developments were not seen by the IC as a gathering threats to the security of United States until the 9/11 attacks happened.

            Before the 9/11, there were 14 organizations that comprised IC—six from the civilian sector and eight from the military sector. Its mandate came from the Executive Order 12333 (United States Intelligence Activities), which provides, among others, to “collect information concerning, and the conduct of activities to protect against, intelligence activities directed against the United States, international terrorist and international narcotics activities, and other hostile activities directed against the United States by foreign powers, organizations, persons, and their agents.”

            The US Intelligence Community members were as follows:

             Civilian Sector

            1. Central Intelligence Agency
            2. Federal Bureau of Investigation
            3. US State Department
            4. Treasury Department
            5. Energy Department
            6. Coast Guard

            Military Sector

            1. Defense Intelligence Agency
            2. National Security Agency
            3. National Reconnaissance Office
            4. National Imagery and Mapping Agency
            5. Army Intelligence
            6. Navy Intelligence
            7. Air Force Intelligence
            8. Marine Intelligence

Agenda Setting: The State-Centric Approach (Creation of the Department of Homeland Security)

(United States Congress, Photo by Susan Sterner. Wikimedia Commons)

            Prominent leaders in the US Congress have demanded explanations from President George W. Bush why the federal government failed to detect, monitor, and negate the terrorist attacks. The most vocal critic on this issue was New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) when she told the reporters on May 16, 2002, that “the public demands answers immediately . . . And the people of New York deserve those answers more than anyone.”

            The Director of the CIA and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were not spared from the blame-game either. In the midst of this political turmoil, the people demanded accountability. There was a public outcry for the resignations of DCI George Tenet and Director Robert Mueller. The actions and inactions of their organizations were reflective of the way they led and managed the CIA and the FBI before the 9/11 attacks. The public clamor for an explanation of what caused the massive intelligence and security failure has not only reverberated in the streets of America but also rang in the halls of US Congress.

            Rep. Peter Goss (R), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, himself a former CIA Intelligence Officer, said that “over the years, success in the FBI meant ‘to go out and apprehend criminals’ prosecute them and ‘get them off the streets’ . . . that approach is still needed but with terrorism, there is a new element of integrating overseas intelligence to prevent acts inside the United States.” Likewise, Rep. Jane Harman (D), a ranking member of the intelligence committee, said that “the CIA, which by law operates overseas, and FBI, which operates within the United States, have to rethink their separate roles when it comes to dealing with terrorism. . . I still see a separate law enforcement and intelligence function, but if we stop at the border's edge, we may not be preventing terrorism.”

            The political activists and the Democratic Party leaders demanded that the Bush Administration be held accountable for the 9/11 tragedies as they happened under his watch. The Republicans countered that the terrorist plan was hatched during the time of the Clinton Administration, which had failed to detect and negate the attack including those that had happened before 9/11.

            On the span of just nine years—from February 26, 1993, in the first bombing of the World Trade Center, to its second attack on September 11, 2001—the United States had encountered ten major terrorist hits on US mainland and on US interests overseas. These attacks have resulted in the total death of 6101 people and injuries to 19,735. The blame game and political mudslinging from both parties have not produced any positive results to address the problems of terrorism. On the other hand, the crisis had spotlighted the years of dysfunctional relationship in the IC, which were then revisited by the members of the US Congress through the fact-finding commission.

            The US Congress noted the professional jealousies in the IC and this harmful rivalry among the members had hampered the coordination and sharing of information about the terrorists. Reports gathered by the media, the revelations of FBI whistleblowers, and the results of the congressional investigation have concluded that there were operational leads in the hands of the IC members, and had that information been shared with one another, it could have been used to negate the AQ network from carrying the attacks.

            Moreover, the congressional leaders had also seen the weakness of the FBI in analyzing and assessing the raw information coming from the field offices. For instance, Special Agent Kenneth Williams of Phoenix FBI Field Office wrote a five-page memorandum on July 10, 2001 about a possible attack on the United States. His report did not reach the key Bureau officials. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D), who attended the closed-door congressional hearing when Williams testified before the Judiciary Committee,  learned that the memorandum did not go up to the chain of command. Durbin commented that the report was “never treated seriously within the FBI, never circulated, never analyzed, nor referred to the CIA."

