The Chemical, Biological and Radiological Threat to the United

States-Homeland Security Preparedness Issue
The Chemical, Biological and Radiological Threat to the United
States-Homeland Security Preparedness Issue
Over the last couple of decades, the mandates roles, and the missions of
the homeland security has been place under high alert following the
recent increased incidences of terrorist attacks. Evidently, the
department of homeland security is charged, with the mandate to protect
the American citizens from domestic attacks or foreign attacks to the
American soil. The threat matrix for America continues to increase with
the wake of every day as terrorists continue to seek mass casualties
from their attacks. A series of attacks has confirmed the worst fear
that terrorists are currently ready to employ any weapon within their
reach to satisfy their quest for mass casualties. For instance, the 9/11
attacks in the US soil broke the records of the worst act of terrorism,
which resulted to senseless killing of thousands of innocent American
citizens. The capacity to respond to such disasters by homeland security
was out to test following the 9/11 attacks, and the American department
of defence and the security counsels rounded up their efforts and
strategies to improve the performance of homeland security.
Before embarking the focus of the paper to information that concerns the
preparedness issue of homeland security to prevent and respond to
chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist
attacks, in the US, the paper will briefly shed light on the core
missions of homeland security, which define the scope and mandate of
this American department of homeland safety. The primary objective of
the American government and the American president are to safeguard the
rights and safety of the citizens of this nation (Haulley, 2006). This
mandate cannot be addressed through a single approach or an easy
mission. With this effect, the department of homeland security of
America developed broad ideas, which were adopted as the core missions
that should be undertaken by the department.
It is imperative to note that, though some of the missions of homeland
security might differ in their focus and their area of emphasis, the
broad scope of the core missions is to ensure that the entire loopholes,
which can be exploited, by terrorist to launch chemical, biological, and
radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist attacks, in America are
covered. These strategies ensure that homeland security department is
set to prevent any potential terrorist attacks as it equips the
appropriate sectors for responsive operations to control the spread of
radiation poisoning or biological agents.
The initial core mission of homeland security is deterring terrorism and
improving security within the border of the US, as well as outside the
borders (United States, 2005). Homeland security has agents all over the
American soil, who observe the entire activities of suspected criminals
and terrorist. In the event that terrorists are identified, homeland
securities in concurrence with other law enforcement officers apprehend
terrorists thus deter and prevent potential attacks on the US
soil(United States, 2005). Terrorism prevention enhances security and
Americans are assured of their safety, and they can walk, without fear
of attacks.
The second security mission of the homeland security department is
securing and managing the borders of the US. Most terrorist utilize the
borders to gain entry to the US, and once such borders are monitored and
secured, the chances of entry to the US soil by terrorists are
minimized. These steps keep the American people safe (NATO Advanced
Study Institute on Strengthening National Public Health Preparedness and
Response for Chemical, Biological and Radiological Agents Threats et al,
2007). Imperatively, securing the borders protect America from all forms
of attacks, either military or terrorist.
Further, homeland security department administers and enforces the
immigration laws. In the past, most terrorist that were suspected of
perpetrating attacks on the US soil were immigrants. Therefore, the laws
that govern the process of immigration should be implemented to prevent
terrorists who disguise their identity as innocent immigrants (NATO
Advanced Study Institute on Strengthening National Public Health
Preparedness and Response for Chemical, Biological and Radiological
Agents Threats et al, 2007). Further, the department ensure that all
immigrants are registered to ensure accountability and easy follow up of
the activities of these people. Further, homeland runs a background
check for the entire information concerning immigrants as they screen
the immigrants to ensure that terrorists do not pass the net of
immigration laws.
Further, homeland security has a core mission of securing and
safeguarding the cyberspace. America depends on information systems and
the internet to produce and pass communication from one end to the next.
These systems of communication contain the American information as the
economic information, which are central to the survival of the citizens
of America. In case, such information gets to the hands of terrorists
the information could be sabotaged to injure the American economy
(Haulley, 2006). Further, a breach to the security details and
information the concerns the war heads, by terrorists could pose a
massive threat to the Americans. Therefore, it is the mandate of
homeland security department to ensure that the American information
system is secured at all times (United States, 2005). Any breaches are
detected immediately, and security measure to cover such breaches and
avoid the propagation of negative impact is effected immediately.
