The numerous technological advances in security systems in recent years have created new opportunities for growth, for improved operational capabilities, and for both legal and moral complications. Question: What is the dividing line between improved security and personal privacy - or is there one?
The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks against the WTC Towers & the Pentagon theoretically "galvanized the nation" - but it still took roughly three years before the 9/11 Commission recommended the development and promulgation of "private-sector preparedness standards." Another six years have passed, and three of those standards are ready (almost) for review, certification, and publication in their final form. Why did it take so long?
Two major new DHS (Department of Homeland Security) publications are now available to help federal officials throughout the country tighten the physical security of the office buildings, warehouses, and - literally - hundreds of thousands of other taxpayer-funded federal facilities entrusted to their care.
From the glory days of the Roman empire to the space age the mandatory width of a public road had to be "enough to accommodate two horses pulling a chariot and trotting side by side" - or so the story goes. Today, the setting of minimum widths, sizes, etc. - plus numerous qualitative intangibles - is much more complex, but also much more important.
Protection of the nation's "critical infrastructure" has long been one of the highest priorities of senior officials at all levels of government. After 9/11, response and recovery started to receive equal billing. Now comes belated recognition that "resilience" also is needed - and should be built into construction projects at every step of the way from dream to reality.
Lightning strikes are sudden and spectacular, highly visible, and extremely violent. Not to mention lethal. Bacteria and viruses are just the opposite - totally invisible, in fact. But they kill many more people, in every country in the world, year after year than lightning does. It may be helpful to learn a bit more about them - and about how to deal with them.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutullab was walking, almost literally, in the footsteps of Richard Reid when he tried to detonate an "underwear" bomb aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009. Additional jihadist attacks are inevitable - unless and until the United States changes its supposedly egalitarian screening process in favor of a more common-sense approach.
Contrary to Secretary Napolitano's rather politicized assertion that "the [U.S. aviation security] system worked," it definitely did NOT work. But it could be made immensely more effective - less costly as well - if certain common-sense, albeit politically difficult, changes were made. Beginning immediately, and starting at the top.
The numerous presidential directives and policy documents issued since the 9/11 terrorist attacks have focused on various specialized areas of homeland-security and counterterrorism operations and activities. Many of those "specialized areas" are closely interrelated in their separate but complementary goals and objectives, though, and when used in combination can achieve some synergistically beneficial results.
Most discussions about protection of the U.S. "critical infrastructure" focus on power plants, government buildings, nuclear facilities, and other high-value "things." It says here that people, U.S. citizens, both government workers and the general public - human assets, in other words - also need protection and, in fact, should be at the top of the list.