Analytical Overview of Homeland Security and Homeland Defense
During the last weeks, the students were introduced to Homeland Security and Homeland Defense; the students learned how to manage risks and get a deeper understanding of cybersecurity in the homeland. Each individual was able to recognize the homeland security enterprise and how the Department of Homeland Security accomplished its risk assessment process. Students have the opportunity to read the cybersecurity strategy from 2018 to collect an appreciation of the hard work and goals that DHS has established when it comes to cybersecurity and cyber threats. Also during this period, students were able to read about the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) by reporting deficits to the DHS when it comes to cybersecurity. The Department of Homeland Security focuses on these factors to preserve the cyber world and reassure security to the American people. Now we all ask ourselves, how does the DHS anticipate managing risk in homeland security and especially when it comes to cybersecurity?
To maintain maximum-security protection for the entire population and property of the nation, DHS must embrace radical measures that are specially designed to detect, prevent and deter any type of threat against the nation and the citizens. Effective elimination of danger within the United States may sound impossible, but there are ways to mitigate the risks involved. Specialists have spent years trying to distinguish precisely how risks can be managed within our culture, but after many contrasting views and diverse approaches, the conclusion is that risks cannot be eliminated. ‘Ultimately, homeland security is about effectively managing risks to the Nation’s security” (Risk Management Fundamentals, 2011, p.7). History continues to show us that without proper management, the same risks that we tried to avoid would appear shortly. Proper resource allocations, planning, and funding is the key to successful risk management. Each agency involved created a set of guidelines, approved by the DHS, to counter any kind of threat that occurred. Essentially, to avoid a catastrophe like the tragic losses on 9/11, the result of multiple failures that include miscommunication with other agencies and the lack of information exchange between them. The Department of Homeland Security has adopted an alike-minded mindset when it comes to identifying and managing risks. “A risk management approach exists that may be used to enhance our level of preparedness for terrorist threats. This approach is based on assessments of a threat, vulnerabilities, and criticality (importance)” (Government Accountability, 2001, p.3).
Vulnerability in homeland security has diverse characteristics, including how to address the liability within the sixteen Critical Infrastructure Sectors (CISA) of external threats, as well as labor productivity. To identify the level of concern, Homeland Security develops a risk management formula (R = T × V × C) that helps to prioritize grants, asset allocation, and assistance for Local, State, Federal, and private sectors under Homeland Security. The goal is to identify potential issues before it occurs and have a plan for addressing it to minimize the damage. A fundamental variable to maintain peace during a stressful event is to encourage all that affected to trust the system. Some key principles implemented by DHS for effective risk management requirements are the unity of effort, transparency, adaptability, practicality and personalization. Once these principles are met, strategic planning and prioritization are applied to managing risk. Beginning with a unity effort from all 22 agencies to share every vital information and work together to determine what risks should be a priority. During this time, transparency should be at the forefront when sharing information, without hiding details or misleading information that causes mistrust. When uniting efforts, adaptability and resilience help to coordinate a team and build strength through problem-solving. During all assessments, one must be practical and efficient for all methods, time restraints, complexities, the material used and the costs of such endeavors when interpreting the risks. Customization demands expansion; schemes and approaches must now be more tailored for that specific risk or threat that has been assessed. Technology is changing the world and with every positive advancement, we run the risk that the pestilent will find a weakness to harm. “Risk management will not preclude adverse events from occurring; however, it enables national homeland security efforts to focus on those things that are likely to bring the greatest harm, and employ approaches that are likely to mitigate or prevent those incidents.” (Risk Management Fundamentals, 2011, p.8).
The world is going through a process of economic, social and technological transformation. The cyber-world is an amazing platform for banks, shops, talk, and even pursuit education. Just as it is a very easy asset to use, it can also be very dangerous due to its exposure. Homeland security enterprises to enforce improvements in security when it comes to the cyber world. The United States relies on servers and databases to maintain and store classified/secret or personally identifiable information (PII). “By 2023, the Department of Homeland Security will have improved national cybersecurity risk management by increasing security and resilience across government networks and critical infrastructure” (Department of Homeland Security, 2018). What exactly is Homeland Security Enterprise’s intent to accomplish that and what would be the risks that the cyber world would pose to the Homeland Security Enterprise?
Cybersecurity will always be an immense concern and priority in the enterprise program for various reasons. A large majority in the United States uses the internet for many things; it is part of our daily life. Most government, local and federal agencies could not complete any of their operations if they did not have access to the cyber world as it is. The American people would be immobilized without the internet as well. With the expansion of the cyber world also comes the most significant threats from those who wish to exploit it. Usual common threats are telephone communication frauds, identity theft, hackers, malware viruses and anyone desiring to exploit the cyber world for a cruel reason.
Safeguarding is an essential requirement that preserves the “federal agencies and our nation’s critical infrastructures—such as energy, transportation systems, communications networks, and financial services—are dependent on computerized (cyber) information systems and electronic data to process, maintain, and report essential information, and to operate and control physical processes (Government Accountability Office, 2018, p.2). This translates to that all infrastructure is cross dependent on one another. For example such as, if energy and the transportation sector were to receive a cyber-attack that shuts down a city, which would illuminate vulnerabilities within the defense sector. Hackers can use computers to gain unauthorized access to data, even to the most protected places, such as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD); these hackers could launch missiles or airstrikes against the United States or other countries. Based on this theory alone, it showed that Cybersecurity is a fundamental necessity for the American people and the DHS. Most critical infrastructure operators are large organizations; however, the company’s size is not what attracts a cyber-threat. Only the amount of damage to critical infrastructure is crucial. According to the Department of Homeland Security on December 5, 2010, WikiLeaks unveiled confidential information in a publication that revealed critical infrastructures in foreign territory. This list includes organizations and companies, some of them of small size, which nevertheless can be considered critical infrastructure. The Department of Homeland Security will deny terrorist groups the ability to collect any type of information and allow our agencies to collect and share information about those same groups.
As the United States grows with the development of technology, the security actions that prevent those risks need the evaluation every year. The Department of Homeland Security has taken countless measures in identifying those risks and assessing them frequently. It is extremely vital to homeland security and the critical infrastructure sectors that cybersecurity turns into a primary effort amongst all cooperative agencies. Nevertheless, be it state, local, federal or private sectors they have an obligation on working together efficiently to guarantee the American way of life.
The United States homeland security environment is complex and filled with competing requirements, interests, and incentives that must be balanced and managed effectively to ensure the achievement of key national objectives. The key objective of applying risk management is to build security, safety, and resiliency into all aspects of Homeland Security planning. How does the Department of Homeland Security decide exactly what needs protecting and to what level the protection shall be? It all starts with the risk assessment formula...
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