Challenges Associated With Protecting The Homeland And Balancing Privacy And Civil Liberties

Protecting The Homeland And Balancing Privacy And Civil Liberties

Of the documents reviewed in class (excluding the U.S. Constitution), which do you feel serves as the most important at this point in time?

The effectiveness of the United States response to the threat of terror is based on the success of various documents which facilitate and improve the homeland security’s ability to protect the nation (Lucas & McInnis, 2016). The effectiveness of security agencies in achieving their goal of a safe and secure nation is based on several statutes, presidential orders, and executive commands issued and implemented to institute the controls and the structures through which the federal government tackles the threat of terrorism (Whelan, 2016). Some of the documents that play a fundamental role in promoting the security of the nation include Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, National Security Strategy, Presidential executive orders, Immigration Act, and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan.

The Quadrennial Homeland Security Review is one of the most significant strategic documents in the Department of Homeland Security since it outlines the priorities and long-term strategies for homeland security (White, 2017). The review is forwarded to Congress after every four years in accordance with the law. However, before the review is handed over to the Congress, it is comprehensively and extensively revised for three years. To make sure that the review is both thorough, elaborate and inclusive, the Department of Homeland security consult a variety of stakeholders and experts both within and without the government. Therefore, the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review offers the strategic foundation to ascertain the preparedness of the Department to deal with any obstacles (Brady, 2015). On the other hand, a National Security Strategy is an essential framework crucial for a nation’s ability to address the fundamental requirements and security concerns of its citizens, as well as neutralize any exterior and interior threats to the nation.

Apart from concentrating on the efficiency of the agencies responsible for securing the nation, National Security Strategy integrates several significant features that ascertain the relevance, public legitimacy, and sustainability of the departments responsible for protecting the nation (Trump, 2017). Additionally, the National Security Strategy promotes execution and enhances the processes that ensure the safety of the nation. Executive directives, presidential memoranda, and declarations are normally utilised widely by Presidents to realize policy objectives, establish consistent models for overseeing the executive branch, or draft a strategy aimed at influencing the conduct of countries (Order, E. 2017). The United States Constitution neither describes these presidential devices nor does it clearly authorizes the President to utilize them. However, such directives are recognized as an intrinsic feature of presidential authority.

 Moreover, presidential directives are one of the most important tools used in securing the nation especially in times of crisis (Order, E. 2017). For instance, the president broadcasted several executive orders that offered the Department of homeland security with supplementary resources to effectively execute its objective of securing the nation in January 2017. Immigration Act also establishes guidelines meant to protect the borders of the nation from various threats. The mission outlined in the Immigration Act is implemented through the execution of federal statutes which concentrates on smart immigration implementation, thwarting terrorism and fighting the unlawful motion of people and goods. Since the nation’s overall well-being depends on safe and robust critical infrastructure—the resources, structures, and systems that reinforce American society (Alcaraz & Zeadally, 2015). The National Infrastructure Protection Plan sketches the frameworks that determine how the stakeholders in critical infrastructure can collaborate to minimize risks and accomplish objectives of securing the nation.

Evidently, the most important of the documents outlined above is evidently the National Security Strategy since it celebrates and protects individual liberty, the rule of law, tolerance, equitable opportunity and a democratic system of government (Trump, 2017). The National Security Strategy does more than making the United States safe, it establishes the right strategic direction for the nation which reiterates America’s sovereignty on the world stage in addition to facilitating the further growth of the nation. The national security strategy aims to ascertain the safety of the Americans and their lifestyle through securing the U.S borders and territories, ensuring the safety of Americans in the cyber era and encouraging American resilience. The National Security strategy facilitates American prosperity by focusing on the reconstruction of the domestic economy, being at the forefront of research and development (Lee & Park, 2019). The National security strategy also focuses on restoring America’s competitive advantages and advancing American influence all over the world.

When examining critical infrastructure, which sector possesses the biggest risk and what legal and ethical issues must the U.S. government consider when attempting to harden the target?

Critical infrastructure refers to infrastructure so essential that its incapacity would result in overwhelmingly adverse consequences on the nation’s defence and national security (Alcaraz & Zeadally, 2015). Critical infrastructure encompasses several sectors including water, public health, agriculture and food, transportation, emergency services, defence industry, postal and freight, banking and finance, chemicals and hazardous materials, energy, and telecommunications. Additionally, critical infrastructure also refers to several primary assets such as state testimonials and symbols, dams, viable vital properties, dams, nuclear reactors, and government facilities. Therefore, critical infrastructure protection is a significant part of ensuring national security (Radvanovsky & McDougall, 2018). Critical infrastructure protection refers to the tactics, guidelines, and readiness required to defend, avert, and return attacks on the vital factors to the national security and economy of a nation.