Finally, the last core mission of the department of homeland security,
which is the chief focus of this research paper, is ensuring resilience
to disasters (Haulley, 2006). In this case, disasters involve manmade
and terrorism disasters, as well as natural disasters as tsunamis.
Homeland department oversees the capacity and ability of the homeland to
respond to incidences of disaster, which result to mass destruction and
mass casualties (United States, 2005). In most cases, terrorist attacks
overwhelm the social, medical and economic sectors of a nation and
proper preparedness to respond to such attacks facilitates successful
containment of a situation (Veenema, 2013). Homeland security mobilizes
the entire departments and sectors, which are vital in dealing with the
crisis situation or respond to potential chemical, biological, and
radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist attacks, in the US.
The focus of homeland security is currently directed to the escalating
terrorist threat of employing chemical, biological, and radiological and
nuclear weapons (CBRN) in the US. Therefore, the discoveries that
terrorists are increasing their likelihood to launch attacks against the
US contributed to the vulnerability of this nation to terrorist attacks
(Veenema, 2013). However, the preparedness of the US, as well as her
security organs as the homeland security were put to scrutiny and
question and analysts suggested that the nation was not adequately
prepared to survive a possible terrorist attack, especially with
chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons (NATO
Advanced Study Institute on Strengthening National Public Health
Preparedness and Response for Chemical, Biological and Radiological
Agents Threats et al, 2007).
It is imperative to note that chemical, biological, and radiological and
nuclear weapons attacks would cripple the health care and the public
health system of the nation due to the overwhelming number of people who
would be put in emergence need of medical attention (Haulley, 2006). The
healthcare infrastructure is an integral component of the preparedness,
which would facilitate homeland security department respond to chemical,
biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist attacks. A
sound healthcare infrastructure is central in controlling and
diminishing the destructive effects of a potential terrorist attack, by
ensuring that the entire patients and victims receive immediate
treatment (Veenema, 2013). Further, in the event that prevention and
deterrence mechanism of the homeland security fails to work, healthcare
becomes the initial defence line (NATO Advanced Study Institute on
Strengthening National Public Health Preparedness and Response for
Chemical, Biological and Radiological Agents Threats et al, 2007). The
task of mitigating the outcomes and extent of destruction of a potential
chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist
attack would be dedicated to the system public health.
The most pressing issue with the homeland security department is
uncertainty, which affects the guarantee of whether the systems that
have been established are the most needed applications to mount a fully
fledged response mechanism to terrorist attack (Stalcup & Congress.
Senate. Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Subcommittee on Oversights of Government Management, the Federal
Workforce and the District of Columbia. 2005)
. The uncertainty magnitude is escalated, by the means to judge the
efficacy of the existing response programs do not exist. The problem
continues due to absences of a comprehensive approach in homeland
security department, which conducts threat mitigation and threat
assessment (Cilluffo et al, 2001). The issue of uncertainty on the
efficacy of preparedness of homeland security and her machineries
contribute to the huge challenge of anticipating and mitigating
chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist
attacks, in the US (NATO Advanced Study Institute on Strengthening
National Public Health Preparedness and Response for Chemical,
Biological and Radiological Agents Threats et al, 2007).
Homeland security department requires a strategy, which can be utilized
to assess the chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons
threat to the US. This strategy will diminish the uncertainty, which
shakes the department of homeland security thus posing a risk to the
American population (Cilluffo et al, 2001). The challenge of the
chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist
threats lies in the wake of uncertainty because the security department
cannot identify and define the contingencies that are most plausible, as
well as possibilities, which fall within the radius of the contingency
(Veenema, 2013). Imperatively, homeland security has struggled for a
long time with the preparations, which are required to accommodate
severe consequences of biological or nuclear weapons contingencies. This
problem has been escalated by budget allocations and limited resources,
which are directed to other high priority security needs, which
demonstrate tangible security threats (United States Department of
Homeland Security handbook, 2004).
