Federal Government and Preventing Terrorist Actions

The aim of this paper is to discuss possible ways in which the federal government can act in an effort to prevent a terrorist attack in the United States. This paper will address the probable ways in which the federal government through the relevant agencies can better prevent the United States from suffering another terrorist attack. This paper will also give formative methods for instance decision analysis and weighing the disutilities of various terrorist acts by perceived likelihoods. The purpose of this paper is to discuss possible ways in which the federal government can act with the aim of preventing a terrorist attack. The study will give the views of members of the public on ways in which the issue of terrorism can be handled. It will also attempt to answer the question of whether priority should be given to the terror acts that are most likely to occur or the ones that will have the most serious of consequences.

Literature Review

In order to deter any future terrorist activities, the federal government should consider offense as a way of protecting the country against future terrorist activities. This can be done by directly targeting these terrorist organizations in the areas where they operate through covert action. The Central Intelligence Agency uses covert operations to influence events in a foreign country and is done in order to mask the involvement of the government of the United States. This is done so as to dismantle terrorist infrastructure that can be used to plan, facilitate, train or fund international   terrorists who may be planning attacks against the United States or her allies. Congress has supported covert action authorizing the president to "use all necessary means to, including covert action and military force to disrupt, dismantle and destroy international terrorists, including overseas terrorist training facilities and safe havens" (Caldwell,S. L. & Davis, R. 1997).

The federal government can use the military with an aim of disrupting the activities of terrorists. This can be done by taking retaliatory action against governments or states that are known to support or sponsor terrorists. A good example was in 1986 when the United States bombed targets in Libya in retaliation to the role that the country played more specifically the bombing of a German discotheque that killed a number of off duty American servicemen. In 1993, the United States also bombed targets in Iraq when it became apparent that the country was involved in an attempt to assassinate the former American president Bush when he visited Kuwait (Caldwell,S. L. & Davis, R. 1997).

The federal government through the State Department has the responsibility to deny terrorists and their accomplices' entry visas to the United States. Thanks to the "TIPOFF" program of the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, whose role is to declassify intelligence information that is sensitive and also law enforcement information and to enter this information into the State Consular Lookout and Support System. This information can then be used by The Bureau of Consular affairs and consular officers stationed abroad with an aim of monitoring visa applications. This will help the officers to easily detect anyone who is either known to be a terrorist or is suspected to be one in case they apply for visas overseas. Figures from State Department Statistics indicate that since 1987, the TIPOFF programme has managed to detect 722 suspected terrorists while they were in the process of applying for American visas. The U.S. customs service and the INS, by manning border controls, can help the federal government by preventing terrorists and terrorist materials from entering the country. Customs o0fficers play a key role in fighting terrorism because they inspect goods entering the country for contraband such as explosives, illegal drugs and substances and currency (Caldwell,S. L. & Davis, R. 1997).

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The unfortunate terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 triggered massive changes in to the US government anti-terror policy. It resulted in a restructuring that saw the creation of the Department of Homeland Security whose main responsibilities' were: "(A) prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; (B) reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism and(C) minimize the damage and aid in the recovery from terror attacks that occur within the United States" (Homeland Security Act of 2002). The Department is also responsible for the allocation of funds for the prevention of terror attacks and response to the same (McGraw, P., Todorov, A. & Kunreuther, H. 2011)


Normative approaches to anti-terror policies

To promote a risk focus approach to its budgeting activities, the DHS consults exper5ts regularly about the chances, vulnerability and consequences of various acts of terror acts and how these threats can be reduced.

Fifty five members of the public in a recreation park participated in the study.

Use of questionnaires

Participants took part in a 20-minute long session that involved one other unrelated questionnaire. The questionnaire of interest was placed at the end of the study and it presented the participants with ways in which the DHS should budget in an attempt to prevent a terrorist attack. Questionnaire was used s it is a primary source and gives result from the affected participants directly. To test the public's response to the strategies that the DHS could use for anti-terror decisions, I presented members of the public these strategies. Adults above the age of 18 were randomly selected and handed the questionnaires to which they were expected to answer all the questions in it. The percentage of respondents choosing each option was

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(19%): The DHS should prioritize budgeting to prevent attacks whose consequences are most severe.

(28%): The DHS should prioritize budgeting to prevent attacks whose likelihood of happening is the highest.

(52%): The DHS should prioritize budgeting to prevent attacks based on a balance of both the likelihood of an attack and their consequences

(1%): The DHS should prioritize budgeting to prevent attacks that the citizens would be most likely to blame the DHS if they occurred.

(0%): The DHS should prioritize budgeting to prevent attacks that the citizens would find most upsetting.

A majority of the respondents selected a normative approach that balanced the chances of an attack happening and the consequences (McGraw,P., Todorov,A. & Kunreuther, H. 2011).

Coordinating government intervention

The office of Homeland Security should provide a regulatory framework to assign specific agencies specific task. This is important so as to ensure federal response is coordinated and also reduces the chances of a regulatory turf war. The DHS should coordinate its activities with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OIRA's responsibility is overseeing the regulatory activities of executive branch agencies. To this end, OIRA developed a "prompt letter" which it suggests to agencies changes in existing rules or new rules that should be adopted. This can be used to develop and coordinate regulations through the Office of Homeland Security (O'Hanlon, M. E. 2003).

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It is however important for policy makers concerned with homeland security to carefully balance the prose of preventing the number and severity of future attacks vis a vis the costs of the security measures. The federal government should finance public sector homeland activities in a case where they involve a specific antiterrorism measure or when it addresses significant spatial externalities. On the other hand, local authorities should finance antiterrorism activities which provide significant collateral benefits of a local nature (O'Hanlon, M. E. 2003).

Principles of Combating Terrorism

To effectively combat terrorism, countries have put into place well structured programs that ensure that that the terrorists do not have their way. The US for example has sound defensive measures for example they treat terrorism as a crime that should be prosecuted and as a result has strengthened its domestic anti-terrorism laws. The US also does not make concessions or strike deals with terrorists. The resultant plan is to strive to strike a reasonable balance between the desired protection, the requirements of the mission and the availability of resources (Alexander, Yonah Pg.25).

Antiterrorism are the measures put in place by individuals to reduce the chances of falling victims of a terrorist attack. It can also include defensive measures put in place to reduce the vulnerability of individuals or their properties of falling terrorist victims. Counterterrorism is also defined as the all the offensive measures and actions that are taken with the aim of preventing, deterring and responding to terrorism (Sloan, Stephen Pg.12).

A new Paradigm is necessary

The US government should remove both the real and perceived impediments to the involvement of the Department of Defense in homeland security. The original purpose of the Posse Comitatus Act must be reflected upon with a view of broadening the mandate of the armed forces in law enforcement. The military is the only institution that can substantially deal with catastrophic terrorist acts for example chemical and biological attacks. The military investigation, analysis of intelligence and fact finding can complement state and local governments' in the event of a calamity (Bolt, P. J., Coletta, D. V. & Shackleford, C. G. 2005).

Terrorism is the single largest threat to international peace and security in this day and age. The federal government's effort to prevent terrorist attacks has been greatly received by the American public as it is a way of keeping everyone safe. Even though it is practically impossible to totally protect the country against terrorist attacks, through intelligence gathering by the various agencies of government can aid in this endeavor. This noble cause of preventing terrorist attacks should receive all the backing required for it to be successful and for all to be safe.



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