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What is and what will be – Homeland Security

What is Public Security, or Homeland Security, or Homeland Defense?  Or more specifically, what it is not? 

It is not the same for all nations, all regions, or even all cities and below.  The reason it cannot be the same for all, is that each of these “communities” has a different sense of morals, ethics, and ways of doing business.   Protecting these unique needs and variations requires a balance of interests and an exchange at each level of governance.   And governance may also vary between loosely affiliated communities, interest groups, or official governmental bodies.  

Public Security is a perception of being secure, or protected – at the respective level of governance.   

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan relays discussion of the Bush Administration, “..the one big thing he had to do after 9/11, the single thing he absolutely had to do, was keep it from happening again. And so far he has.”  The article continues to point out that we cannot know whether this is the result of actions, or mere luck.  Nevertheless, it is the perception of staying secure which the communities value. 

So what is Public or Homeland Security – really?  It is a service to secure the community that is managed by the governing organization (in the case above, the US Government), against the threats to the the interests, beliefs, ethics, and the way of life that the community desires to protect.  An eye-opening example for 2008 has been the resurgence of High Seas piracy

As Peggy Noonan also reflects in the end of the article, is Homeland really the proper term?  Public Security is more appropriate, at all levels, because it is the general public which must be secure, and the communities (industry, culture, nationality, government) must work together through a governing in mitigating the threats and risks, to keep safe in the future. 

Typical Pirate Launch - Source AP












Source: AP.   Typical Pirate launch 

 The maritime piracy described in the link above indicates the extent to which multiple communities and organizations, all concerned with security, but from disparate industries, cultures, and nationalities, are affected.  Yet the public is the ultimate customer which must deal with the cascading effects of such activity. 

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  • Hello Anthony,

    thanks for sharing the link. For me one of the best books to consider when thinking about security is from Bruce Schneier, Beyond fear. Although it is from 2003 and one do not need to agree with all of his statements it would be a good complimentary peace to read.

    In Germany Homeland security is no option and public security is the term most often used.

    Best regards and all the best for 2009,

    • Thanks Bernard – I just went over some of the links from Bruce Schneier.  I especially liked the 60 minutes piece about Airport Security  Near the end of the video, Schneier points out that “most security has to happen before the airport” … that “the liquid bombers captured in London were captured through “investigation and intelligence”.  We need both perception of security and also a “layered” approach including both proactive measures and RAM – “Random Antiterrorism Measures”.