The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote for my master’s program in Homeland Security,
entitled “Technology Soluti...
emergencies there are three major problems first responders face every mission. First,
information about the incident is n...
effectiveness of current methods. DHS will have to develop partnerships with private
organizations, NGO’s, and other types...
repayment of funds is proportionate to the amount given if the contract is not met and/or
canceled, taking the second or t...
Actual policy guidelines included: Defining specific targets and conducting operations against
them, Use of Drones in inte...
of 5


Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - Prichard_WritingSample1

  • 1. The following is an excerpt from a paper I wrote for my master’s program in Homeland Security, entitled “Technology Solutions in DHS; the Fiscal, Ethical, Moral, Legal Implications and its Effectiveness”. June 10, 2013 Identification and assessment of alternative policies to address a HLS technology challenge: As long as there are legal, ethical, and moral issues with any of the policies implemented by DHS there will be individuals looking for alternatives. Challenges mentioned above dictate the ability of technology to gather information and assess that information to provide usable intelligence. The task of government is to create a cohesive structure and search out alternative technology that could affect the security of the nation. The policy’s ability to adhere to legal/moral/ethical issues itself, and other challenges it presents is of upmost importance. If a current policy does not meet this standard then alternatives must be sought out, weighed, and measured by the same standard from which the previous policy failed. There is no perfect solution and threats will also continue to morph, therefore, policy and technology solutions must be ready to change gears and adapt to new threats. At best, alternative policies and technologies allow for newer methods to combat a morphing threat, and at worst, creating alternative policies and technology will show why the current structure is the best solution available to combat the threat. Homeland Security (HLS) has been given an increasing amount of responsibility in the realm of protecting borders, protecting Critical Infrastructure (CI), and assisting first responders in preparation for, responding to, and recovering from incidents. This is no small task and as such the answers do not present themselves easily. This is a process that may require steps backwards and/or many revisions to policy and protocol currently in place. The single largest problem with protecting CI is that more than 80% of all national CI is privately owned and as such cannot be mandated to comply with DHS standards. Legislation does not allow for governmental intervention of private industry, even when those industries are vital to the American way of life. DHS does provide tax incentives and price breaks to infrastructure that does comply with written policy and coordinates its efforts with local responders. It is to their benefit to do so, though it is not required. For some CI it is cheaper to stay vulnerable, wait for the attack, collect money from DHS for response and recovery, and then collect insurance money, which is a major concern for those that depend upon that specific piece of CI. Government must find a way to enact policies that enable CI providers to join in their defense and work together, creating a cohesive network without infringing upon the rights of the private sector to conduct business the way they see fit. Since this is the single most problematic portion of protecting CI, DHS must find a way to protect them without interfering in their daily business. Increasing security measures around CI, hardening the power grids they rely on, and boosting cyber securities to the networks and platforms they use instead of changing the CI itself is one of the best methods for protecting CI without changing their core habit and business actions. First Responders run into challenges as well. As a member of Search and Rescue team, training advisor for military specialties and a previous wilderness first responder/EMT to river and alpine
  • 2. emergencies there are three major problems first responders face every mission. First, information about the incident is not always what is actually happening. Firsthand information is not always correct. People tend to over or under react when detailing the incident and details about the facility or area are not always known which means that hazards are not always identified prior to arrival. These factors leave first responders potentially unprepared for the situation and special teams of hazmat and/or rescue were not called up or placed on standby, lowering the effectiveness of response. Second, budget cuts are responder’s worst nightmare. During times of economic hardship or downsizing the emergency management budget is usually an area where funding gets cut. Training and equipment budgets are lowered to save money, especially when there have been no real emergencies in recent memory to remind the budget council of the ramifications of not being prepared. This also places responders in danger because they have not trained enough to have their systems dialed and their unified effort/support/cooperation with other responder agencies are seriously lacking because they have no budget to do joint training. Third, communications equipment and information dissemination about roles and responsibilities is not laterally compatible for multiple responder agencies on joint or unified command style missions. During joint missions communication internally as well as laterally is imperative. Unified command and control