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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Homeland Security Strategy Update

11 October, 2007
This week, the White House has released its update on the homeland security strategy which originated in 2002
The most significant changes are essentially more focus on risk management, the incorporation of handling natural disasters into the strategy and greater public involvement in terms of levels of preparation and improvements in the education process for security professionals.

The risk management part of the strategy is significant because this area has been the poor neighbour as far as receiving funding is concerned, with the big money going into intelligence and technology development. The identification and assessment of potential hazards will no doubt put some order into the chaos of risks that any nation faces and will allow the US Government to build priorities and understand where to lay its efforts and funds.

One risk is that of natural disasters which America seems to suffer from perennially and since the aftermath is similar to the effects of terrorism, it seemed a sensible choice to include this within the framework of homeland security particularly when determining improvements that need to be made in the way that major incidents are handled by the emergency services, the media and local authorities.

Part of these improvements involve preparation not only of the professionals but also of ordinary people who get caught up in these events. One criticism that has been levelled at the Government is that information about what to do in an emergency is piecemeal, contradictory and hard to find. There are a pile of Non-Governmental Organisations that have input to this, all of whom have their own web-sites and brochures containing advice. In short, there's too much information and its scattered around so no-one is likely to read any of it. The same could be said to some extent about the general approach to homeland security with a hash of legislation and a bewildering number of government organisations involved in the matter. These structural issues are addressed in the latest strategy with a more co-ordinated approach to how things are managed.

Education also features in the new strategy and seeks to provide the levels of education necessary for the security professionals of the future which will need to be of an increasingly high standard. Government funding, incorporation of security topics into other subjects and developing networks of complimentary research and study programmes will go some way to ensuring that the skill base remains at an adequate level to stay in line with the changing levels of threat and technology.
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