Homeland Security and Emergency Management
The 9/11 attack in the U.S. was a long awaited wakeup call that was needed for this country to upgrade its security. There is increased working together between the local authority and the TSA. There is the inclusion of air marshals who ensure there is security in flights. Before the attack, there were a number of unexplained behaviors on flights, and a number of trial runs that got to be dismissed by the local authority after the 9/11 attack various things changed.
There is thorough screening at the airports, and if there are any suspicions brought out by any person there is increased screening. This means that the Department of Homeland Security has made it more secure for the citizens of the country against external threats. It is safe to note that the screening is done in areas that are far from critical and populated areas.
An electronic advance passenger information system is utilized whereby detailed information of a person is given before they even board an aircraft as far as in their home country. This is extended to private owned aircrafts and also to identify such aircrafts. The major reason for this is to reduce the vulnerability of the aviation sector (Ball, 2005).
The DHS has further been working with General Aviation (GA) to minimize the risk of aircrafts to deliver terrorist materials, help in transportation of dangerous people knowingly and unknowingly, and ultimately, prevent the use of aircrafts as weapons (Sweet, 2008).
Homeland security has further directed a full implementation of use of nuclear and radiological scanning of all flights that arrive in the U.S. It therefore means that all arriving aircrafts are screened on arrival. These detectors were tested in 2008 with the purpose of improving their quality. Our research question is therefore; how effective are these radiological and nuclear detectors? How much do they cost tax payers per year? How environmentally friendly are they to those who they are used on and those who handle them?
The homeland security was seen for the first time after the Sept. 11 attacks on the twin towers; its main mandate was to foresee terrorism attacks and any threats that might endanger common citizens’ life in the U.S. With more than 40 federal agencies, homeland security is able to keep its mission of budding, coordinating and implementing an inclusive strategy nationally to secure the U.S. against terrorist threats and attacks. Offices from the homeland security were obligated and assigned various specific posts to hold on in order to keep terrorism out of sight in the U.S. (Ball, 2005).
Various measures have been laid in place by the security department to counter and detect threats of the terrorism after the U.S. declared that it was on war (Bush, 2006). Screening is one of the measures that are quite implemented in detecting terrorists who want to enter into the U.S. Officers at the homeland security and emergency management are trained on how to handle cases of suspicious individuals and cargo at the check points. However, this does not refute critics and common individuals from asking or questioning. How is the homeland security and emergency management managed? How are officers at the checkpoint supervised and what measures are taken in place to avoid malicious actions and deals with terrorists for self interest?
An audit carried out by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at the Department of Homeland Security displayed many irregularities in the way officers conducted radiation on cargo containers destined for the U.S. It was raised that most of the containers arriving were not sufficiently screened as stipulated by law. Here, we pose a question; what is the management doing to avoid this security threatening from spreading to other forms of transport like aircrafts? Although all cargo is screened, the report indicated that not all radiation portals were utilized frequently, and sometimes they were not utilized at all. Does the management manage the radiation system program to check if it is operating efficiently? The management team at the airport should conduct frequency evaluation on the radiation screening portal monitors since it faces more risk. Therefore, this may subject homeland into insecurity, which will adversely affect its general operation and other related activities. Radiation screening and the entire airport security fully rely on the passenger being screened profiling techniques that are essential in identifying criminals and terrorists. That is in case they have somehow managed to pass the screening machines or they have shielded and wrapped the terrorism committing materials from being detected.
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In order to eliminate terrorism and other criminal activities that are illegalized by the federal government of the U.S., the personnel of homeland security and emergency management in the department of radiation and nuclear detectors sector need to constantly collect and review utilization information. This is to ensure that the programs run well and avoids crashing.
This process of screening might be costly for the homeland security and emergency management, the acquirement and possession of the equipment required for the radiation screening and the wage load and training of the officers,but it is still worth it as avoiding it can lead to a greater national terrorism disaster that might tarnish the federal and other responsible bodies (Kimery, 2013). The research discusses in detail what the department of homeland security and emergency management needs to consider in order to maintain the U.S.A. free of terrorists and suggests health usage of the screening equipment so as not to expose the common citizens and visitors of the country to unhealthy risks. Many variables need to be looked at; some include a number of detectors per airport, cost of a detector and environmental friendliness of detectors.
The hypothesis for this research is that screening should be improved well enough not to cause a threat to the health of those who use it and those it is used upon. This research seeks to find out more on how the detectors should be used to ensure people remain unharmed, as well as not compromise on the security of the country.
The research seeks to investigate three variables using an econometric model:
- The first variable is how many detectors, that is, the radiation and nuclear detectors, are available in every airport. This is to ensure their easy availability and sufficiency in terms of their numbers so that passengers are not derailed in the airports in the name of security checkups for long hours.
- The second variable is how much one detector costs (Stewart & Mueller, 2011). That is who makes available these detectors, are they funded by the government through the department of homeland security or are they funded by the citizens through their taxes? It is acknowledged that the detectors have a high price and since the sector is already troubled by many problems including terrorism the costs can be transferred to the consumer.
- The third variable is a qualitative variable. How safe are these detectors to the environment? That is to the users and those used upon. It is a known fact that radiologic particles are harmful to the environment and people; how have they been insulated and what kind of particles is used? Since its inception, the detectors have not been used over a period of ten years, the impact of them have not been assessed critically, this research will conduct an indebt analysis of what their impact is on the environment.
