Home on the page @ www.securitymanagement.com. (News and Trends).
Homeland security. First, air security was totally revamped, and the screening force was federalized. Then the federal government and state governments broadened their security efforts, going after vulnerabilities in utilities, communication systems, and other infrastructures. And, hardly a day has gone by since 9-11 that authorities aren't discussing or taking precautions against the latest threat, such as the threat of "dirty bombs" or of shoulder-fired ground-to-air missiles that could take down jets. Yet a task force composed of prominent politicians and policymakers has blasted these efforts and warned that Americans are "lapsing back into complacency," in a report sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations.
"In all likelihood, the next attack will result in even greater casualties and widespread disruption to American lives and the economy," writes the task force, co-chaired by Gary Hart and Warren B. Rudman. Among the homeland security deficits are 650,000 local and state police officials who "operate in a virtual intelligence vacuum"; vigilance of airports at the expense of ships, trucks, and trains; unprepared first responders; and vulnerabilities in the refinery industry.
Emergency preparedness. About one in five Americans suffers from a physical, mental, or emotional disability. In a typical high-rise building or stadium, that general statistic can translate into a potentially enormous number of people who may need help being evacuated during a crisis. But 50 percent of the people with disabilities say that no plans have been made for them to be safely evacuated from the workplace, according to the National Organization on Disability (NOD).
To address the problem, NOD has developed a guide for emergency managers, planners, and responders to help them meet the needs of people with disabilities. The 29-page document explains that various types of disability, ranging from deafness to retardation, require different considerations. While stairs might present problems for someone in a wheelchair, deaf people will be unable to respond to spoken commands or alarms. Among the topics addressed by the guide are partnering with the disability community, involving people with disabilities in disaster planning, and communicating effectively. The guide also contains a list of tools and resources for special-needs emergency planning, such as Web sites, videos, and training courses. SM Online has the document.
Australia. Despite Australia's proximity to such militant Islamic hotbeds as Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, global terrorism has hit home only with the Bali nightclub bombing in October 2002 in which dozens of countrymen died. A nonpartisan, independent policy organization called the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (APSI) has released a report analyzing today's terrorism risk to that nation. While Australia is certainly allied with the West and could be targeted by Islamist terrorists (especially since the country has been specifically mentioned by Osama bin Laden), no attacks have occurred on Australian soil. Nor has evidence been uncovered of plans for such a strike, or even intelligence warnings to that effect.
The authors call for an integrated antiterrorism strategy, but they do not advocate the "creation of a single giant bureaucratic organization" like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They also cite the need for increased funding for Australia's national intelligence service--the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation--and they note the importance of integrating intelligence throughout the government across department boundaries. Australia must also shuck its "hostage-negotiation" approach to terrorism, the paper says, in favor of a policy that includes increased attention to prevention, tactical response, and recovery efforts. APSI's paper is on SM Online.
Agroterrorism. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kansas ranks third among states in number of cattle, with 6.6 million head, following Texas and Nebraska. In addition, Kansas is home to 462 feedlots, 104 meat-processing plants, 94 domestic elk or deer facilities, and 55 livestock markets. Thus, Kansas stands to suffer significantly if hoof and mouth disease enters the state. And hoof and mouth is "the greatest biological threat to our country's agriculture economy," according to Terry Knowles, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), in an article recently published in the Journal of Homeland Security.
In the article, Knowles discusses the threat and how the state livestock commission would likely respond. He also addresses law enforcement's role in helping prevent harm to U.S. agriculture. For example, officers would enforce quarantines, help in criminal investigations, and assist federal agencies. The KBI is also expanding its intelligence database, to which 345 law enforcement agencies contribute, to identify threats to Kansas agriculture, Knowles writes. Learn more through a link on SM Online.
Radiation risks. Radioactive materials provide great benefits to medicine, energy generation, and other fields. But they must be closely controlled and dispensed to limit their potential harmful effects. It is these harmful effects that could make radioactive materials from commercial sources appealing to terrorists interested in cobbling together a "dirty bomb." The Monterey Institute of International Studies at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies recently released a paper assessing the risk posed by these materials. The study concludes "that only a small fraction of the millions of commercial radioactive sources used globally...pose inherently high security risks."
The authors outline six areas in which "high priority work" needs to be done. For example, to curtail illicit commerce in radioactive sources, nations should condition exports of high-risk sources on the importing country's security controls. The authors also recommend the disposal of the currently large pool of sources no longer in use, such as by developing secure disused-source depositories in countries without such facilities. Read the full report on SM Online.
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|Date:||Apr 1, 2003|
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