Terrorism is a very devastating aspect that has affected the United States of America and the world at large. It is an act that is perpetrated by various terrorist groups through an assortment of means for instance trade. For this reason, there has been a dire need to put up counterterrorism measures in an effort to deal with this issue. Homeland Security department is a very significant and esteemed body in the United States of America.
Homeland Security is a term that is used to refer to security efforts and measures that are put in place by the department of Homeland Security in order to protect the different states against any form of terrorist attack. This piece of work looks at the various aspects associated with the Homeland Security department in the U.S. with much emphasis being given to terrorism that is perpetrated through trade and the strategy that has been put in place by the department of Homeland Security in an effort to counter the terrorism.
The department of Homeland Security was founded through an integration of various bodies including the federal departments and agencies. The bodies came together into an integrated and unified department aimed at providing maximum security against all terrorism related activities.
The September 11, 2011 terrorist attack played a great role in fuelling the formation of the homeland security department. Few days after the attack, the department was established to oversee and manage an exhaustive national strategy in an effort to safeguard the U.S against terrorism as well as responding to any attacks that could occur in future.
It was however not until the Homeland Security Act was passed by Congress in November the year 2002 that the department of Homeland Security was formally recognized as a separate, cabinet level entity/ department. It became fully operational on 1st March, 2003 and its main responsibility was ensuring security through coordinating and unifying national homeland security efforts that had been established before its formation.
Currently the Homeland Security department has become a more effective and efficient department which has been able to reinforce the security enterprise hence creating a more secure America, which is more prepared in terms of fighting terrorism for instance through establishment and maintenance of appropriate equipment and strategies necessary for confronting a wide range of security threats (Stana, 2003).
The Department of Homeland Security is headed by a Secretary in charge of Homeland Security who is entitled to a lot of powers and duties and is assisted by other officers for instance the director of the secret service, a chief information officer, a chief human capital officer, a chief financial officer and an officer for civil rights and civil liberties.
Some of the duties and responsibilities of this department involves the prevention of terrorism within the United States of America, reduction of chances of terrorist attacks in the United States and minimization of damages that may occur from terrorists’ attacks in the United States.
The Homeland Security department is able to achieve the above named functions through ensuring maximum border and transportation security, emergency preparedness and response, information analysis and protection of infrastructure, adoption of science and technology to support Homeland Security and liaising with other bodies and agencies among others.
As mentioned earlier, there are various ways through which terrorism could be perpetrated and hence the need to come up with a variety of counterterrorism strategies in order to be safe. This is the duty of the department of Homeland.
Trade is a sector that has been used by terrorists to carry out their dangerous ventures through the supply chain and it has therefore necessitated the department of Homeland Security to take appropriate measures. Terrorists can for example take the advantage of the supply chain to transport deadly weapons easily.
To counter terrorism in the trade sector, the Homeland Security department came up with the strategy to enhance international supply chain security. This strategy was developed in response to the SAFE Act, which called for the development of strategic plan in order to promote the security of international supply chain.
This was in an effort to improve the level of security by curbing the transportation of mass destruction weapons and any other materials which may threaten security in the United States. Although this strategy is deemed to be very effective, it does not totally replace the security measures that were in existence way before its establishment but rather acts as a supplement to improve the level of security in the United States.
The development of this strategy is a major achievement in the fight against terrorism. This strategy harmonizes its goals with the existing strategies in order to facilitate the realization of these goals. Supply chain security plays an essential role in promoting the general security levels in the nation.
To achieve this, the strategy has got various programs, elements as well as initiatives that are aimed at solving problems. The security strategy also identifies the degree of risk in different areas so as to allow for appropriate measures to be taken. Identification of degree of risk also facilitates proper allocation of resources which are directed towards maintenance of security (GAO, 2008).
The main purpose of this strategy was to combat terrorism in the United States. This strategy came as a result of threats of terrorism attacks. The supply chain is one of the major areas where terrorists can take the advantage to transport mass destruction weapons.
Based on the directions by the SAFE Port Act in 2006, the Department of Homeland Security was obliged in developing and implementing a strategy to improve the security of international supply chain through the cargo supply. This strategy was meant to be integrated with the already existing measures which had been laid down to promote the security of the cargo supply. The strategy was developed upon the realization that more efforts were needed to curb terrorism cases which were on the rise.
It was realized that the existing strategies need to be supplemented if terrorism was to be completely eliminated in the cargo supply chain. In reality, this strategy reflected the work that had already been established by the agencies involved in the cargo supply chain. The strategy gives an outline and tactical plans associated with the already existing plans for better performance in regard to protecting the nation and its environs.
