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1.) For this week’s forum, I nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons have been symbols of power and destructions that can rip and destroy the human composition, if not the entire world. Nuclear weapons have been used only twice in combat in the history of the world. The first was in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the second time on August 9, 1945. these two events eradicated almost 250,000 people on its initial impact called the blast. In 1945 a 15 kiloton bomb called little boy wipe between 90,000 and 146,000 people in Hiroshima, and a 20 kiloton bomb called Fat man wipe from 39,000 and 80,000 in Nagasaki. However, the blast death toll does not include the lives lost due to the after-effects of radiation exposure, especially those in contact with the black rain. It is believed that this rain that happened right after the initial blast was contaminated with radioactive materials. This rain extended several miles from the epicenter of the bombs. However, the technology that is used today for nuclear weaponry is more advanced and powerful that what was used 75 years ago. This year, the Russian RS-28 Sarmat, commonly known as “Satan 2,” was scheduled to be tested for its intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities. Furthermore, even when the information disclosure of this missile is not fully accessible to everyone, it is believed that this missile has the capability of 50,000 kilotons, 7,500 percent greater than the little boy nuclear bomb. Moreover, the death toll of nuclear incidents is not only associated with the use of these two bombs nuclear disasters such as Fukushima and Chernobyl add to the millions of lives lost.
2,) For this week’s forum post I decided to talk about sarin gas, as it seems to appear more and more in the Middle East region. Its usage has also been linked to terrorist groups such as ISIS. Sarin gas is an extremely toxic nerve agent that is an odorless, colorless liquid. It can even be lethal at a very low quantity, capable of killing within a matter of minutes after inhalation. Sarin gas works by suffocating its victims due to respiratory paralysis. Even individuals who absorb a nonlethal amount can have permanent nerve damage if they are not treated immediately. Accessibility to the agent is frightening easy for a well-organized terrorist group, such as ISIS, in the Middle East region because of the fact that governments in the area have or had stockpiles of chemical weapons (example, Syria). The consequences of terrorists using chemical weapons has been seen first-hand in Raqqa, Syria when ISIS deployed the agent upon retreating Syrian forces. The reports are that ISIS obtain the sarin from Syria’s stockpile. The fact that a terror group can get their hands on such a powerful chemical weapon is quite alarming as the affects could be devastating. To give an idea of what these weapons can do we can look back to 2013 when the Assad regime utilized sarin gas on the suburbs of Ghouta, where the death toll was somewhere in the range of 300 to 1,700. With ISIS already displaying that they are capable of obtaining chemical weapons, is it only a matter of time before they try using it in terrorist attacks?
3.) Taking a deep look looking at the different agencies, it is easy to identify civilian agencies and military agencies. All of the military agencies could be grouped together along with DIA, and then group the major civilian players to include CIA, DHS, NSA. Working at the US Embassy’s and observing how State Department operates, really opened my eyes on how advance their intelligence collection is compared to that of the Marine Corps. We relied heavily on their intelligence of any threats to the Embassy, and in regards to the presence of the DOD, it was virtually nonexistent in that aspect of Embassy security. On the flip side of that when I was in Afghanistan, our raids for HVT’s and weapons were always briefed by the G2. This intelligence was heavily provided by the DOD, but during every raid we had a DEA rep that would brief us on the search and seizure of heroin or poppy. It was just as vital to get that cash crop seized, and the DOD intelligence did not have the means or the initiative to pursue that mission. 4 of the most important agencies to aid DHS in intelligence would include ODNI, CIA, NSA, and DIA. This would be a good combination of different agencies with the ability to bring different intelligence products to the table. I actually believe that it is a good idea that the US has 17 different agencies. Working together they have the ability to compartmentalize and disseminate information through fusion centers to applicable participants. Such an example could be that, Marines conducting a beach landing for an operation do not need intelligence collected by the Department of the Treasury on terrorist counterfeiting operations. Each agency has a purpose and a specific role to collect intelligence to their specific expertise.
4.) In this week’s lesson and reading assignment, we took a closer look at the breakdown of the United States Intelligence Community. The 17 various agencies that conducts intelligence activities for the United States can be grouped together based on purpose or typology as such, National Agencies, embedded Intelligence Departments, the Armed Forces/United States Military, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. I believe these agencies can really be grouped in any formation as long as the reporting channels remain. In my own opinion having an entity such as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to manage the Intelligence Community and information sharing is critical. The four members of the United States Intelligence Community that I believe are the most import players in supporting the Homeland Security Enterprise with intelligence are the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The Central Intelligence Agency is the largest producer of national security intelligence and serves as the primary authority for all things HUMINT. The Central Intelligence Agency is known for conducting covert operations and spying on foreign governments. The National Security Agency leads the charge for the United States government in cryptology and cracking codes. It focuses on SIGINT to monitor, collect, and process electronic communications. The Defense Intelligence Agency is the Pentagon’s spy agency and the primary entity that collects, produces, and manages foreign military intelligence for military commanders and policymakers. Their mission is sharing intelligence with military leaders and policymakers to prevent and decisively win wars. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has both intelligence and law enforcement functions. They are responsible for understanding threats to our national security and focuses on terrorist organizations and criminal enterprises (ODNI, 2013). Honestly I do not have enough experience to make such call, whether it is really necessary for the United States has 17 intelligence agencies. However, the current organizational arrangement of the Intelligence Community is a direct response to address the failures of intelligence sharing exposed by the attacks of 9/11 (Best, 2017). If 17 agencies conducting intelligence activities for the purpose of homeland security and to prevent another 9/11 or Pearl Harbor for happening, I’m all for it. Seems like a waste of resources and double work, but I do think it is necessary for the bigger picture. Each entity provides value to the overall goals of national security. The redundancy between the agencies and producing the same intelligence, in itself is a built in safety mechanism, should one fail to get all the information. The veracity of information and intelligence can be be verified through corroborating between the agencies.