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The Transportation Safety Administration claim the potential for radiation exposure is very low, and it is of the same magnitude as the daily exposure of radiation as from the sun or the soil. Some medical practitioners and experts have questioned this by wondering if these machines have been tested enough or thoroughly and if they have been ensured against malfunction.
Therefore, there is little known about the long term effects of exposure to radiation and the emergency preparations of a malfunction of these detectors/machines. Roni Caryn (2012) admits that there have not been long term studies on the machines as doctors agree, and therefore, people should take precaution when passing through them. European commission-IP/11/1343 (2011) banned scanners of the body, that is, the use of radiation and nuclear detectors; they only do so unless it is a matter of national security or for a medical reason. It is, therefore, safe to say that the only known effect of radiation is what can be extrapolated from Japan since World War 2.
Therefore, to verify the significance of these variables a student’s t-test will be used to show the significance of these variables. The data will be cross-sectional on one year; the only shortcoming with these data is there might be heteroscedasticity or multicollinearity, but this will be remedied.
The first variable will be measured by the actual number of detectors in five chosen public and two private airports. The second variable will be measured by the amount of expenditure on a detector by an airport in U.S. dollars, and how this money procured to pay for them and maintain them. The third variable will be measured by the number of complaints at the airport in terms of illnesses. These should be complaints that are solely received after screening. The assumption here is that passengers do not experience any illnesses prior to any screening.
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has gone through a lot to ensure the security of the citizens of the United States of America. However, this research finds a loop hole in its security strategies installed at the airports, to be specific in 36 airports. It is the first and foremost recommendation of this research to calm this debate on how safe these radiology and nuclear detectors are by finding the correlation of the variables (Ball, 2005). Also, we feel the need to suggest that the DHS and Emergency Management come clear and inform the public on the safety of these machines.
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To ensure the health of passengers, TSA should do a regular checkup of the machines, in fact, a daily checkup, to ensure there is minimal malfunction in the same way hospitals do. In 2004, TSA under the aviation sector was urged by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to have their employees wear a thin film badges to monitor ongoing exposure; this is the same as laboratory and hospital employees wear.
Airports should exclude pregnant women and small children from the screening and instead allow them to pass through a metal detector or have a pat down. The workers at the airport should make it easier for passengers to say if they have a medical condition.
The detectors should be funded by the federal government to reduce the costs that are incurred by the tax payers.
The department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management should fund other safer projects that can better scan without endangering the environment and passengers. An example DHS should fully fund Liquid scanner. This project is better than the x-rays at finding bomb-making substances (Stewart & Mueller, 2011). It is the same technology hospitals use to do a full body tissue checkup, but its advantage is that, it does not put people in danger.
It is safe to recommend that homeland security should fully approve the technology since its benefits are better than the radiological and nuclear detectors.
This technology is also better because due to the ban they have on items, people can carry more and bigger Ziploc bags for bottles. This technology can easily differentiate between drinks that look almost identical.
It should be noted that radiological and nuclear scanners are not fool proof; explosives can be hidden in body cavities and go undetected. Abdullah Hassan Tali Assiri in September attacked and injured Mohammed bin Nayef, the Saudi Prince, after going through two airports without detection.
The Secretary of Homeland Security should fund a project whereby they install detectors in aircrafts to enable detection of bombs and bomb making explosives to detect any terror related objects in case they passed through airports (Dillman, 1999).
There should be increased numbers of detectors per airport. In December 2009, the TSA had a plan to increase the number of radiological scanners from 40 to 150. The 40 detectors were being used by 19 airports meaning that each airport had approximately 2 detectors, and at most, some had three. This also implies that the detectors need to be installed in the U.S. and other countries first starting with hot spot countries, to ensure that suspicious people or even terrorists are not given a chance to board airports to the U.S.
Homeland security should increase air marshals that are set to guard and protect aircrafts and airports. They should also include artificial intelligence technologies. These are technologies that process huge amounts of data and are considered to be indispensable towards fighting terrorism.
A fifth of airborne cargo is carried aboard passenger flights where minimal inspection is done and if done it is done by other airlines. This risks the lives of citizens aboard such aircrafts. Such loop holes could be used to aid in attacking (Kimery, 2013).
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This research therefore critically seeks to find out the use of radiological and nuclear detectors as a method of ensuring the security in the United States. This is a useful method in detection of explosives and bomb making ingredients but we have seen its shortcomings. This research will try to investigate the harmfulness of the detectors to the environment and analyze the findings statistically, hence helping in the calming of the debate about their health effect (Ball, 2005).
In this research, we also give recommendations on working objectives that have been tried by other nations or are in their trial basis and they have better potential than the already existing methods.
Homeland security and emergency management should avoid any loop holes that could be the long awaited chance that terrorists could use to attack and endanger the U.S. citizens.
We shall determine the significance of the model predictors if they are viable to be used in the measurement of the radiological and nuclear detectors, and most importantly if the detectors are safe enough to be used for the population.
At 2013, there were 642 million passengers; this shows a huge number of people travelling. Therefore, per day it is approximately 1.5 million people who travel (Kimery, 2013). With these estimations, many airports receive many passengers; therefore, there is a need to increase detection machines to cater for the growing number of passengers.
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