            The responsibility of securing the mainland from terrorist attack is the primary assignment of the FBI. However, the FBI had no strategic plan to address the rising danger posed by the Islamist terrorists that time. The Bureau came up with a draft assessment entitled “FBI Report on the Terrorist Threat to the United States and a Strategy for Prevention and Response” in September 2001. The lack of strategic planning on terrorism has clearly reflected in the Bureau’s organizational behavior towards terrorism.

            The FBI serves as the federal government’s lead agency in charge to respond, investigate, and prosecute terrorists. However, it will only pursue the terrorists after they struck, not while they are still in the planning stage. As an example, a request to conduct manhunt on AQ operative Khalid al-Mihdar in the United States was denied by the Bureau heads because the FBI Special Agents are criminal investigators and not intelligence operators. Al-Mihdar was one of the terrorists that crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon building.

            The 9/11 tragedies created a groundswell in the US Congress to review the FBI’s role as the lead agency that oversee the efforts in counter-terrorism because its organizational culture and operational thrusts are not suitable for counter-terrorism. It took the lives of thousands of people for the federal government to finally admit that there is a need to create an organization that will focus mainly on countering the threats of terrorism in US mainland. Thus, after so much discussions and hesitations, the proposal to create a super organization that is distinct from the FBI and CIA has been proposed to the members of the US Congress by the Bush Administration. The US Congress, on the other hand, had its own version of a domestic agency, which was incorporated later on in the White House’s proposal.

Policy Formulation: The Key Government Players (Creation of the Department of Homeland Security)

(President Bush Addressing Joint Session of Congress. Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

            Even before the 9/11 tragedies, there was already a call for major changes in governmental structures, infrastructures, and processes that relate to protecting the homeland from terrorist threats. During the Clinton Administration, a bipartisan commission known as the US Commission on National Security for the 21st Century (Hart-Rudman Commission) had existed to review, among others, the US national security apparatus. The 14-member Commission were headed by former Senators Gary Hart (D) and Warren Rudman (R). The Commission stated, “The combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the persistence of international terrorism will end the relative invulnerability of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack. A direct attack against American citizens on American soil is likely over the next quarter-century. The risk is not only death and destruction but also a demoralization that could undermine US global leadership. In the face of this threat, our nation has no coherent or integrated governmental structures.”

            The Commission recommended the creation of a super organization to be called the National Homeland Security Agency (NHSA) that would be in charge of “planning, coordinating, and integrating various US government activities involved in homeland security.” The Commission pointed out that was very important to consolidate the various organizations in the federal government as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Bureau of Customs to name some. The NHSA, as envisioned, will be created by Congress and will be funded by the body, too. The Commission submitted its final report to the US Congress in February 2001.

            On April 2001, US Representative William Thornberry (R), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced House Resolution 1158, which called for the creation of NHSA. The resolution did not gain support from his peers. Some House Resolutions and Senate Bills were later on submitted to the US Congress purposely to create a domestic security agency.

            Days after the terrorist attacks, President Bush, in his address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, announced the creation of the Office of Homeland Security (OHS). The OHS is created under the Presidential Executive Order and function to “coordinate executive branch’s efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks within the United States.” Bush hand-picked his personal friend Pennsylvania Governor and former Congressman Tom Ridge to direct the OHS.

            Many believed the OHS had not met its mission and had not operated freely under its functions because of the way the organization was designed. Senator Joseph Lieberman (D) said, “This is the most important responsibility the federal government will have in the near future, and to give Mr. Ridge less power in this office is just not what the nation needs.”

