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AARON BECKER 

Here’s the thing, in my Week 1 Forum I addressed a major concern of mine. This concern surfaced after the investigation into the 9/11 attacks. Since the change in national security efforts over the last 17 years, the perspectives portrayed by the 9/11 Commission have guided our Nation’s Intelligence Community (IC) and the strategies and legislation put into place to prevent another chaotic event. Basically, this class confirmed what we all have learned by now: 9/11 could have been prevented. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is more enhanced technology, better information exchange, and advanced training are some issues which ushered in a blatant attack under the radar.
 

The United States Government does deserve some credit. There have been nearly 20 years of research, special panels, investigative committees, funding grants, training guidelines, new government entities, and so much more which have helped to contribute to a more effective fight against terror. In fact, much of the change has begun to focus on terror prevention, rather than a centralized approach on how to respond to attacks.
 

This forum asks us to state whether or not our opinions have changed since we began this course to now. I have to say, my opinion has changed somewhat for the better. When I first began this journey into the study of Homeland and National Security, I had no idea the changes that had taken place since 9/11. In regards to my specific area of interest, I have gained more knowledge about what is actually going on. I believe the government has been making a concerted effort to ensure that law enforcement agencies are privy to pertinent matters of national security. When I know it seems the most valuable information will never be trusted in the hands of those without Top Secret clearances, I cannot help but feel this may be a barrier between responding to attacks and the ability to prevent them in the first place.
 

My first post mentioned the idea that law enforcement training academies have been uprooted, and the training has seen a trend toward national security efforts (Flores, 2012). In fact, when I went through the academy over 2 years ago, I recall some training about criminal profiling and crime statistics that would reveal certain aspects of those who make terrorist watch lists. Additionally, local projects such as Business Partners Against Terrorism (BPAT) have been implemented and altered into national models. These models have been spread throughout the nation as Fusion Centers, which act as central hubs for information exchange between law enforcement and security agencies at all levels of the government (Schaible & Sheffield, 2012).
 

References
 

Flores, Y. (2012). Homeland security: The community college role in law enforcement training and readiness. Journal of Homeland Security Education, 1(1), 41.
 

Schaible, L. M., & Sheffield, J. (2012). Intelligence-led policing and change in state law enforcement agencies.Policing,35(4), 761-784. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy1.apus.edu/10.1108/13639511211275643

Trevor Caldwell 

In week one, you were asked to describe two strengths and two weaknesses you’ve discovered about homeland security in your previous studies.  Now that you completed your program with the completion of this course, has your opinion been altered on any perceived strengths or weaknesses of DHS?  Explain your answer by sharing your insights?
Referring to the beginning of the course, the two strengths I mentioned were the information sharing capabilities and overall national preparedness. Throughout the duration of this course, I haven’t come across any information that has led me to think any different. Though we didn’t exactly cover these two topics in detail, I am, however, in another course (HLSS212) that hits on national preparedness a little more in the CBRNE realm. The course helped me understand preparedness efforts, such as how radiological materials are monitored by the Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) and how agroterrorism impacts the United States and what we are currently doing to prevent attacks on food and agriculture (to name a few). Gearing more toward my new knowledge from this course, Week 6 briefly addressed preparedness and how the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) builds national preparedness documents. Learning the purpose of the SNRA (Strategic National Risk assessment) added another great point to my noted strength of national preparedness. The use of this document aides DHS in developing the National Preparedness Goal by assessing all noted risks to the United States in distinct categories (DHS, 2011). Interestingly enough, this document also supported the strength of information sharing in stating that it’s intended “to promote the ability for all levels of government to share common understanding and awareness of National threats and hazards and resulting risks so that they are ready to act and can do so independently but collaboratively” (DHS, 2011, p. 1). Which essentially hits both of the strengths I mentioned in one swing.
The two weaknesses I mentioned in Week 1 were CBRNE security efforts, specifically biological weapons defense, and border control. My view on CBRNE security efforts has altered a little bit. While I believe everything stated in the first forum still holds value and the Biological Weapons and Toxin Convention (BWTC) still requires more work to accurately address the threat, the threat isn’t as “out of control” as I initially thought. Even referring to the World Threat Assessment (WTA) addressed in Week 5, biological weapons are not headlining any top threat(s) (Coats, 2017). Though the weakness of border control is not spoken of much in this course, the WTA from 2017 does highlight Transnational Organized Crime (TNO) that directly correlates to the border the United States shares with Mexico.
Coats, D. (2017). Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community. Washington, D.C.: DNI.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). (2011). Strategic National Risk Assessment. Retrieved fromhttps://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/rma-strategic-national-risk-assessment-ppd8.pdf.
 

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