style structures may not have the resources to share time sensitive information and/or promote healthy communications during an incident. This creates redundant steps, double work, wasted resources, extra time to mitigate an issue, and difficulty tracking all parties and their mission in a real-time fashion. CI and First Responders, out of necessity, must support the mission of DHS internally, not only to create tax breaks for private business and funding for disaster response and recovery, but to promote a national framework for unified and coordinated response and recovery. Though regions and jurisdictions may not face the same threats, the process for mitigating them is relatively the same. Along those same lines is support for the external protection of borders, ports of entry, and all CI means less of a burden on our CI. By promoting the security of all we lessen the burden on ourselves, allow for the sharing of costs so that response in times of need can be as effective as possible. It also allows increased understanding for the methods of other response agencies so that command and control structures are similar enough to seamlessly integrate in times of need. Respective roles of the public and private sectors in developing, employing, and funding HLS technologies: While it seems that budgetary issues and the lack of large scale terrorist activities have caused Congress to lower the overall working budget of DHS, it is important to remember that tangible results are easily measured and weighed. Many of the issues that DHS has faced since 9/11 have caused a swelling of expenses in terms of cyber security, R&D, and many other project appropriations. Now that the mental shock and memory of 9/11 have subsided, it now becomes a matter of what actually needs to happen, out of necessity, in order to stay safe by preventing another 9/11 event and over spending for no reason. DHS has become the mountain of domestic security. It now includes Coast Guard, CBP, TSA, FEMA, and other organizations that have R&D or project development expenses. These other mandatory operations constitute the bulk of the DHS budget and as funding dwindles it becomes much harder for DHS to fund research and new technology initiatives. Drawing back funds from DHS is inevitable and DHS must now attempt to maintain an edge over threats by increasing
  • 3. effectiveness of current methods. DHS will have to develop partnerships with private organizations, NGO’s, and other types of agencies to assist in this maintenance and progression. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate would suffer the largest blow from cut backs of the current 400 million dollar budget. “It is basically a decision not to have an S&T directorate,” Tara O’Toole, undersecretary of the division for Science and Tech said during a meeting to discuss the budget cuts. O’Toole also added that, “There would be no money for any of that,” meaning that the budget would not support any of the functions that her department is directly responsible for. This, potentially, leaves a large whole in the comprehensive coverage network that DHS has attempted to build. The directorate would be left with $45 million to support all R&D investments, which would only fund Transportation Security Administration projects, she said. Cybersecurity, chemical-biological, border security, cargo security and first responder research would “all go away.” O’Toole continued by saying that, “DHS is the only department that carries out research and development for first responder technologies.” As the only department responsible for this task it would also leave the NIMS and ICS systems lacking in their response to natural disasters like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and manmade disasters. While there are other agencies with budgets of their own that can be given responsibility over cyber technology innovation and protection, there is no other agency currently responsible for the guidelines for first responder training, research and policy. Should the United States stay on the current course of technological investment? This review finds that there must be a homeostatic balance to technology innovation and the monetary costs to fund innovation. While it seems naïve to cut funding all together and leave the country unprepared, it is also unwise to continue to blindly throw money toward R&D with no foresight or regulations for return on investment. DHS and the government must find a way to employ current technologies and resources in the most efficient and effective way possible while budgets are hashed out in Congress. Draw backs to funding is a wise course of action, if it is done slowly and responsibly. This reduction in technology investment will assist in the reformation of policy and the streamlining of current processes with wasted resources. Should the United States abandon current development in favor of an alternative strategy? Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security, said in a speech a week after the hearing that DHS will have to show near- term results. “How we do research and development has to change because of the current economic environment,” he said. The department will have to invest with clear, definable goals and it can’t “just throw money blindly at projects.” Contracting, bidding and other forms of R&D that the government currently participates in are not designed to be economically or fiscally responsible. Changes must be made to the Defense and Security budget, contracting and bidding policy, along with other related protocol that are in need of reform and revision. There are many ways in which this could be done but problems with bidding for government contracts is a main issue due to underbidding to win the contracts. Then when that dollar amount is reached they receive more money from congress to continue an over budget project. Placing limits on additional appropriations, writing in clauses where the