            On September 21, 2001, Senator Bob Graham (D) introduced S. 1449 that will establish the National Office for Combating Terrorism (NOCT). It gained seven co-sponsors, and they were Evan Bayh, Richard Durbin, Barbara Mikulski, Jay Rockefeller, Dianne Feinstein, Bill Nelson, and Susan Collins. The Bill proposed that the NOCT be established under the Executive Office of the President and to be modeled after the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). US Representative Alcee Hastings (D) introduced a counterpart bill in the House of Representatives under H.R. 3078. Senator Graham and Representative Hastings reportedly “promoted the findings of the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction under Gilmore Commission.”

            Having seen the weakness of the OHS, Senator Lieberman gained a co-sponsor to introduce S.1534 which will establish the Department of National Homeland Security (DNHS). Together with Senator Arlen Specter (R), Senator Lieberman sent the proposed bill to the US Senate on October 11, 2001, which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Governmental Affairs. The Bill 1534, among others, will transfer the authorities, functions, personnel and assets of several agencies in the federal government that deal with security and disaster operations. The Agencies were affected were the FEMA, United States Custom Service, Border Patrol of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), United States Coast Guard, Critical Infrastructure Office and the Institute for Information Infrastructure Protection of the Department of Commerce, and both the National Infrastructure Protection Center and the National Domestic Preparedness Office of the FBI.

            A year later, on May 2, 2002, after refining and widening the scope of his original resolution, Congressman Thornberry joined with Senator Lieberman to introduce H.R. 4660 and S. 2452 that will establish the Department of National Homeland Security and the National Office for Combating Terrorism. Thornberry got 40 co-sponsors and Lieberman got 5 co-sponsors after two Senate amendments in the proposed bill.

            On June 6, 2002, President Bush appeared on the national TV for a televised address from the White House to call for the members of the Congress to create a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, which was envisioned to be the central agency that will consolidate the domestic security apparatus against threats of terrorism. Leaders from both parties accepted the announcement in a positive manner and promised to work a bipartisan bill to make sure of speedy passage in the US Congress. In response to the President’s request, Representative Richard Armey (R) introduced H.R. 5005 on June 24, 20002 that will establish the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and for other purposes.

Decision Making: Analyzing the Costs and Benefits (Creation of the Department of Homeland Security)

(US Capitol, Washington DC. Courtesy photo by Andrew Bossi. From Wikimedia Commons)

            The DHS was established amidst strong challenges and oppositions from union leaders, political activists, and civil libertarians and from members of Congress themselves. The monetary costs of establishing the DHS became a big issue. Oppositions said that that Bush Administration has created a “big government” that added burden to the tax-paying public for the big expenditures. Also, the fear that DHS would infringe the civil liberties of the citizens were sounded-off by the civil libertarians. There were trade-offs on the costs and benefits of establishing the DHS, but in the end, the benefits of security to the nation had outweighed the cost in monetary obligations.

            The Bush Administration’s original plan was to have different personnel systems in the DHS. The plan will allow the Homeland Security Secretary to regulate the pay schedule, performance measures and termination policies. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGA) opposed this as the proposal accordingly would diminish the rights of the federal employees to form and join unions.

            However, the Senior Executive Association (SEA) supported the President on the ground that “the organizational challenges inherent in creating this new Department and the importance of its mission to all Americans necessitate maintaining current Presidential authority related to national security exclusions from collective bargaining.” Because of the controversy on the civil service issue the legislative proposal has created and the fear that the legislative proposal would be stranded in the Senate, the Republican House leaders Dick Armey and Rep. Rob Portman modified the H.R. 5005 to include the traditional rights of the employees.

            The American Civil Liberties Union was very vocal against the establishment of DHS because of the fear that it would operate in secrecy and with no public accountability. On their press release on June 25, 2002, ACLU legislative counsel Timothy Edgar said, “If you like the idea of a government agency that is 100 percent secret and 0 percent accountable, you'll love the new Homeland Security Department . . . The Administration's plan exempts the new agency from a host of laws designed to keep the government open and accountable and to protect whistleblowers."

