300 rply wk2

300 rply wk2

Please respond to the following 2 students. Responses should be a minimum of 200 words (400 words and more in total) for EACH STUDENT  and include direct questions.

Responses Due: Sunday, by 11:55pm ET

Student # 1

1.Combating Human Trafficking. I have always had an interest in this aspect of homeland security because I believe human trafficking is one of the horrible ways in which various criminal networks such as terrorist get their finances. If I were to write a research paper covering this area I would hope to learn the ways in which the United States combats this threat as well as what new techniques are being used. Human trafficking is one of the lowest forms of crime in my eyes. I truly would love to help rid the world of this practice.

2. Cyber Security. When thinking of cyber security I understand this could cover a very wide range of topics however I would focus on the acts of weeding out terrorist activity on social media outlets. This is an area that hits close to home for me. A few years ago a young man who lived in the same area as me was arrested for conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks. He had been talking to what he thought were terrorist supporters on line when in reality it was a under cover agent. If I were to write a research paper on this topic I would hope to learn more on how the United States uses these hidden agents to catch individuals before they carry out attacks. 

3. Transportation Security. The topic of transportation security I believe is understated, often times we don not realize how important this is. I know that for many of us it is seen as an inconvenience when we are at the airport and we have to wait in long lines while security personnel do their job however I know we are lucky we have professionals like them. I would want to take away from researching this a better understanding of what goes into transportation security as well see how broad of an area they cover. 

4. Critical infrastructure security. Many times I catch myself when thinking about security forgetting just how important our critical infrastructure is. I would hope to take away from researching this a stronger knowledge base of what our critical infrastructure is as well as ways in which we can help to ensure it is protected. Maintaining a strong homeland is something that i believe should be important to us all.

5. Emergency communications. Communications is something most do not appreciate until it is gone. I believe this topic does not receive the full attention is deserves. In the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster emergency and government officials must have the ability to communicate, without it the effects could be devastating. It would be like commanders having no way to talk with their Soldiers on the battlefield, it would be unacceptable. I would like to research this topic to help show other as well as myself just how important communication is.

Student # 2

The steps to creating a worthy research question follow a predictable pattern.  Choose a topic (there are a number of ways to choose a topic), conduct preliminary research to see if the question has not yet been answered and refine the question to ensure its relevancy.  Finally, a question should meet some criteria including clarity, complexity and testability.

This week’s forum is focused on choosing research topics and conducting research.  It is interesting to note that for many analysts I work with, the topics originate from National intelligence questions.  Even so, choosing the questions to answer those questions can be challenging.  While this week may seem to present challenges, most of us already have some experience with the complexities of the problem set.  Finding topics within the broad scope of Homeland Security should be easy enough.  The challenge comes from creating questions without self-evident answers, questions with clear parameters that are still complex enough to warrant further research, and yet questions that can eventually be yield results from further research.

There are five different Homeland Security topics that I find of interest:

The Current State of Port Security

Securing our nation’s ports from both drugs and terrorism must be extremely challenging.  It seems to me that our nation’s long coastline is vulnerable.  But, the most logical place for a terrorist to strike is at one of our major ports where upsetting trade could have long-term effects on the economy.  And, the drug trade may be able to take advantage of the volume of trade to introduce avenues for smuggling.

I would hope that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have comprehensive plan to counter these threats from multiple vectors.

Cyber Security

I would not be surprised to find this topic on all of our lists.  Today, computers and other automated systems run just about everything: from food and power distribution to communications and entertainment.  Any interruption to these vulnerable systems from a cyber-attack would be devastating.  Of course, there is also the threat of lost identity and other forms of hacking to steal resources.

In researching this question, I would expect to find that our nation has issues securing our technology.  But, what I would hope to find is that there are efforts underway to better secure ourselves from cyber-attack.

Homeland Security Command Structure

To be honest, this topic interests me because I am just not sure what the command structure looks like.  Does it change during an emergency?  Who is in charge during and after a terrorist attack?

I would hope to find some clear answers on how the command structure works during a number of situations.

The Role of Local Police in Homeland Security

It seems to me that our local police are in the first line of defense for defending the homeland.  It would be interesting to know what the role is of our local police departments and if they have been given any new responsibilities since 9-11.

I would expect to find that our local police bear some responsibility for defense, but I would guess that they have not been given authority in many cases to properly exercise those responsibilities.

The Role of the Private Sector in Homeland Security

Our nation’s critical infrastructure is mostly owned and operated by private companies.  From lights to communications, the private sector has big responsibilities.  What is their role in keeping our infrastructure secure and safe from cyber and terrorist attacks and how much does DHS assist?  Understanding this relationship better would be of benefit to anyone interested in ensuring their lights stay on.

I would expect to find that there is a robust relationship between the private sector and DHS.  I would also expect to find that there are many responsibilities that the private sector has that it cannot complete without a DHS commitment of resources.

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