  • 4. repayment of funds is proportionate to the amount given if the contract is not met and/or canceled, taking the second or third lowest bid and not the cheapest, having a third party do the contracting outside of control of politicians, choosing two companies and allowing them (without funds) to produce a working model presentation and disclosure of all costs associated prior to awarding the contract, and other such methods of budget/contraction/bidding refinements could be made so that defense and security budgets are less frivolous and more fiscally responsible. Responsibilities can be given to other agencies outside of DHS for protection missions and technology monitoring. Changes in mission objectives for the FBI and the CIA could pick up the slack for monitoring threats domestically as they are already setup to transition into this role. Coast Guard missions can be rolled back to monitoring high traffic areas and a response only status with larger and less frequent exercises. Installation of workable monitoring stations along the Mexican border in combination with dog teams and other low tech options like seismic detection, mobile monitoring stations, trail cameras, and smell deterrent mentioned previously will limit the use of large monitoring systems, lowering the CBP budget requirements. Lastly, a general sense of fiscal responsibility from senior level authorities and Congressional members wishing to only facilitate their own advancement instead of the security of the nation would easily allow for cooperation and less conflict among policy and decision makers were wasteful spending begins. Excerpt from Conclusion Conclusion: Efforts to lower the overall budget requirements for DHS and look at the business model of the government in general to locate wasteful spending practices must be a priority. Reports and analysis can be generated that details companies that consistently overshoot their projected costs on awarded contracts so they can be eliminated from bidding or a revising of contracting laws should take place. Changes should focus more on assisting all levels of DHS, from local responder agencies to federal entities by taking their budgets and cut wasted spending by 40% over a 2 year period. These measures would allow for a lower overall budget appropriation to be needed in DHS and assist in the fiscal responsibility of all budgets in regard to the security of the nation. The U.S. CT Strategy is a broad and comprehensive set of guidelines that dictate the way America conducts itself against terrorism; as such they are an integral part of the system. This system relies heavily on technology solutions to stay ahead of those who wish to do harm to America and her assets. It is a multi-faceted approach where in-depth looks at domestic tensions, international aggressions, extremist intentions, civil liberties of American citizens, and country to country information and assistance is combined for an all-sides approach to countering terrorist action against America and her assets. On May 23, 2013 the President gave a long speech covering his plan for the Executive Branch, Congress, and specific Department of Defense agencies actions on this matter. While the majority of this speech discussed specific ways America will, or should, attempt to combat terrorism via technology, it also discussed ways in which it could promote good will and education to countries where extremist groups find shelter.
  • 5. Actual policy guidelines included: Defining specific targets and conducting operations against them, Use of Drones in international areas, Oversight and regulation, Diplomatic Engagement and Assistance, and Civil Liberties Protection. America is dedicated to, “Thwarting homegrown plots”, which is difficult because it, “ presents particular challenges in part because of our proud commitment to civil liberties for all who call America home (White House, 2013).” It is this balance that the American government and its people are struggling to find. It is imperative that government not neglect domestic hostilities as well because they are increasing and growing more lethal, but it is also crucial that government not interfere with fundamental rights of citizens. This is the cornerstone of American CT policy. The President said, “Citizenship will not be used as a shield”, though it has been in the past and a happy medium of disclosure, protection of rights, and quality information must be negotiated. Technology is fundamentally integrated into every aspect of war, information sharing, security measures, and monitoring. It cannot be taken out of the equation without serious consequences and setbacks. But technology is only as good, as moral, and as ethical as the persons employing that technology and therein lay core concerns. With a call for integration, communication, and other information sharing technology it is imperative that the U.S. protect itself from prying eyes and unintentional disclosure via other security and technology methods. However, with great the reliance upon technology comes dependence which breeds blind trust and faith in a system without a moral or ethical center and that is why Human oversight and decision making power will always be needed. Terrorism and technology will always be connected. Ways must be found to secure American borders, CI network and its interests while lowering the overall perception and actual invasion of rights, privacy, and ideals. Technology may hold the answer but the answer ultimately resides in the human oversight of that technology.

Related Documents