Further, preparedness deficiencies have been escalated by the fact that
the approach perceives threats from a unidimensional point of view.
Significantly, threats are caused by multiple factors, which should be
accounted for in the plan for preparing to bioterrorism. Terrorism is a
result of various elements, which accommodate numerous possibilities of
attack from a multidimensional perspective (Cilluffo et al, 2001).
Therefore, the best entry point to preparing for a possible chemical,
biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist threat is
breaking down a threat to respective elements, which can be evaluated
and analysed critically to ensure that the entire details and chances
are accounted for and covered to avoid pitfalls.
It is imperative to not that, the pitfall and uncertainties that
surround home land security are the outcomes of various issues, which
are not known and there are no units to determine the magnitude of
destruction from chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear
weapons terrorist attacks (Cilluffo et al, 2001). Imperatively, homeland
security department might be reluctant to employ a complete preparedness
plan because unless the event or the attack occurs, nobody can produce
the exact intensity of destruction (Veenema, 2007). Therefore, the
homeland security department ensures that there is a sustainable
response capacity in the event of chemical, biological, and radiological
and nuclear weapons terrorist attacks. However, these sustainable
response capacities might withstand a serious catastrophe (United
States, 2005).
Further, the reluctant preparedness programs draw from the psychology of
terrorists who strive to achieve mass casualties from their chemical,
biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist attacks
(Veenema, 2007). However, the only places where a terrorist attack can
yield catastrophic casualties are almost out of reach for the terrorists
(United States Department of Homeland Security handbook, 2004).
Therefore, the likelihood that such attacks can occur are extremely low
thus no need for elaborate response plans. Small scale attacks can be
handled a d kept under control with least efforts from homeland security
in support of other security groups.
Conclusion and Recommendation
It is evident that a sizeable chemical, biological, and radiological and
nuclear weapon that can result to massive destruction and massive
casualties require high levels of intelligence, sound organizational
structure, ample material to manufacture weapons and efficient means of
transport. All these aspects are challenging to round up, and terrorists
who wish to manufacture chemical, biological, and radiological and
nuclear weapons may not have the entire necessities to build a weapon of
mass destruction. Therefore, the likelihood of catastrophic attacks in
America is extremely low, though not to be ignored. These factors have
contributed to reluctance on the side of homeland security department as
far as chemical, biological, and radiological and nuclear weapons are
concerned.
It is evident that homeland security department functions to ensure that
Americans are safe as it is guided by the core missions of this
department. However, there are serious challenges that emerge due to
high levels of uncertainty and unpreparedness of this department to
respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons
terrorist attacks. Though the department of homeland security prevents
all forms of danger from coming to America, there times when the
existing preventive mechanisms fails, calling for response initiatives,
which aim at reducing the destructiveness of chemical, biological, and
radiological and nuclear weapons. These interventions call, for the
healthcare and public health systems to combat the infections and health
problems which arise from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear
weapons.
Therefore, the best recommendation, which would contribute positively to
the growth and advancement of homeland security department, would be the
development of a critical strategy and framework, which conducts serious
assessment of threats, especially the chemical, biological, and
radiological and nuclear weapons. Such assessments will facilitate
homeland security department to make an informed decision pertaining the
preparedness of the department, as well as the ability of homeland
security and her responsive allies to respond to catastrophic disasters.
Adequate resources should be allocated to the healthcare system to
ensure that the system endure overwhelming situations, as well as remain
standing even after serious exploitation and utilization of the
healthcare resources at an overwhelming rate. With these preparations
and information, the uncertainty in the homeland security department
with regards to preparedness and responsive ability to chemical,
biological, radiological and nuclear weapons terrorist attacks becomes
history as the department would become prepared for anything.
References
Ball, H. (2005). U.S. homeland security: A reference handbook. Santa
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Preparedness and Response for Chemical, Biological and Radiological
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Stalcup, G. H., & Congress. Senate. Committee on Homeland Security and
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