Protecting the American Homeland

Protecting the American Homeland: One Year On

Michael E. O’Hanlon
Peter R. Orszag
Ivo H. Daalder
I. M. Destler
David L. Gunter
Robert E. Latin
James B. Steinberg
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 2
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Protecting the American Homeland
    Book Description:

    A good deal has been done to improve the safety of Americans on their own soil since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Yet there have been numerous setbacks. The Bush administration and Congress wasted at least six months in 2002 due to partisan disagreement over a new budget for homeland security, and as one consequence, resources were slow to reach first responders across the country. Most improvements in homeland security have focused on "refighting the last war" -improving defenses against attacks similar to those the country has already suffered. Not enough has been done to anticipate possible new kinds of terrorist actions. Policymakers have also focused too much attention on the creation of a department of homeland security -rather than identifying and addressing the kinds of threats to which the country remains vulnerable. While the creation of a cabinet-level agency focusing on homeland security may have merit, the authors of this study argue that the department will not, in and of itself, make Americans safer. To the contrary, the complexity of merging so many disparate agencies threatens to distract Congress and the administration from other, more urgent security efforts. This second edition of Protecting the American Homeland urges policymakers to focus on filling key gaps that remain in the current homeland security effort: identifying better protection for private infrastructure; using information technology to share intelligence and more effectively "connect the dots" that could hold hints to possible terrorist tactics; expanding the capacities of the Coast Guard and Customs Service, as well as airline transportation security; dealing with the possible threat of surface-to-air missiles to airliners; and encouraging better coordination among intelligence agencies. While acknowledging the impossibility of preventing every possible type of terrorist violence, the authors recommend a more systematic approach to homeland security that focuses on preventing attacks that can cause large numbers of casualties, massive economic or societal disruption, or severe political harm to the nation.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-6454-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    The tragic events of September 11 took more than 3,000 lives, caused about $100 billion in direct and indirect economic losses, plunged the United States and many allies and coalition partners into war, and produced substantial increases in security spending.¹ That date is already among the most important in the nation’s history, and its policy implications will reverberate for many years, if not decades. In this book, we ask how vulnerable the United States is to further terrorist attacks and what can realistically be done to protect the nation without unduly impeding its economic prosperity or way of life.


  5. 2 Securing America’s Perimeter
    (pp. 13-34)

    Apart from offensive uses of military and intelligence assets overseas to thwart terrorists before they even approach U.S. shores, perimeter defense offers the first line of homeland security against a terrorist attack. It is intended to prevent terrorists and threatening objects from gaining access to the nation, whether by air, sea, road, or rail, or on foot.¹ Table 2-1 lists the major areas of potential defensive activity, and table 2-2 presents our specific suggested policy steps in each.

    Many of these steps could incur substantial economic costs, since they would increase waiting times for people (and goods) at the borders...

  6. 3 Preventive Measures within the United States
    (pp. 35-50)

    A single line of defense along the country’s borders, while important and worthy of significant improvements, is inadequate in this age of terrorism. The United States needs more than just perimeter defenses to protect itself. Terrorists unknown to the intelligence community could enter the country; terrorists need not be foreigners; weapons could be acquired here, or in some cases sneaked in despite the best efforts of a revamped Customs Service; and other holes in the outer line of defenses would surely exist as well, even after many improvements were carried out.

    Even if a terrorist were to evade the nation’s...

  7. 4 Protecting Targets within the United States
    (pp. 51-66)

    To ensure adequate homeland security, the preventive measures discussed to this point—limiting access to the country, tracking terrorists, and protecting materials that could be used in a terrorist attack—must be supplemented with the protection of the targets themselves. Protection poses two key problems—the nearly infinite number of feasible targets and the fact that protecting some sites might simply shift risk to other unprotected targets, thus negating much or all of the benefit despite significant costs. Given this displacement effect, we argue that the priority should be to protect targets where a successful attack would impose substantial national...

  8. 5 Consequence Management
    (pp. 67-76)

    This chapter takes up the fourth element of our homeland security concept—how the nation can mitigate the costs of a terrorist attack should one occur, also known as consequence management. Some progress has been made in preparing for chemical and conventional attacks under the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici program initiated in the mid-1990s, though more needs to be done in that arena as well. More recently, there has been a growing concern about responding to a biological attack. Table 5-1 presents the major areas of vulnerabilities and table 5-2 the options for addressing them. For the types of efforts considered here, Bush...

  9. 6 Principles for Providing and Financing Homeland Security
    (pp. 77-98)

    Now that we have outlined a specific homeland security agenda, the next question to address is who should implement and pay for the proposed measures? The basic issue here is which measures should be the responsibility of the federal, state, and local governments, on one hand, and the private sector, on the other. We provide some broad principles in this regard but emphasize that specific policy responses depend on the sector and institutional setting (see chapters 2–5 for the policy steps relevant in each setting).

    Assigning responsibility for homeland security, as in other areas, can be problematic because the...

  10. 7 Organizing for Success
    (pp. 99-124)

    Ultimate success in protecting the American homeland against terrorist attack will depend to a significant extent on how the U.S. government is organized to meet this threat.¹ As Dwight D. Eisenhower famously remarked at the end of his long and distinguished career, although “organization cannot make a genius out of an incompetent, . . . disorganization can scarcely fail to result in inefficiency and can easily lead to disaster.”² The organizational challenge of homeland security is profound, for there are few government activities that are at once so crucial and so difficult to manage. Responsibility is widely dispersed, not only...

  11. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 125-132)

    The nation’s response to the September 11 terrorist attacks has been energetic and impressive. From relief workers at home and abroad to military personnel in Afghanistan to those who lost family members in the attacks, Americans have shown courage and resolve. The Bush administration, the Congress, and countless state and local governments have taken urgent and major steps to reduce the country’s vulnerability to further acts of terrorism.

    Most homeland security steps to date, and the Bush administration’s proposed budget for 2003, focus on preventing repeats of the September 11 attacks as well as the subsequent anthrax attacks and previous...

  12. APPENDIX A The Legal Liability System
    (pp. 133-136)
  13. APPENDIX B The Bush Homeland Security Budget
    (pp. 137-146)
  14. APPENDIX C Funding to Combat Terrorism, Past and Future
    (pp. 147-150)
  15. APPENDIX D The Coast Guard
    (pp. 151-154)
  16. APPENDIX E The National Guard
    (pp. 155-156)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 157-178)
  18. Contributors
    (pp. 179-180)
  19. Index
    (pp. 181-188)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 189-189)