What is Preventing Homeland Security?
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Almost four years have gone by since the United States formally joined the global war on terrorism. Yet something stops us from giving as much attention to preventing terrorism as we give to preparing to respond to the next attack. One reason is a homeland security system that is designed for response rather than prevention. Three fears hamper efforts to reconfigure that system: the fear of new behaviors; the fear of imagination; and the fear of emergence. Despite these barriers, we know more about prevention than most people in Homeland Security are aware of. The Preparedness Guidelines for Homeland Security, issued in 2003 by the DHS, identifies five elements of a cohesive prevention strategy: collaboration, information sharing, threat recognition, risk management, and intervention. These Guidelines provide a good initial framework for effective prevention. We can continuously improve the Guidelines by transforming them from a proprietary to an “open source” project within the public safety community.
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