 The use of computers and communications have played a fundamental role in enhancing performance. However, the use of computers has also increased the interconnection and interdependence the critical infrastructure increasing the threat of a technological domino effect (Zio, 2016). Critical infrastructure structures have become progressively intricate and dependent on computer-based automated systems to ensure the non-stop processes of the critical systems. Therefore, it is evident that telecommunications are the most vulnerable critical infrastructure since it involves all categories of electronic communication devices including satellites, landline telephone, and wireless cellular communications such as voice, data, and Internet (Karabacak, Yildirim & Baykal, 2016). The internet is the hub that makes telecommunication one of the most vulnerable critical infrastructures since it is an international structure run by a loose collection of societies led by volunteers, unlike all the other critical infrastructures which are run by either appreciably controlled monopolies or entirely managed by the government.

 Apart from acting as a weapon and means of attacking other critical infrastructures, the IT infrastructure is an alluring target. Since a majority of the other critical infrastructure systems are rudimentarily linked to and dependent on the IT infrastructure for information dissemination and system controls, an attack on critical IT networks is likely to result in significant effects on the accessibility of essential goods and services such as food, water, and electricity in addition to leading to significant losses of income, intellectual property, and in some severe case even loss of life (Laugé, Hernantes & Sarriegi, 2015). For instance, the united states lose at least $200 million annually as a result of unauthorized action performed on an information system. Cyber threats to critical infrastructure systems are significantly different from physical attacks since computer systems could be easily attacked from anywhere in the world and the attacks cascade swiftly rendering the victims helpless. The range of cyber-threats encountered by various networks includes: solitary cyber-attack aimed at spreading viruses; heavily synchronized, multifaceted terrorist cyber-attacks that cuts the links between networks or completely collapses the networks, alter, erase, or expunges critical data within the networks; and synchronized, multifaceted cyber-attacks that actually obliterates the hardware and software components of the networks (Maglaras, Kim, Janicke, Ferrag, Rallis, Fragkou & Cruz, 2018). Nonetheless, the main concern is the risk of planned cyber-attacks that can incapacitate the country’s critical infrastructure, national security or economy.

Cyber-attacks present a distinctive array of legal and ethical inquiries since the traditional restrictions and regulations normally depend on the country in question (Mason, 2017). The main legal and ethical concerns encountered by the government in its mission to protect critical infrastructure systems from cyber-attacks include privacy, information protection, proprietorship safety, trust development, and the creation of appropriate standards. For the government to effectively secure and safeguard the critical infrastructure systems, they continuously need to obtain data from several networks. Consequently, they are likely to violate some communications privacy laws in addition to various ethical issues including utter disrespect for users’ privacy and improper use of the information obtained. One of the main obstacles faced by the government in protecting the critical infrastructure systems from cyber-attacks is the insufficient and ineffective legislation. Therefore, to remedy this situation, particular divisions are required within national law-enforcement organizations to create legislation that pinpoints and investigates possible cybercrimes (Conklin, White, Cothren, Davis & Williams, 2015). Additionally, the government should foster public trust and treat the public as their partner in fighting cyber-crime instead of alienating them. Therefore, to ensure that the government protects all the right of the citizens it is imperative that both law and ethics are respected.

Discuss the challenges associated with protecting the homeland and balancing privacy and civil liberties. Is there a conflict that exists between the law, ethics, and politics and does this present challenges in homeland security?

Homeland security authorities have to practically focus on realizing various fundamental counterterrorist goals (White, 2016). However, these goals can believably only diminish instead of eradicating terrorist threats but nevertheless, they have to be aggressively pursued. Some of the goals of homeland security that aid them in ensuring national security include disruption and prevention of local terrorist schemes from initializing their strategies, dissuasion of prospective activists from engaging in radical activism and political violence, implementation of regulations and divisions to establish an obliging counterterrorist atmosphere and mitigation of property destruction and human casualties (Beckman, 2016). Evidently, there is no particular process for realizing security which can be applied in every single set-up or terrorist situation. Consequently, the course utilized in creating counterterrorist systems has to comprise outlines founded on theory and practical necessity.

Theoretical outlines usually echo reverence for safeguarding human rights and consequently struggle to establish an equilibrium between the use of force and law enforcement options while still upholding human rights (Garcia & Geva, 2016). However, for these outlines to be pragmatic and applicable in the field, they have to be perpetually remodeled to counter the emerging terrorist threats. These adaptations make the control of terrorism possible to some degree since they keeping the terrorists off balance consequently preventing them from planning and executing their attacks unobstructed. However, for the homeland security to effectively secure the nation, counterterrorist regulations may be remodeled to enable the agencies to monitor the broadcasting of information from the media or participating in the scrutiny of private communications (Martin, 2016). For instance, to effectively carry out their mandate of protecting the nation the homeland security needs to regulate the media.

Considering that the war on terror is a war fought in the shadows, it is, therefore, apparent that it demands the utilization of unconventional strategies and processes. One of the unconventional tactics employed in the war on terror is an extraordinary rendition which refers to the covert abduction and detainment of suspected terrorist (Balzacq & Puybareau, 2018). However, this tactic is an affront to the human rights of the individual, therefore, it is apparent that for protection of the homeland the agencies sometimes have to violate the civil rights and privacy of some individuals. These methods have been highly controversial with international community rebuking the use of such methods. Additionally, there is an inherent struggle between the mandate to uphold human rights and the obligation of ensuring the safety of the homeland (Martin, 2016). This struggle is usually evident in animated political and ethical arguments centred on the procedures used in fulfilling both objectives. The struggle is also exhibited in the fact that at the times when the threat to national security is imminent, the security measures are widely acclaimed but are later debated over in retrospect.  

