The latest change to the NIPP has been in the area of the Security and Resilience Challenge. This area is described as being a means of identifying and funding innovative ideas for providing tools for assisting the critical infrastructure community (DHS, 2016). While this planning sounds good it is not well explained. In order to get involved in this program one must submit what is know as a Capability Gap Statement on the National Institute of Hometown Security website. This program is like many government programs as it requires review panels for identifying and funding new initiatives. This is not a major change in my mind as there are numerous programs in government that allow for funding of new programs and these can be found under law enforcement and in military grants. I am not sure that I think this is the most innovative use of resources for identifying new means of protecting critical infrastructure.
One of the key features of terrorism is that it operates outside the normal channels of both law enforcement and it operates in an unpredictable manner. I personally think that we need more innovative means of protecting critical infrastructure such as think tanks, and even programs that promote independent thought on the subject.
DHS. (2016). NIPP Security and Resilience Challenge. Retrieved from Association of State Safe Drinking Water Associations
I think the larger issue is the fact that intelligence communities must operate in secrecy and that efficiency typically means greater access and changing methods. This is problematic because access means less security. There are more efficient methods of tracking terrorists but often these require open sources intelligence methods such as media and private sector which decreases security. It is a complex problem because even intelligence teams that are smaller and operate more autonomously have limitations because they pose the risk of being discovered. I personally like the bureaucratic nature of the DHS, providing it can maintain its mission. Bureaucratic agencies may seem like a bad thing but they have their benefits. One major benefit is the fact that there is less of chance of these agencies being corrupted. When we look at other smaller agencies such as ATF we can see the issues. During the 80s and 90s, the ATF was considered by many people to be a rogue agency because it was afforded too much power.
I am not sure that any agency can be prepared for a terrorist attack. I don’t think that the public or agencies can be prepared for an attack except to react to it because there is no way to predict a person flying a plane into a building. What I mean to say is that terrorism is unpredictable and worse yet our society has too many soft targets to fully prepare for an attack. The constant changing strategies of terrorists create serious issue for preparation. I think that agencies can prepare in a reactive manner in which they have plans that link private and public entities to deal with different forms of attacks and their outcomes. For instance, an attack on a hospital may need to have public and private medical services deliver services.