Homework Questions

This week’s readings examined the range of threats the nation must prepare for in providing for homeland security. Applying and analyzing the information you gathered from those readings, as well as your personal/professional experiences, please respond to the following, using the readings to support your response as needed.

1. Identify the top three threats to homeland security and why you chose those as the the primary threats.

2. Considering individual tactics, which one do you consider to be the most intimidating and which do you see as the most likely to be used to carry out the next attack on U.S. soil?

Articles for weekly assignment:

Countering violent Islamist extremism: The urgent threat of foreign fighters and homegrown terror: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Testi…

Report Credits F.B.I. With Progress Since 9/11, but Says More Is Needed: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/26/us/fbi-911-revi…

2014 Quadrennial homeland security review: https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publicatio…

The Strategic National Risk Assessment in Support of PPD 8: A Comprehensive Risk-Based Approach toward a Secure and Resilient Nation: https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/rma-strategic-…

Instructions: Your initial post should be at least 350 words. Please respond to at least 2 other students.

Responses should be a minimum of 150 words to each student and include direct questions.

Forum posts are graded on timeliness, relevance, knowledge of the weekly readings, and the quality of original ideas. Sources utilized to support answers are to be cited in accordance with the APA writing style by providing a general parenthetical citation (reference the author, year and page number) within your post. Refer to grading rubric for additional details concerning grading criteria.

Student #1 John

The 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) was a very interesting read because it is a refined version of the first 2010 Quadrennial Review and highlights the evolving landscape of homeland security threats and hazards. The focus areas in the 2014 review include: a decentralized terrorist threat; the growth of cyber threats; natural hazards, pandemics and climate change that pose problems to interdependent and aging U.S. infrastructures; border security; immigration and strengthen national preparedness and resiliency (QHSR, 2014). According to the “legal requirement” outlined in this review on page 11, it is conducted by the Secretary of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) starting fiscal year 2009, and every 4 years. Each quadrennial home security review shall be a comprehensive examination of the homeland security strategy of the Nation (QHSR, 2014).

The 2014 QHSR provided me a baseline to which to analyze the most recent threats and or hazards to homeland security and homeland defense. It most certainly adds truth to the professor’s statement in his week 1 wrap-up, “the overlap between them is constantly changing, based upon the threats being addressed and the factors that affect them.” But the nature of this world is not one-sided because the forces at play against our nation is adapting their tactics also.

One key report written by Rasmussen (2015) addressing DHS and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) that speaks about an alarming increase in Foreign Fighters traveling to Iraq and Syria. From his assessment they were able to figure out that at least 3,400 of these fighters are from Western countries and over 150 persons from the United States have traveled or attempted to travel to conflict zones abroad (Rasmussen, 2015). The battlefields of those conflict zones provide these fighters with combat experience and training, and as a result could pose a threat to U.S. soil upon their return (Rasmussen, 2015). It is obvious the homegrown violent extremist threat is one that is urgent and rising especially when they do return to American to fight on their home turf.

How are these American born radicals being recruited? The internet propaganda threat is the reason for this movement. This type of cyber threat is not often the first thing that comes to mind, but it is as dangerous as computer hackers are to information technology. The internet has evolved to numerous ISIL internet influenced propaganda that are specifically designed to target Western born radicals especially Muslim Americans (Levin, 2015). It allows violent extremism to flourish in America by providing a venue to unify with like-minded violent extremists in a medium that is easily accessible to anyone with a computer (Levin, 2015). ISIL uses the most popular social media platforms to disseminate this messaging—YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (Rasmussen, 2015).

Now the perfect storm. There was a movie I recently rented from Redbox called “The Hurricane Heist” where a group of criminals infiltrates a U.S. Mint facility. The plan was to steal 600 million dollars and escape using a Category 5 hurricane as cover. This natural disaster threat took out these critical infrastructures: electrical, information technology and communications sectors in one full sweep that allowed the criminals to escape with the loot.

The combination of all three threats in a planned attack would be intimidating to U.S. security and could be a possible idea for the next attack on U.S. soil.


Department of Homeland Security (2014), The 2014 Quadrennial Homeland Security review, Washington, DC: Government Printing Office

Countering violent Islamist Extremism: The urgent threat of foreign fighters and homegrown terror: Hearing before the House Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. Congress (2015). Testimony of Nicholas Rasmussen.

Levin, B. (2015), The original web of hate: Revolution Muslim and American Homegrown Extremism, American Behavioral Scientist, 59 (12), 1611-1625

Student #2 Clayton

Threats that we face at home are always evolving. In the most recent Years we have seen a lot of Domestic Terrorism. Domestic Terrorism I believe is the biggest if not most dangerous threat we face to this day. The reasoning I have behind this is the fact that Domestic Terrorism can vary widely, appeal to diverse individuals, and is very hard to stop. The motivational factors that lead someone to carry out such acts of violence can differ from person to person which in itself causes a huge threat. These types of Terrorist attacks and actions are also very hard to stop. Personally I think, another huge threat that we face is Agro Terrorism. The road to a successful agricultural attack may be very hard, but if successfully completed could kill or injure thousands of people. Carrying out an attack on our food industry and or farm industry that covers a very wide consumer base with successful poisoning for example could yield thousands of lives lost. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that Aviation threats are on top of his radar, and I agree with him. The Aviation industry to me seems very vulnerable. Not only that but Airplanes transporting hundreds of people travel internationally all over the world. He goes on to say that one of these airplanes filled with nothing but Americans would yield a tremendous loss for us and just the same a massive victory to those who wish harm on us. I think that the one I for see to stay one of the biggest threats to us on U.S. is the danger of Domestic Terrorism. This can come in so many forms and by different people. Individuals that can conceal their intentions long enough in order to escape Intelligence Agencies and or Law Enforcement have a very good chance in causing Harm to the American People and our Allies. Internet Forums and other Platforms have proven to be breeding grounds for prospective Terrorists, and I think our continued focus to strive to stop those individuals in their tracks will prove to be successful. With our ever evolving team and Equipment I think we are doing everything we can to stop attacks to the best of our capabilities.

Susan Jones on Greatest Threat to Homeland Security https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/g… 2017



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