            One of the oppositions to H.R. 5005 is Congressman Ron Paul, who said, “Congress was led to believe that the legislation would be a simple reorganization aimed at increasing efficiency, not an attempt to expand federal power. Fiscally conservative members of Congress were even told that the bill would be budget neutral! Yet, when the House of Representatives initially considered creating a Department of Homeland Security, the legislative vehicle almost overnight grew from 32 pages to 282 pages- and the cost had ballooned to at least $3 billion.”

            Moreover, some Democratic Party leaders like Senator Tom Daschle opposed certain provisions of the bill.  He was against giving the pharmaceutical companies who make vaccines the protection from liability.  He did not like the creation of a research center in the Texas A&M University for Homeland Security programs. He also contested the holding of secret meetings by the advisory committee that will favor the corporate lobbyists and the protection from liability of the companies who make anti-terror technologies or products. The Democrats found a supporter in Senator John McCain (R). The opponents to the provisions contend that the Bush administration had politicized the establishment of the DHS by catering to the interests of the special groups.

            The consolidation of other government agencies into the Homeland Security was not met favorably by congressmen in charge of the committees that supervise the affected offices. The agency-transfer would mean losing oversight, influence, and budgetary control. Because the Congress has the control on the budget of Homeland Security, it was not surprising that the establishment of DHS fell to the whims and caprices of congressmen who worried more about losing their clout over their committees than the threats the terrorists posed to the nation.

            The process of identifying the costs of establishing the DHS and the benefits coming from its existence were debated passionately throughout the deliberations in Congress and in the public hearings by the committee. The positive angles, as well as the negative sides of establishing a central domestic anti-terror agency outside the FBI, was seriously studied. In the end, the benefits DHS will provide to the nation outweighed the monetary costs and complexities of consolidating other federal agencies into one organization.

            H.R. 5005, which had 118 co-sponsors, was passed in the House of Representatives by a YES vote of 295 and a NO vote of 132. H.R. 5005 was received in the Senate on July 30, 2002, and was passed with an amendment by a YES vote of 90 to a No vote of 9 on November 19, 2002. The H.R. 5005 was subjected to 409 amendments in the House and the Senate floors, and finally on November 25, 2002, H.R. 5005 was signed by President Bush. H.R. 5005, otherwise known as the Homeland Security Act of 2002, had paved the way for the largest reorganization of the federal government since the passage of the 1947 National Security Act that created the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

Implementation Stage: Integration of Government Agencies (Creation of the Department of Homenad Security)

(US Customs and Border Protection, from Wikimedia Commons)

            After President Bush had signed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the H.R. 5005 became Public Law no. 107-296. After the policy formulation has transpired, the policy implementation came next. Peters said, “ Once a piece of legislation or a regulation has been accepted as a legitimate public law, in some ways the easiest portion of the policymaking process has already transpired, for government must then put the legislation into effect.” The effect of the legislation established the DHS, which created the newest and second largest executive department second to the size of Department of Defense. The policy of the government on anti-terrorism has now been implemented through the DHS.

            The DHS is consists of four line directorates, which are the Border and Transportation Security (BTS), Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), Science and Technology (ST), and the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP). The US Secret Service and the US Coast Guard remained intact and report directly to the DHS while the INS Adjudications and Benefits Program reports directly to the Deputy Secretary.

            The BTS is composed of the US Customs Service (Treasury), The Immigration and Naturalization Service (part) (Justice), The Federal Protective Service, Transportation Security Administration (Transportation), Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (Treasury), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (part)Agriculture), and the Office for Domestic Preparedness (Justice).

            The EPR is comprised of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Strategic National Stockpile and the National Disaster Medical System (HHS), Nuclear Incident Response Team (Energy), Domestic Emergency Support Teams (Justice) and the National Domestic Preparedness Office (FBI).

            The ST directorate includes the CBRN Countermeasures Programs (Energy), Environmental Measurements Laboratory (Energy), National BW Defense Analysis Center (Defense), and the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (Agriculture).

            Lastly, the IAIP was formed from Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (Commerce), Federal Computer Incident Response Center (GSA), National Communications System (Defense), National Infrastructure Protection Center (FBI) and the Energy Security and Assurance Program (Energy).

