table of contents
The Sustainability Challenge of Setting of the Right Priorities
The Sustainability Challenge of the Possible Resurfacing of an Earlier Concern
Other Minor Sustainability Challenges
Adoption of relevant trends in policing
Dual-use and leveraging
Adoption of resilient law enforcement operational strategies
September 11, 2001 remains an historic phenomenon in the history of the United States, as well as the whole world. In retrospect, the 9/11 terrorists’ attack on Pentagon and the World Trade Center changed the perception on terrorism and national security. In the pre-9/11, the aspect of homeland defense did not receive immense attention from a majority of people, and even some security agencies. Grannis (2002) reaffirms this aspect by stating that approaches to counter terrorism were relatively missing. Only few government officials, think tank experts and academia showed interest in programs that focused on maintaining sustainability on domestic preparedness. Consequently, the U.S. Government in entirety did not consider domestic preparedness as one of the key priorities. However, the unprecedented terrorists’ attack by the nineteen hijackers in New York and Washington, as well as the subsequent biological attack, raised concerns on instruments of national power including intelligence, diplomacy and law enforcement ( Grannis, 2002). Prior to the attacks, al-Qaida’s were training thousands of terrorist recruits in Afghanistan under Iraq’s sponsorship, yet such aspects that threatened international security received little attention from the global security agencies (9/11 Five Years later, 2006). As such, it is apparent that sustainability on both domestic and international preparedness encompassed several challenges. In contrast, this aspect has changed in the post-9/11 in which the U.S. spending on homeland security has been increasing every year since 2001. However, the exclusive focus on counterterrorism approaches, in order to avert other terrorist attacks seems to have diverged the focus to domestic preparedness. It is explicit that the current security climate is characterized by extensive national security programs with a decreased focus on dual-use and all-hazard approaches to domestic preparedness. This presents a significant post-9/11 sustainability challenge. Therefore, this paper aims at providing a comprehensive analysis on post-9/11 sustainability challenges and present appropriate recommendations.
In order to project the issue of sustainability challenges to domestic preparedness, a comprehensive overview of the preparedness level in the pre-9/11 is necessary. Such a critical evaluation of pre-9/11 domestic preparedness unearths weaknesses in the key approaches that form the roots of the current challenges. Overall, challenges in the sustainability of domestic preparedness are explicit in pre-9/11 and post-9/11 eras.
Domestic preparedness programs in the U.S. dates back to 1996 when the Defense against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act was enacted to counter terrorist attacks. This legislation was prompted by a number of terrorist attacks on Americans. Some of the terrorist attacks that prompted the introduction of domestic preparedness are the 1995 attack in Oklahoma City and that of New York City in 1993. Therefore, domestic preparedness programs are aimed at enhancing counterterrorism security approaches, especially in relation to weapons of mass destruction [WMD] (Grannis, 2002). Initially, domestic preparedness comprised of multiagency programs including local, state and federal programs. However, the composition of domestic preparedness programs has changed remarkably to include a wide array of security perspectives. For instance, domestic preparedness involves the training and equipping of homeland security personnel, primarily the first responders. First responders refer to the security team that provides an immediate response to an attack involving weapons of mass destruction. This team of first responders comprises of firefighters, emergency medical personnel, police officers, HazMat personnel, emergency operations workers, and public health personnel. On the other hand, domestic preparedness entails developing and maintaining appropriate security responses. Foremost, it focuses on enhancing federal response capabilities.
In retrospect, it is apparent that there was little progress in promoting domestic preparedness since the inception of domestic preparedness programs in 1996 and 2001 when the 9/11 terrorists attack occurred. This sustainability challenge was attributable to the low level of coordination between governmental stakeholders and the first responders. From a national preparedness lens, it is apparent that the degradation of program sustainability and operational preparedness created an immense challenge to domestic preparedness. Ideally, operational readiness entails the quick and efficient response to an event, especially a natural disaster and terrorist attack by the first responders. In order to attain operational readiness, there is need to ensure that all personnel constituting the team of first responders are trained, adequately. They should also adopt best practices in their operations. Unfortunately, the scattering of federal assets that are intended to enhance local WMD response capabilities created problems in the use of equipment, training time and diverted attention to domestic preparedness.
On the other hand, program sustainability experienced immense challenges that compromised domestic preparedness in pre-9/11 era. From a theoretical approach, program sustainability can be defined as the aspect of holding domestic preparedness as a key policy priority, ensuring effective implementation of preparedness programs and the maintenance of adequate funding (Grannis, 2002). During the pre-9/11 era, federal funding of domestic preparedness had decreased significantly. This was prompted by the absence of a terrorist attack in the U.S. since 1995, and the federal government’s lack of priority to domestic preparedness was evidenced by the shifting of attention to few aspects of homeland security, primarily at local levels. As a result, the poor federal support to domestic preparedness program compromised program sustainability at local levels, thus creating a gap in the entire system.