May 15, 2008

The Resilient Homeland: How DHS Intelligence Should Empower America to Prepare for, Prevent, and Withstand Terrorist Attacks

Key materials

Amos Guiora is a Professor of Law at the S.J.Quinney College of Law, University of Utah. This testimony builds on the ideas discussed in the Mercatus primer “A Framework for Evaluating Counterterrorism Regulations” that he co-authored.

Highlights

Our Findings

  • To ensure a resilient homeland in a post-9/11 society, the United States must have a homeland security strategy that (1) understands the threat, (2) effectively counters the threat while preserving American values, (3) establishes a system of accountability, and (4) creates public-private and federal-state partnerships facilitating intelligence sharing and the continuity of society in the aftermath of an attack.
  • One of the greatest hindrances to a cogent discussion of terrorism and counterterrorism has been that the terms lack clear, universal definitions.
  • This testimony lays out clear, concrete definitions of terrorism, counterterrorism, homeland security, effectiveness, accountability, and resiliency—the key terms in articulating the strategy for a resilient homeland.
  • There is a clear concern over communication; there are dire consequences of the break-down in communications following major events such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.
  • Successful information sharing and cooperation is perhaps, the single most important aspect of successful resilience.
  • Private partners are the key to a secure and resilient homeland. 

Recommendations

  • There is a need for clear cooperation and coordination between the public sector and the private sector. Effective resiliency will ultimately be tied to establishing public-private partnerships.
  • Public-private partnerships must be based on three critical components: (1) clearly defined roles and responsibilities; (2) articulating a coordinated prevention-response plan; and (3) repeated training and/or simulation exercises using the prevention-response plan against realistic disaster/terror scenarios. 
  • Information sharing must include the private sector. Otherwise, the mistakes of yesterday will inevitably re-occur.