Currently, electronic surveillance has evolved into a contentious exercise in the United States. There is widespread concern that civil liberties could be endangered by unfettered interception of cellular phone talks, e-mail, facsimile, among other transmissions (Fennelly, 2016). In as much as the homeland security need to monitor electronic communication to pre-empt threats to national security such as misconduct, espionage, and terrorism. The monitoring of electronic communication of the citizen creates an opportunity to violate some rights of the citizen including privacy, liberty and personal security. Furthermore, the capacity and span of scrutiny by American intelligence organizations have provoked a countrywide discussion on civilian rights in an era of technological advancement which equips the regime with the ability to both amass and accumulates extensive quantities of private data on its citizens. The debate also touches on the technology which permits the police to comprehensively collect data on upright citizens. The data gathered can then be disseminated without supervision or the knowledge of the citizen. This creates a major ethical problem which sometimes makes it problematic for security agencies to maintain national security while also upholding the citizens’ civil rights (Martin, 2016). Currently, emergent technologies are shifting the rapport between the nation and its citizens, with the government and security agencies ability to monitor all the activities of the citizen with little regard to the citizens’ civil freedoms.

Critique the homeland security enterprise’s capability to meet emergent future challenges while balancing civil liberties.

The fundamental obligation of homeland security is to thwart any terrorist attack attempts within the United States of America (White, 2016). To achieve this objective without violating the civil rights of the same people they claim to be protecting, the department of homeland security can promote certain initiatives including encouraging community-based homeland security, improving communication with the public, and establishing a partnership with the private sector. The federal government strived to maintain homeland security through ratifying and initiating policies and programs that concentrate on federal aptitudes and obligations since September 11, 2001. Apart from some isolated Citizen Corp program, the government has not done much to include the citizen in homeland security initiatives (Martin, 2016). It is evident that including the public in establishing community-oriented homeland security schemes and strategies is vital for the acceptability, adoption, and the success of these strategies.

The public is usually eager and prepared to be a part of protecting their own nation by being a part of community-oriented efforts to handle and report any threats to national security (Metcalfe, Wolfe, Gertz & Gertz, 2016). The homeland security enterprise are capable of tackling new threats to national security while also upholding the civil liberties of the citizens  by establishing a community collaborative initiative  that involves all members of the community to identify  the threats, coming up with ways to deal with the threats and to creating plans for mitigating the effects of the disaster if it comes to pass. Generally, the public has to be a part of the development and execution of community-oriented homeland security programs and strategies (Martin, 2016). As a matter of fact, the department of homeland security needs to devote more resources to creating the mechanisms necessary for including the citizens in securing the nation.

For homeland security enterprise to handle the emergent threats to national security without violating the civil rights of the citizens, the homeland security needs to establish effective communication with the public. However, to improve the communication between the homeland security enterprise and the public, homeland security needs to consider some factors (Lansford, Covarrubias & Miller, 2016). First, the leadership at all levels of the government, ranging from the executive level to the local partners, must show commitment to the delivery of opportune and correct information to the people. This is especially helpful in the times of crisis such as response and recovery stages to a terrorist occurrence (Martin, 2016). Evidently, concealment of information at the time of crises has adverse effects on the psyche of the public in addition to creating distrust between the authorities and the public.

Conversely, freely sharing information with the public at the times of crisis engenders influence and power, particularly when the information is valuable and relevant to the ongoing crisis (Kapucu, Haupt, Yuksel, Guvenc & Saad, 2016). Sharing of information is fundamental for the homeland security enterprise to effectively tackle the emergent threats to national security since it plays a significant role in making the comprehensively understand the homeland security threat and to enthusiastically participate in homeland security initiatives. Second, officials at homeland security have to decide between sharing information before or after the terrorist event which has more value.  This is a precarious situation involving the timely sharing of information with the public without compromising sources of information (Martin, 2016). Therefore, the homeland security enterprise can effectively deal with the threats to national security while also upholding the civil liberties of the citizens by striking a balance between the rival necessity for the public to have apt and precise information and the need to protect information sources.

Finally, the departments responsible for securing the nation should devote more resources to a deeper comprehension of the basic terrorist threats faced by the nation and establishing a communication plan that educates and makes the public aware of these threats (Burns, 2018). For homeland security enterprise to successfully mitigate the emergent threats to national security it must initiate and establish a partnership with the business sector. This partnership can play a significant role in imparting some knowledge on the homeland security agency on how to effectively handle the citizens’ information without violating the citizen’s civil rights (Martin, 2016). Therefore, it is evident that national security can be secured without violating the civil rights


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