Sec 310 – Impetus of the Department of Homeland Security

Describe why the 9/11 attacks was the impetus for forming the Department of Homeland Security and raising greater awareness of terrorist attacks.

The September 11 attacks that took place in the World Trade Center, the United Flight 93, and the Pentagon had a significant impact on America and the American public. It is estimated that over 2,900 people died in the attack including police officers, fire fighters, and general public. This left Americans horrified and frightened, the public required the government to do more in terms of protecting the country from future terrorist attacks (Goodrich, 2002).

The successful strike by the Al Qaeda resulted in overwhelming public sentiments and an over pronounced sense of vulnerability. Consequently, the government felt the need to introduce and implement measures that would address public concerns, fortifying America’s defense, and its ability to deal with terrorism (Goodrich, 2002). The formation of the Department of Homeland Security and raising greater awareness of terrorist attacks were among the measures to be implemented by Bush Administration in order to address the public concerns while improving national security.

  1. Hypothesize why the Oklahoma City and 1993 World Trade Center bombings did not cause the dramatic impact as that of 9/11.

The Oklahoma City and 1993 World Trade Center bombing sled to changes in the United States Government in the effort to improve national security. However, these changes were not to the required level and in September 11, 2001, the Al Qaeda successfully carried out an attack that had an even greater impact on America, the worst terrorist attack in the United States to this day(Goodrich, 2002).This section will examine the reason why the 9-11 attack had significantly greater impact than either the Oklahoma City and 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

The main reason why the 9-11 attacks were severe than the previously carried out terrorist attacks was due to availability of resources that was coupled with careful coordination(Goodrich, 2002). The Oklahoma City and 1993 World Trade Center bombings were both executed by small terrorist groups who had limited resources while the 9-11 attack was executed by an international terrorist group that had sufficient resources at its disposal. The Al Qaida, the terrorist group that carried out the 9-11 attacks, has both the finances and manpower to execute a major attack on the US soil. The Al Qaida is suspected to get it’s financing from drug trade as well as donations from supporters across the world (Aldrich, 2002).The other attacks on the other hand had limited finances and manpower, the Oklahoma City bombing was executed by a group of two individuals and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was executed by a group of six individuals and was financed by one person (Linenthal, 2001; Nacos, 1996 ).

Additionally, the attacks relied heavily on technology that is always evolving. The Oklahoma City and 1993 World Trade Center bombings were carried out in early 1990s while the 9-11 attacks were carried out in 2001, almost ten years later. The difference in timelines allowed time for invention of better, more powerful and effective weapons that had the potential of causing more damage ((Linenthal, 2001; Nacos, 1996; and Goodrich, 2002 ).

  1. Predict how these two (2) historical attacks could have potentially been diminished or avoided with the protections in place today.

The historical attacks could have been diminished or avoided had the appropriate measures been taken. Among the measures that could have made this possible include enacting and implementing a more effective policy. Preventive policies can be very useful in detecting and preventing terrorist attacks on timely basis and thus effective policies could have stopped the attacks before they happened. Policies that advance terrorist detection efforts such as improved gathering of intelligence and infiltrating terrorist groups would have facilitated early detection and help in stopping the attacks or in reducing their impact (Goodrich, 2002). The existing policies focused more on international terrorist attacks and neglected local attacks. This made it easier for the FBI to detect and prevent internationally planned terrorist attacks, including the aborted 1993 bombings, but their capability to detect domestic terrorist groups was challenged by the restrictive policies that were in play. Revising such policies would have facilitated stopping the attacks.

Improved terrorist information gathering and sharing processes. When law enforcers are able to gather and share information about terrorist groups, they are able to detect and prevent attacks more effectively. Establishment of ways to collect, analyze and distribute information regarding domestic terrorist groups and the activities they undertake on day-to-day basis on timely basis could have helped stop or reduce the impact of the attacks. Such strategies would also improve coordination among the various intelligence agencies, and law enforcement agencies, which would improve national security.

Lastly, reducing budget cuts that affect strategies involved in fighting terrorism. Reducing the resources available to agencies that fight domestic and international terrorism interrupts the operations of those agencies since they are forced to cut on their expenses. This could in turn weaken the country’s defense against potential attacks.

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