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Homeland security

9/11: Its effect on America’s emergency response

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9/11: Its effect on America’s emergency response

Introduction

Responding effectively to an unexpected emergency disaster is always a devastating challenge. Intense situations call for coordinated attention from the powerful people. This always causes great anxiety and pressure. An example is the 9/11 event that greatly influenced the emergency response in America. This event stirs up memories of the challenges faced and the lives lost. However, there is always a possibility of the reoccurrence of such events in future since today international terrorist threats continue to persist. Following the 9/11 attack, America felt the need to strengthen its emergency response. They employed tight security measures such as strengthening the homeland security, creating a new focus for the FBI, employing a Terrorist Threat Integration Center program and many more to ensure security in America. These measures help them to prepare and secure themselves from any other possible terrorist threat. The 9/11 event made United States improve its security.

9/11 effect on emergency response

Homeland security

The American president at that time, George Bush, felt there was a need to employ a broad national strategy that will protect United States against future terrorist threats and attacks. The Homeland Security Department was reshuffled in order to strengthen Americans security. It now coordinates not only within the federal government but also with the nation’s homeland security. Though the department still faces some challenges, it is now stronger than before. These new department included the customs service, immigration and naturalization service and the coast guard (Sauter & Carafano, 2005).

Creation of a new FBI focus

A new director took charge of the FBI after the 9/11 terrorist attack and has made some changes that improves the America’s emergency response. These changes have been made in the justice department investigation arms. They have decided to center on counterterrorism investigations. Previously, it focused its investigations on drugs and other crimes. Improvements have also been made on the communication between the offices and Washington headquarters. In 2011, half a billion dollars was appropriated to counterterrorism, counterintelligence and to the improvement of the old FBI computer networks. They believe this will work efficiently in improving the emergency response in United States (npr, 2012).

The Terrorist Threat Integration Center

The Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) was initiated after the 9/11. It aids in gathering information concerning terrorist schemes. TTIC works together with the CIA, FBI and the Home Land Security. It advances the threats analysis, shares the gathered information with other agencies, contrasts the domestic and foreign intelligence, investigates, and keeps a record of suspected terrorist attacks. It notifies the president and other leaders on possible terrorist threats. It however faces challenges of as adding secure computer networks. In 2004, it was inaccurate in its number of terrorist attacks and measures were taken to prevent this occurrence (Bolton, 2008).

The USA Patriot Act

The USA Patriot Act was passed just a few days after the 9/11. The Americans consider it the main solution to the war against terrorism. This act enabled the police to be able to acquire evidence concerning terrorism easily. They have also been able to share the evidence they obtain from the investigations conducted. This enables them to carry out an inspection on the terrorism suspects with ease. This has greatly helped the Americans in improving their emergency response. The civil right group has formed an alliance of democrats and conservatives who intend to limit the US nationalist powers. However, the Americans continue to be patriots to their nation and work together towards achieving a secure nation. This act helps in ensuring security in America and minimizes the terrorism threats.

Immigration and customs enforcement

In 2003, the Department of Homeland Security introduced Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This act combined the border and security agencies. These included the customs services, immigration and naturalization services, national protective and the air marshal’s services. The ICE protects the US borders with Mexico and Canada. It also investigates on weapon smuggling and ships that can be used as weapons. They have employed federal air marshals that fly aboard airlines to secure passengers from terrorists. The interdiction teams secure the land and air to secure threats. The ICE has also introduced the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This program keeps track of the foreign students in the US. They have also introduced the US-Visit program where the visa holders are required to provide their photographs and fingerprints before going into the country. This enables easy tracking of possible suspects and keeps the terrorist threats to a minimum (Faludi, 2007).

Aviation Security

Soon after the 9/11 attacks, a security rule was passed by the congress. The Transport Security Administration conducted screening of the passengers and luggage at the airport. America spent a great percentage of its funds in implementing this security act. The passengers were advised to arrive minutes before boarding the plane so that their belongings could be searched. In addition, the airplanes flying in the US had to have security doors. This kept strangers away from the flight deck. Since through screening was not done to some of the cargo and passenger planes, private screening firms were hired to tighten the security. The screening devise could not detect plastic explosives. Due to this, new screening equipments were implemented to ensure tight security

Alert System

The terrorist attacks raised a need for Homeland Security Advisory System. This aided in providing information concerning terrorist attack risks to the state, federal and local authorities. They use color-code scales to provide information on the risks of terrorism in the country. This information is always available at websites and anyone can gain access to it. The American people are able to know their current terrorism risk and therefore, guard themselves from possible harm. However, some people criticize this claiming that it causes unnecessary panic to the Americans. They also claim that it provides useless and minimal information. The homeland security department avails this information according to the intelligence report. Low risk is presented by green, blue presents guarded risk, elevated risk presented by yellow, high risk presented by orange and severe risk presented by red. Since 9/11, the risk has been between orange and yellow (Burke & Cooper, 2008).

Emergency preparedness

During the 9/11 terrorism attack, the firefighters, police and other responders could not communicate efficiently. The emergency managers also depended on the runners to communicate when communication through the radio failed due to divergence in frequencies. A program has been launched by the homeland security to improve the use of wireless devices used in the public safety organizations. Territory wars between the agencies that respond to the great emergencies drew an attention to the 9/11 commission. A full operation was conducted to protect the nation from domestic incidents. This involved federal and local authorities. More federal aid was also provided to enable acquisition of more equipments and training (npr, 2012).

Training

The law enforcement agencies were trained on ways of handling terrorist attacks by the international training organizations. These trainings programs continue up to date. The law enforcement agencies include the police, the military and the firefighters. They then used the knowledge they had acquired to help people handle the terrorist attacks. The law enforcement agencies also trained the American people on handling the terrorist attack situations. This helps reduce panic during terrorist attacks since the American people will know how to react on such situations. The American government and the Department of Homeland Security fund these training programs. They encourage the Americans to attend this program since it helps in saving lives (Sauter & Carafano, 2005).

Conclusion

The 9/11 event took the Americans by surprise and due to this; they were not prepared for such a catastrophe. The nurses, firefighters and other respondents could not communicate effectively during this event. This slowed them down. Due to their low security, the country suffered the attack and this served as a revelation to them to tighten their security. They therefore employed measures that help them know of a possible terrorist attack before it actually happens. This helps them to prevent the occurrence and even catch the suspected terrorists. The Americans are also able to safeguard themselves from these terrorist attacks since they have employed some great security measures such as the border protection, aviation security, alert system and many more that ensure America’s security. Therefore, the 9/11 event has positively influenced the Americans emergency response since the American security today is tighter.

References

Bolton, M. K. (2008). U.S. national security and foreign policymaking after 9/11: Present at the re-creation. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Burke, R. J., & Cooper, C. L. (2008). International terrorism and threats to security: Managerial and organizational challenges. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Faludi, S. (2007). The terror dream: Fear and fantasy in post-9/11 America. New York: Metropolitan Books.npr, (July 5, 2012). THE 9-11 COMMISSION Judging the Impact: A Post 9-11 America. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/911hearings/security_measures.htmlSauter, M., & Carafano, J. J. (2005). Homeland security: A complete guide to understanding, preventing, and surviving terrorism. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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