Threats in an uncertain world
The last terrorism attack on the United States was sudden and it took everyone by surprise. This brought out the fundamental question of preparation and there was deep concern on the efficiency of our systems to protect us. One fact that came out clearly is that such incidences are difficult to predict and the best the government can do is to have structures put in place that guarantee optimum preparation such that in case the acts of such nature do take place, then it becomes possible to offer real protection
Indeed, there are many things that we have done and achieved as a country for protection against terrorism. All these are especially aimed at ensuring that we are effectively prepared with all systems on the go, ready to counteract the slightest of moves that is sensed from any angle. The homeland security received the first attention specifically because it was largely determined that it had a lot of imperfections that substantially led to the success of the “9/11” attacks. The very first action that took place was the signing of the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 3 by President Bush in 2002. This led to the creation of the Homeland Security Advisory system with the main function of effecting solid communication among the citizens, agencies and governments ; centered on all manner of risks associated with terrorist activities. In this regard, the risk levels of terrorism are measured on the basis of five major levels of threats from Green which denotes low condition to Red which signifies extremely severe condition. There are specific responsibilities and duties that are associated with each and every level and it is the ultimate role of all companies, local and federal governments to ensure that all their respective employees do receive adequate training on these measures; coupled with satisfactory practice.
Infrastructure is another key area in which much has been done. Public systems of transportation have undergone enhanced security and tight surveillance measures. Monitoring of buildings has been given a lot of attention especially in airports and subway stations where entrances are now installed with sensors and television applications for purposes of detecting materials of biological, radiological and chemical composition. You will now find more elaborate patrolling mechanisms involving sniffing dogs and staff in addition to random checks. Networks with rapid response capabilities have been put in place so as to minimize the level of casualties and there are also fire detectors and emergency phones in these locations. In case of victims trapped in dangerous places after an attack, there are ready rescue vehicles that will come to their aid and they have special exits to ease the process of evacuation. In 2004, the US-VISIT international boarder security program was launched. The function of this program is to identify foreigners at the boarders by use of database checks, photography and fingerprints. Several items have been banned from passengers in airports by the Transport Security Administration. These include knives and guns which can be potentially harmful and the concerned people will not be allowed to enter with them. Other items that cannot have the slightest chance of passing through the security points are lighters(Wang 2005).The Computerized Knowledge Assessment (CKA) also referred to as brainwave fingerprinting has been highly recommended as an appropriate tool for use in screening. This is a sophisticated one because it has the ability to comprehend whether a particular person has the slightest of knowledge about any terrorist group, its activities or the features of the terrorists’ training base in any part of the world. Currently the tool is only able to achieve the analytical aspect, where the investigators can then be provided with leading pieces of information which upon analysis can deliver the true existing picture of the terrorists and their activities (Allison, n.d).
The United States has also made major steps in having other international bodies on board to work with them in combating terrorism and getting more ready should such acts occur again. This is upon the recognition and acknowledgement that when such acts of terrorism take place in the United States, the effects actually spread across the world and many people are affected indirectly. This has therefore called for a concerted effort from the International bodies which then provide a link to most parts of the world. This is seen as a way of having a unified approach towards terrorism especially not just as a concern of the United States per se but that of all the world economies. Some of the notable international organizations that have affirmed support for the efforts of protection against terrorism include the European Union, The Organization of African Unity, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the United Nations and the Organization of American States among others who have given assurance of good will and support. NATO has given nod to the use of its facilities like airspace and logistics by the United States airforces in Europe. This also involves high level sharing of intelligence information. The invocation of article 5 did allow NATO’s AWACS surveillance planes to make constant patrol of the American skies (Taylor 2001). Generally all these steps and numerous others are excellent steps towards a more prepared America for uncertainties surrounding the activities of terrorism.
However, despite the efforts that have been undertaken by the government and citizens to some extent, there is still much that we need to do so as to be prepared to the optimum. One aspect of the American setting that has bothered many concerned people is the nature of openness and degree of freedom that exists in the United States. Immigration in particular has been singled out as something that needs to be considered and tighter measures be placed. There is need to make the borders more secure through enhanced scrutiny of the people who enter the United States. It is a fact that if any criminal activities are committed in the United States by a foreigner, then he or she must have been granted unchecked entrance in the first place. By ensuring that those who enter are purely checked, then chances of terrorism arising from this end will be reduced. Most Americans agree that illegal immigration must receive 100 percent crackdown (Chertoff & Hamilton, 2009). Other than the initiatives by America as a country, there is also need to cooperate with other countries across the world so that terrorism becomes a comprehensive problem that must be handled together since it can emerge from anywhere. In this regard, it will be a great idea if America reconsidered the huge resources and effort that are being diverted to countries like Iraq. While these resources are justified in use, it is equally important that coordination be improved elsewhere in order to develop a solid approach in the long term. On this front therefore, the new Obama Administration must be more willing to share terrorism information with other countries that can be deemed trustworthy and on just course to fight terrorism. This will make a major step towards making the preparation for terrorism a global approach hence becoming easy to handle (Millar and Rosnad, 2007).
In conclusion, terrorism is uncertain and while we cannot tell when it will happen again, it pays to be fully prepared such that whenever it happens it meets total resistance. The various steps that have been accomplished in the course of preparing against such acts and protecting the country against terrorist attacks are commendable indeed. Since the sad occurrences of the 9/11, the government has undertaken radical measures to protect its citizens against suffering of this kind in the future. For optimum preparation and protection, there is still much that needs to be done in addition to constant improvements so as to ensure that all counterterrorism systems are current and efficient. For this to be sufficiently achieved, the responsibility does not stop with the government alone but rather all the citizenry will need to be more proactive in making positive contributions towards protection against terrorism. A secure country means a secure environment for all and its attainment must always remain our ultimate goal.