5.) This week we are to answer two questions: What are the desired characteristics of a national strategy document? How does the National Security Strategy of the United States of America (2017) address homeland security and homeland defense? To answer the first question is complicated because according to our reading characteristics are suggestions. However, to get desired characteristics for the National Strategy, it has to pass three tests and have four principles applied. These tests according to our reading are suitability, acceptability and feasibility. These three test mean does the strategy have an end goal that answers the problem, does it produce results without using too many means to get to the end and finally is it attainable to get there using the proposed strategy. The four principles it looks to utilize is “Strategy is not crisis management, Understanding the Situation, appropriate balance, and focus on political purpose” (APUS, 2020). AS the first one states strategy is not crisis management, meaning the strategy is meant prevent the crisis or keep the situation under control. The second of understanding the situation means you need to have a clearly defined goal in mind that answers the problem at hand. Third appropriate balance meaning is to get the goals desired does it require an adequate amount of resources to be expended or do the cost outweigh the desired effect. Lastly political purpose is “Simply put, these policies are an expression of the desired result sought by the government as a whole” (APUS, 2020, Pg 4). To illustrate further after the events that occurred in 2001 the General Accounting Office suggested the characteristics should have “,1) Resources, investments, and risk management, 2) Organizational roles, responsibilities, and coordination, 3) Integratiote objectives, activities, and performance measures, 4) Resources, investments, and risk management, 5) Organizational roles, responsibilities, and coordination and lastly 6)Integration and implementation” (APUS, 2020, pg 6). The National Security Strategy of 2017 address the Homeland Security and Homeland Defense throughout the document. To begin Homeland Security is addressed in numerous ways, the first and easiest one to identify is located on page 8, that is securing the United States boarder. “Strengthening control over our borders and immigration system is central to national security, economic prosperity, and the rule of law” Trump, 2017, pg 8). Another way the President identified Security is through missile defense, to which he speaks to upgrading current defense systems to stop missile threats coming in from new nuclear states like Iran and North Korea. Additionally, President Trump covers protection in the cyber domain, helping protect American businesses and other American ways of life accessed via the cyber domain. The Homeland Defense is covered very well in this document and in my opinion, probably takes up the majority of this document. The strategy discusses increasing military manning numbers and spending. Continuing with military it discusses eliminating threats like ISIS or other terrorist groups and working with international allies to meet this goal. Next, he speaks to defending space and the nuclear platform, to me this could go either way because defending Space and Nuclear weapons can be seen and Homeland Security it could also be seen as Defense because of the capabilities and potential locations. Furthermore, the Strategy also talks about state and non-state actors and disrupting or stopping all together the use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear weapons (CBRN). Lastly, the Strategy talk about specific regions of the world and its plan/goal for each region. This is a brief explanation of the National Security Strategy and the actual document dives deeper into both realms of Security and Defense. Have a good week.
6.) As I read this weeks discussion topic, I realized that I mistakenly answered this question in last weeks post. Because of that I guess I will summarize my original post and then go more in depth into the topic. In my original post is discussed an study on combating terrorism which outlined the desired characteristics of a national security document. those characteristics are “(1) purpose, scope, and methodology; (2) problem definition and risk assessment; (3) goals, subordinate objectives, activities, and performance measures; (4) resources, investments, and risk management; (5) organizational roles, responsibilities, and coordination; and (6) integration and implementation.” (Combating Terrorism, paragraph 1). After reviewing the National Security Strategy of the United States, I found it to be a very detailed document that covered a broad range on threats to the homeland from natural disasters, to cyber security. I mentioned in my previous post that I was impressed to find how much it focused on humanitarian and foreign aid. I stated “I feel that (humanitarian and foreign aid) goes hand in hand with homeland security and national defense. I feel, and I’m sure others would agree that war should be a last resort. If you can spread peace by humanitarian aid efforts and assisting foreign governments in achieving a democracy, then this should be the priority, as I feel it is in the United States security strategy.”. I also feel it is essential that natural disasters be part of the national security strategy. Looking at this year as an example from fires on the west coast. hurricanes in the south, and the pandemic. All of these had threatened our security. If they had all been over looked as a security concern and not anticipated, then things could have been much worse.
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