Research Paper: National Security and Homeland Defense

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Security Agencies

National Security and Homeland Defense at the Federal, State, and Local Levels: An Overview of Three Agencies

Federal

National Security Agency (NSA)

Jurisdiction: Gathers information worldwide; official jurisdiction only on U.S. soil or via diplomatic agreements with other sovereign nations

Size: Approximately 30,000 people work for the NSA worldwide, the majority of them sworn; exact numbers are not made public

The NSA focuses on signals intelligence and information assurance, gathering and analyzing information primarily through the means of high technology and cryptography, and is the primary national agency responsible for processing such information and accomplishing related tasks.

Role in Homeland Defense

Slightly reorganized and with emendations to its scope and specific activities following the creation of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which now oversees all U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts, the NSA's role in providing for homeland defense includes the detection and the prevention of both foreign and domestic attacks through the gathering of communications and other transmitted information between potential threats to security. The NSA also takes an active role in pursuing such information, utilizing computer tracking techniques, cryptography, and other tools to track and monitor potential threats.

3) Homeland Defense Case

A recent Homeland Defense issue that arose in the NSA occurred when its former director, Michael Hayden, appealed to Congress to allow the Agency to monitor public networks -- something the Agency and any other part of the federal government currently needs a warrant in order to accomplish. The ability to monitor public information networks would provide more access to intelligence regarding threats to the United States both domestically and abroad, according to former director Hayden, and for this reason he believes the NSA should be granted this broad authority. This is not the first time that organizations and individuals involved in National Security have come up against Constitutional limits -- or potential Constitutional limits -- on their powers, and it likely won't be the last, either. This case is an excellent demonstration of one of the major and ongoing issues in Homeland Defense and national security, however, and in many ways typifies the nature of the National Security Agency and the environment in which it operates.

4) Values

The stated values of the National Security Agency are rather cryptic due to their vagueness: "We will protect national security interests by adhering to the highest standards of behavior." On the one hand, this statement seems to recognize that behavioral standards and the image of our nation are intimately tied together, and that acting in a manner that is above reproach is actually directly related to national security, but on the other hand there are no specific behavioral standards or guidelines given, nor any indication of what underlying values are inherent to the "highest standards of behavior," so ultimately the values are hard to ascertain. This also makes a comparison with SLU's Core Values difficult, although "excellence" can be clearly seen as embodied even in the vague language of the NSA's values statement.

State

1) Name: Indiana State Police

Jurisdiction: Solely within the geographic borders of the State of Indiana, broken up into distinct districts and divisions yet without limiting individual officers' authority anywhere in the state

Size: According to the 2009 Annual Report, there were 1,874 total employees of the Indiana State police, 1,444 of whom were sworn officers of some sort

Mission: According to their mission statement, the Indiana State Police strive to provide professional, effective, and courteous police service, focusing on the protection of life and property, upholding all federal, state, and local laws, and assisting the public and all other law enforcement agencies in any manner possible.

2) Role in Homeland Defense

As a non-federal agency, the Indiana State Police are not directly engaged in the gathering of intelligence or the pursuit of criminals on a national or international level, but rather limit the scope of their operations to their geographic jurisdiction in the State of Indiana. This does not mean that the Indiana State Police do not play a role in Homeland Defense, however; through their efforts to detect and prevent crime in the state and specifically through their efforts protecting the Capitol, this agency provides defense in the event of domestic terrorism plots and in the pursuit of federal criminals within Indian's borders. This role in Homeland Defense can be said to be primarily reactionary as opposed to the preemptive strategies and actions of the National Security Agency and other federal agencies.

3) Homeland Defense Case

While Homeland Defense and national security efforts are often seen as responding to or preventing direct and violent attacks, and specifically to instances of terrorism, there are many other facets to these issues. This was exemplified in a recent action by the Indiana State Police in which two million dollars in cash and an amount of cocaine with a street value estimated over ten million dollars was seized and turned over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The drugs and money were potentially sources of funding for threats against the United States and its security, and all such large drug trafficking operation represent threats to Homeland Defense in and of themselves. Preventing or limiting the trade of drugs like cocaine directly reduces violence and funding for domestic criminal activity.

4) Values

The Indiana State Police do not have a value statement separate form their mission statement, but form this mission statement their values can be seen as professionalism, efficacy, and courteousness. Though full descriptions and detailed definitions of these values are not provided by the Indiana State police, making it somewhat unclear what precise actions might represent these values, they can be seen as at least loosely corresponding to the SLU values of Excellence, respect, and community. The Indiana State Police, like SLU, are committed to creating the most personally fulfilling and enabled community -- in their case, a state -- through the application of their values, and in this way they are very similar to SLU. These values also assist in their Homeland Defense efforts by creating a respected and trusted force that can be approached by the public with concerns and that engages in a proactive way with the communities of Indiana to encourage lawfulness and harmony, both of which make security threats more noticeable and less likely.

Local

1) Name: Boston Police Department

Jurisdiction: Limited to the City of Boston, within the State of Massachusetts

Size: One of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country, the Boston Police Department employs approximately 2,015 officers and just over 800 civilian personnel

Mission: The Boston Police's primary operational mission is "neighborhood policing," and the other portion of their mission statement stresses their desire to partner with the community in order to, "fight crime, reduce fear and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods." Essentially, the Boston police Department is focused on helping Boston make itself a better, safer, and happier city.

2) Role in Homeland Defense

The role of the Boston Police Department in Homeland Defense and national security is more complex than that of many other local law enforcement agencies and organizations. While contending with eth same local criminal elements as any major cities, including issues of drug and weapons trade and other illegal sources of money and potential violence, all of which can ultimately fuel threats to national security, Boston is also a city full of historic landmarks and densely populated communities making it often harder to detect crime, more attractive to criminals of various stripes, and a more prime target for attacks and other actions directly aimed at harming the nation and its morale. Boston is also home to a busy airport and seaports with abundant international travel. For all of these reasons, Homeland Defense and national security are taken very seriously by the Boston Police Department, which works in tandem with other state and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure the security not only of the city, but also of the state and the nation.

3) Homeland Defense Case

In what some ultimately saw as a rather amusing diversion in the fight to remain vigilant in terms of national security, a 2007 incident involving the Boston Police Department exemplifies the level of tension that is felt amongst the city's law enforcement when it comes to protecting the country and their city from serious threats of violence. As part of an underground marketing campaign for an Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, LED signs depicting one of the animated characters from the television show and film were put up around the city. The readily observable self-contained power sources, exposed wiring, and amateurish-looking connections made with electrical tape all led a group of Boston police officers to conclude that the electric signs could in fact be improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, posing a direct and dire threat to life and property in the city. The truth behind the signs was quick to come out once a full investigation was started, but not before the bomb scare had spread through… [END OF PREVIEW]

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National Security and Homeland Defense.  (2011, October 7).  Retrieved September 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/national-security-homeland-defense/752394

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"National Security and Homeland Defense."  Essaytown.com.  October 7, 2011.  Accessed September 20, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/national-security-homeland-defense/752394.