The transportation security administration, the customs and border protection agency, and the federal air marshal program are all tasked with the duty of providing security for a twenty-four-hour economy. Their role is to oversee the transportation programs, assess the systems, and conduct collaborative security operations and law enforcement. Since the country experienced the most devastating terror attack, it is fit to say that these programs have been at the frontline in ensuring the safety of American citizens. Despite this significant improvement, the programs have also introduced a series of shortcomings, which cannot go unnoticed. This paper provides summarized details of the efforts these programs have put in place as well as the emerging failures.
Since its enactment in 2001, the Transportation Security Administration has accomplished essential counterterrorism operations without its partners adopting necessary security improvements. Nonetheless, TSA has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security to incorporate safety priorities. In conjunction with DHSs framework, TSA has been able to facilitate information sharing and coordinate activities such as security assessments, employee training, and exercises (Stewart, Ellingwood & Mueller, 2011, p. 369). The administration has also specialized in explosives detection, credentialing to support the USCG as the lead maritime security agency. TSA has taken up the role of ensuring security in every airport in the country. Checkpoint operations, trained personnel, and current technology have facilitated this service. Apart from ensuring maritime and airport security, the agency also supports the owners of surface transportation systems through risk assessment, developing security programs, and implementing them.
The Federal air marshal service has embarked on an aggressive personnel engagement campaign by involving employees through all levels of the organization in gauging priority concerns, and communicating security expectations. The program has also set its focus on training field marshals to on how to profile passengers because the task of detecting terrorists cannot be solely left to TSA officers in the airport (Stewart, Ellingwood & Mueller, 2011, p. 372). The security program has also introduced robust medical, physical and psychological programs which are also extended to the families of field officers. To maximize the organization's efficiency, the program has completed a field office assessment to ensure that field marshals are assigned locations that cover the most critical flights. This decision has led to the closure of several other ineffective offices, which were not risk-assessed. The new offices, however, service the highest risk flights. Also, field marshal assigned to the FBIs task force responsible for curbing terrorist activities will retain their positions.
Despite the emergence of the TSA, some operational features are still the same. For example, airline crews are repeatedly expressing skeptical attitudes after news of TSAs failure to detect explosives and weapons in undercover screening come up. This implies that there is a serious lapse in the agencies security program or criminals are simply outsmarting them. Another aspect that the TSA has failed in is maintaining a routine during the security process (Stewart & Mueller, 2011, p. 1596). The rationale behind security procedures should not provide for any randomness such that passengers and crewmembers are checked as one. After conducting screening tests, the TSA should not release the data publicly, especially data, which shows failures to detect threatening, items. Doing this only paints a target on our airplanes for terrorists to take aim. Field marshals, on the other hand, should receive exemplary training to enable them to control onboard terror activities. Also, when employing field marshals, the TSA should ascertain that the potential employees are committed to ensuring the safety of passengers because terrorists are very persuasive especially through bribes.
The Customs and border protection have taken up several initiatives to enhance its border protection program. By deploying the right combination of resources and intelligence activities, the agency has increased the miles of border under control to nine hundred and thirty-nine miles since 2008. The agency has initiated intelligence driven procedures to prevent terrorists, smugglers, and aliens from entering the United States. The agency collects and analyzes intelligence using databases, intelligence reports from other agencies and interviews with apprehended customs and border violators (Mays, et.al, 2011, p. 3). The agencys employees are divided into teams known as integrated border enforcement teams. These teams are comprised of federal officials and local law enforcement personnel. The agency facilitates an integrated mobile response service that is used by law enforcement personnel to maximize border protection efforts.
The main problem associated with the U.S. customs and border protection program is that criminals often possess undue advantage due to advanced technology, sophisticated weapons, and international connections. Also, most of the criminal operatives are covered by legitimate enterprises which make it difficult to establish their true intent. Moreover, it is impossible to recognize security concerns from economic concerns since discharge of sophisticated weapons at the border could affect the countrys economy. Another challenge lies in the constitutions provision through the fourth amendment. This law protects individuals from unreasonable searches. Hence, border patrol officials are also required to be reasonable in their search routine. This law poses a challenge to the agency since the possibility of terrorist activity, or smuggling cannot be confirmed if this law still applies.
Mays, R. E., Zachry, M., Murat, A., & Haselkorn, M. P. (2011, May). Aligning Border Security Workflow and Decision Making with Supporting Information and Communication Systems. In Proceedings of the 8th International ISCRAM ConferenceLisbon (Vol. 1).
Stewart, M. G., & Mueller, J. (2011). Cost-benefit analysis of advanced imaging technology full body scanners for airline passenger security screening. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 8(1).Stewart, M. G., Ellingwood, B. R., & Mueller, J. (2011). Homeland security: a case study in risk aversion for public decision-making. International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 15(5-6), 367-386.
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