The strategy has been deemed to be very significant in boosting the already existing measures so as to maximize security level in the cargo supply chain. The strategy has for instance contributed too much to the National Response Plan. The National Response Plan is responsible for giving directions on how the United States responds to a certain happening in terms of roles and responsibilities and communication among other aspects.
This strategy therefore promotes the effectiveness of National Response Plan by outlining the strategic objective of the department based on the trade recovery and supply chain security. This strategy consequently plays an important role in boosting the effectiveness of the existing measures by giving appropriate guidance which in turn facilitates appropriate course of action (Thomas, 2010).
To ensure that trade security is maintained at the highest possible level, this strategy also gives the security efforts from the country from which the container originates up to the port of the United States as well as its release from the port to the area of destination within the country. This close severance ensures that there is no dangerous weapon that finds its way to the United States.
Through meticulous inspection during the stuffing of the cargo as well as unloading in the United States, this strategy has significantly improved the level of security in the country. However, this strategy concentrates mostly on the cargo entering into the domestic ports. Otherwise, the trading partners are bound to come up with their appropriate measures on the cargo entering into their own ports.
Nevertheless, there are some security measures which call for bilateral agreements between the trading partners. A good example is where the security fright initiate requires that all the trading partners involved in any trading activity come up with an agreement and comply with it. Otherwise, this strategy cannot be effective if there is no agreement between or among the partners.
Another notable contribution of this strategy towards the nation’s security especially in respect to terrorism is the fact that the strategy gives a description of trade recommencement efforts and provides a generalized decision hierarchy for the prioritization of vessels and cargo in case the supply chain is disrupted. This is very essential as it provides guidance in the decision making process eliminating chances of taking irrelevant measures.
The fact that there have been various terrorism attacks that have happened in the name of trade has made the existence of the strategy of enhancing international supply chain security very vital. It is a crucial counterterrorism tool based on the idea that security level in the international supply chain can only be fully realized through end to end critical examination of the cargo at strategic points.
This strategy therefore puts more emphasis on the shipment of goods from foreign origin to the United States destinations. This strategy also promotes the measures aimed at facilitating cooperation with foreign trading partners in ensuring maximum security for the containers heading to the United States.
Cooperation with the trading partners is very important because its support will significantly determine the effectiveness of these safety measures. In connection to this, this strategy implements initiatives to eradicate any threat to the United States ports posed by the international cargo reaching the domestic ports.
This strategy also includes the protocols for resumption in case any disruption on transportation takes place. The department of Homeland Security has been appreciated for effective implementation of this strategy, an aspect that has put the United States in a better position when it comes to fighting terrorism.
There are various principles that govern this strategy to ensure that it is effective. They include accurate data and information in regard to all that is involved in transport, secure cargo that eliminates chances of unwanted goods and the principle of secure transit which promotes a procedure that ensures that the cargo remains secure from the moment it enters and moves through the supply chain.
This facilitates detection of any threat during transit. The strategy was developed using an approach that facilitated effectiveness and thus allowing for maximum security of the international supply chain and hence that of the nation as a whole.
The fact that the cargo passes through different jurisdictions makes the facilitation of the cargo security more complicated. In some cases, cargo may pass through a number of nations which may have different jurisdictions before reaching its destination.
This makes the process of maintaining cargo security more involving. Due to the differences in jurisdictions, United States, through the department of Homeland Security, liaise with the trading partners in order to assist them in enhancing the security of the cargo heading to the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security is charged with the responsibility of protecting the territory of the United States from the terrorist attacks as well as the natural disasters. However, the department cannot ensure total security in the nation on its own but rather in conjunction with other bodies such as the United States Coast Guard which is charged with the responsibility of protecting the environment, public, economic and security interests in the maritime region.
This includes the America’s coasts and ports as well as international wasters. The other notable body in charge of security in the nation is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement which guards the United States borders from any form of attack (Wagner & Bode, 2009).
It is evident that maintaining security in the United States of America is not an easy thing especially when the issue of terrorism is brought in. All in all the department of Homeland Security has played a great role in maintaining security through various means, the strategy of enhancing international supply chain security being one. This was developed after the realization that trade, through the supply chain, has been used as a medium of perpetrating terrorism related activities.
GAO. (2008). Supply Chain Security. Report to Congressional Requesters. GAO-08-187
Stana, R. (2003). “Homeland Security: Preliminary Observations on Efforts to Target Security Inspections of Cargo Containers.” United States General Accounting Office.
Thomas, A. (2010). Supply Chain Security: International Practices and Innovations in Moving Goods Safely and Efficiently, Volume 1. California: ABC-CLIO.
Wagner, S., & Bode, C. (2009). Managing Risk and Security: The Safeguard of Long-Term Success for Logistics Service Providers. Switzerland: Haupt Verlag AG.