Domestic security is paramount for every country. If citizens of a country are safe, their productivity increases. However, safety of citizens is in jeopardy due to frequent terrorist attacks. Domestic or international terrorists cause havoc to a country as they attack innocent citizens leading to loss of life and property. Most governments have therefore established various agencies tasked with the responsibility of gathering and analyzing intelligence activities that help in the prevention of terrorism. For instance, the United States of America has the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Border Patrol, among others. This paper provides a recent example in which armed forces were used as domestic law enforcers. Additionally, the paper outlines roles played by various agencies in the realm of counterterrorism. Finally, the paper discusses a recent example of cyber-terrorism and ways of combating it.
Recent Example of the Use of Armed Forces in Domestic Law Enforcement
Merutka (2013) explains that armed forces have recently been engaging in providing support for combating domestic law violations. A recent example to support this statement is the recent involvement of the military police of Honduras to control as well as to disperse violent protesters who were expressing their dissatisfaction with 2017 presidential elections and the subsequent presidential inauguration. According to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2018), the use of military police wreaked havoc on the Honduran population as more than 22 civilians were killed during the protests. Of 22 civilians killed, the armed forces killed 16. Additionally, about 1,351people were detained for violating a military curfew that was declared on 1st December 2017. The report further states that the use of armed forces for domestic law enforcement results to extra-judicial killings. The ramification for armed forces involvement in the Honduras situation is increased insecurity and violation of human rights. This makes reconciliation impossible as it leads to social and political polarizations among Hondurans.
The Responsibilities and the Roles of Various Agencies in the Realm of Counterterrorism
Federal Bureau of Investigation
FBI is a domestic security service and an intelligence body of the US. This agency is the leading counterintelligence and counterterrorism of the United States. According to Elliff (2015), The FBI has an enormous role as far as combating terrorism is concerned. The FBI investigates as well as prevents international and domestic terrorism. It investigates attacks that involve dangerous mass destruction weapons such as chemical, nuclear, biological, and radiological weapons. Moreover, the FBI also helps in curbing specific terrorism-related activities, for instance, money laundering, violence at airports, attacks on officials of the US, among others. Furthermore, the FBI closely works with the Central Intelligence Agency and other agencies to gather as well as analyze intelligence reports on terrorism and other forms of security threats. It is important that the FBI prioritizes safeguarding citizens of the US from terrorist attacks.
Centre for Disease Control
It is important to note that terrorist activities may involve the use of weapons of mass destruction such as such as radiological, chemical, biological, and nuclear. As a matter of fact, these weapons when used by terrorists on civilians lead to many casualties. Center for Disease Control (CDC) plays a pivotal role reducing the number of casualties during a terrorist attack. Specific roles and responsibilities of CDC in the realm of counterterrorism include assessing health status of the people affected by terrorism, assessing medical effects of weapons of mass destruction on victims, advising local, state, and federal governments on various measures to use to protect water and food supplies from radioactive contamination. It is also prudent to note that CDC provides consultation and technical assistance to various forms of government on medical treatment and decontamination of victims of chemical or radiological attacks. Moreover, CDC maintains a registry of peoples contaminated by or exposed to radioactive materials (Bakker & de Graaf, 2014).
United States Border Patrol
The United States has one of the longest sea and land borders in the world. This presents a big challenge as far as securing the border is concerned. Normally, terrorists illegal sneak into the United States through the borders. The United States Border Patrol has many responsibilities as far as counterterrorism is concerned. This agency monitors all the roadways crossing the border from a concealed position. They also search for foot trails followed by illegal immigrants. In addition, they stop vehicles crossing the border for random checks. The agency uses hidden surveillance technologies to monitor people across the borders. It is important to note that the border patrol team is heavily armed and is always prepared to respond to various forms of violent threats at the border (Haddal, 2010).
A recent example of cyber-terrorism and how it is being addressed operationally and legislatively
Cyber-terrorism is generally described as using information technology (IT) and computers to cause significant bodily harm, severe disruption, widespread fear, or loss of life in order to gain political or ideological mileage. Normally, terrorists attack information systems of government institutions such as hospitals, banks, natural security agencies, and so on. This makes a country to be in turmoil as well as in great fear of future attacks.
One recent example of cyber-terrorism was late last year, September 2017 whereby unknown people used electronic threats that resulted in the closure of schools in Flathead Valley (Neuman, 2017). These unknown people sent text messages to students, teachers, and parents. This was after the cyber-terrorists had hacked computers of the Columbia Falls School District. Electronic threats by cyber-terrorists led to the indefinite postponement of homecoming festivities Whitefish High School. The attempts by the FBI to identify the suspected terrorist were futile as the cyber-terrorist concealed his electronic location and identity.
Intuitively, cyber-terrorists use cyberspace, an interconnection of computers, to launch an electronic attack. They hack cyberspace thereby sending threatening messages or interfere with crucial information systems, thereby cause fear and panic to people. In order to curb cyber-terrorism, it is prudent to use both passive and active protection mechanisms. According to Jahankhani (2013), passive defense mechanisms involve the use of protective technologies such as firewalls, intrusion detection, and cryptography to protect the cyberspace from cyber-terrorists. This is based on the operation principles of cyber-terrorism. On the other hand, legislative measures to curb cyber-terrorists involve enacting stringent laws that impose penalties and risks to those found guilty of committing cyber-terrorism (Theohary & Rollins, 2011).
Generally, it is prudent to enhance domestic security of a country to ensure productivity and economic growth. To achieve this, countries should have fully functional agencies that gather and analyze classified intelligence reports on a planned terrorist attack. However, in case a terrorist attack happens, governments should come in swiftly to reduce the number of casualties. Imperatively, cyber-terrorism has gain prominence over the years, thus threatening the lives of people. Governments should develop stringent mechanisms to ensure that the cyberspace is secure for productive purposes.
Bakker, E., & de Graaf, B. A. (2014). Towards a theory of fear management in the counterterrorism domain: A stocktaking approach. ICCT Research Papers. Retrieved from https://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/306121
Elliff, J. T. (2015). The reform of FBI intelligence operations. Princeton University Press.Haddal, C. C. (2010). Border security: The role of the U.S. Border Patrol. Congressional Research Office. Retrieved from: www.fas.org/sgp/crs/homesec/RL32562.pdf
Jahankhani, H. (2013). Developing a Model to Reduce and/or Prevent Cybercrime Victimization among the User Individuals. In Strategic Intelligence Management, 2(1),258-268.
Merutka, C. E. (2013). Use of the Armed Forces for domestic law enforcement. Defense Technical Information Center. Retrieved from www.dtic.mil/get-trdoc/pdf?AD=ADA589451
Neuman, M. (2017). As Flathead school threats expand, law enforcement calls act "cyber terrorism". Retrieved from http://missoulian.com/news/local/as-flathead-school-threats-expand-law-enforcement-calls-acts-cyber/article_146d9bb0-0746-5e75-ac3e-905c18daed51.html
Theohary, C. A., & Rollins, J. (2011). Terrorist use of the internet: Information operations in cyberspace. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from: HYPERLINK "www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/R41674.pdf" www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/R41674.pdf
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2018). Human rights violations in the context of the 2017 elections in Honduras. Retrieved from www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/HN/2017ReportElectionsHRViolations_Honduras_EN.pdf
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