Evaluation Process: Performance Measures and Goals (Creation of the Department of Homeland Security)

(FDNY Firefighter on Ground Zero. Photo by Preston Keres, USN. Wikimedia Commons.)

            Peters said, “The first step in evaluation is to identify the goals of the program, but even this seemingly simple task may be difficult, if not impossible.”

            The DHS has set of strategic goals that are defined by the words: Awareness, Prevention, Protection, Response, Recovery, Service, and Organizational Excellence. The goals are clearly stated publicly and the next step was laying out performance measure to evaluate the goals. Federal agencies are mandated by law under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) to set goals, measure performance, and report their accomplishments.

            On a report to President Bush and the Congress, the Gilmore Commission said, “the United States needs an improved homeland security strategy to strengthen security communities facing the greatest risk, improve the use of intelligence, increase the role of the state and local officials, and sharpen disaster response capabilities.”

            The Clinton and Bush Administrations had enacted 87 percent of the recommendations of the Gilmore Commission on security related matters. The Gilmore Commission was headed by former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III.

            The important recommendations of the Commission are as follows, “Combine all departmental grant making programs into a single entity in DHS; establish an interagency mechanism for homeland security grants, revise the homeland advisory system to include a regional alert system, training to emergency responders about preventive actions, and specific guidance to potentially affected regions; establish sustained funding to enhance EMS response capacity for acts of terrorism; and establish comprehensive procedures for sharing information with relevant state and local officials”

Conclusion: The Policy Choice, Output, and Effect (Creation of the Department of Homeland Security)

(DHS Coat of Arms, from Wikimedia Commons)

            The creation of DHS was an avowed public-policy statement of the federal government in protecting and securing the homeland. It was the pro-active approach of the Bush Administration on its domestic policy on terrorism. DHS carries all of the government’s anti-terrorism activities and programs.

            DHS was a product of the policy choice of the elected officials, and their policy output had resulted into the creation of the Department. On the other hand, the policy impact was the effect of both the policy choice and policy output, which is to protect and secure the homeland from another terrorist attacks. The process of establishing the DHS went through five stages and these are the: agenda setting, policy formulation, decision-making, implementation stage, and evaluation phase.

            To legitimize the policy choice of the Bush Administration, the legislative proposal H.R. 5005 was submitted to the Congress for enactment into law. The choice to confront the terrorists through a new government agency was not a result of an outburst of emotion over the tragic incidents of 9/11, rather, the choice to establish the DHS was the outcome of careful studies and recommendations made by congressional leaders, commissions, political think-tanks and by the Bush Administration. There were also insights and suggestions from the civil libertarians, union organizations and even from officials of the affected government offices. All were taken and reviewed for considerations during the public hearing.

            The policy output was the result of the policy choice made by the federal government. Quoting Peters again, he said, “Policy outputs are policy choices being put into action.” The choice to confront head-on the threats from homegrown and transnational terrorist groups had resulted in the formulation of counter-terrorism programs that will prepare, prevent, and respond to terrorist attacks. This policy output had resulted in the consolidation of 180,000 federal employees from around 50 agencies who are involved in homeland-security efforts.

            Policy output also means policy action of the government on anti-terrorism, such as the development and training of the DHS personnel on techniques in covert operations, improvement of the technological equipment in the field to monitor the activities of target personalities, and to maintain active coordination with the IC members.

            The policy effects--intended results of policy choice and policy output--have been the protection of the people from terrorist attacks and the apprehension of the terrorists operating inside the United States. Moreover, according to Peters, “the policy effects may be influenced by the success and failures of the policy choice and policy output.”

             DHS cannot win the fight on terrorism alone. The support and guidance of the originators of the policy (i.e., Bush Administration and the US Congress), were important ingredients in the success of its anti-terrorism programs. The homeland-security managers are given the important tasks of running the second biggest department in the federal government and the expectation for them to lead the agency in combating the terrorists has never been so great.


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