Deciding who lives : considered risk casualty decisions in homeland security
Mahoney, Robert T.
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Homeland security was changed by the events of September 11, 2001, including how we make life and death decisions. Terrorism, all hazards, and public health issues increase the number of decisions involving the expenditure of civilian lives. These Considered Risk Casualties are akin to the military concept of "acceptable losses." Homeland security professionals have little or no experience, let alone guidance, in decision making under circumstances that bring this condition to the civilian population. Other disciplines such as philosophy, theology, bioethics, and the military, etc. have examined principles that are involved in the concept of accepting loss of life and have identified theoretical circumstances under which acceptance is achieved. Homeland security has had little discussion of these matters and virtually no criteria to support such decision making. Examining the observations, and how those disciplines test the concept, can inform and assist homeland security practitioners when having to make these decisions. Examining homeland security events that addressed loss of life can expand the range of scenarios those disciplines use for their analysis. An educational process that draws on other sectors' experience can serve to improve decision making capabilities. Future research opportunities exist within and external to homeland security and those disciplines'
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