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1. The Nuclear terrorist threat, even with today’s countermeasures, is possible. Former United States president Barrack Obama in April 2009 warned that the terrorist threat using nuclear weaponry is real and that it is an immediate and extreme threat to global security. The Nuclear terrorist threat has different approaches or methods, such as bombs or an attack towards nuclear power plants or other nuclear installations, with the sole purpose of provoking a chain reaction that can result in a radioactive catastrophe. Furthermore, even when the United States Regulatory commission advertises that nuclear power plants can withstand even an aircraft crash, this could compromise the containment building’s integrity. Also, radioactive waste stored in different portions of the mentioned powerplants can be targets of a terrorist groups unleashing up to five times radioactive waste as a reactor core. Moreover, Governmental studies reveal that highly organized terrorist groups could acquire Plutonium to create a crude nuclear bomb, a device built from stolen components or rich atomic material. The Nuclear threat is real, and even when strongly organized countries with nuclear weapon capabilities have prevention systems and countermeasures to prevent weapon proliferation, the danger is alarming. In 1993, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported more than 175 nuclear trafficking’s 18 that involved highly enriched weapons with uranium or Plutonium. Furthermore, there is claims and report by the Russian general Alexander Lebed that 40 nuclear weapons are missing from the Russian Arsenal. However, a radioactive terrorist attack should not be only considered by the use of nuclear weaponry. An attempt at a nuclear installation is also a terrorist nuclear threat due to this can provoke the same or more damages than a bomb.
2. The threat of nuclear weapons acquired in the hands of terrorists is improbable, but still, the risk exist. According to the Department of Homeland Security, at a certain point, nuclear, radiological, biological, and chemical warfare represents a threat in terms of potentially harmful and fatal impacts on society and the economy (West, 2012). While at this time, there is no actual record of any terrorist organization ever acquiring nuclear weapons or materials, society still holds a fear of any terrorist organization having a position of said weapons. Terrorist organizations make unconfirmed claims of having nuclear weapons in place to disrupt a targeted society’s peace of mind. According to the lesson, during the 20th century, nuclear weapons were a hot commodity on the black market (American Military University, 2020). However, they were nearly impossible to get a hold of, so radiological dispersal devices or dirty bombs were replacing them. The reasoning behind this would be the cost of purchasing, acquiring, and holding a nuclear device was too high for a well-funding terrorist organization to get access. A review of the world’s significant powers, such as the United States of America and North Korea, as government organizations, hold the scientific ability and economy to study nuclear weapons. According to the lesson, for two decades, the United States and North Korea have gone head to head over nuclear ambitions (American Military University, 2020). Both countries have developed weapons and countermeasures for each other in a cold war standoff. I believe no one will use nuclear weapons to the extreme level of being destroyed themselves. I look at the position of nuclear weapons, and if one country fires, the rest of the world will return fire. Although the threat of nuclear weapons is real, the human factor of waiting on who will fire first and start the beginning of World War III is keeping humanity alive
3. This week we learned about intelligence oversight. Intelligence oversight is a process that helps guide the Intelligence Community in doing what is best for the American people. Intelligence oversight exist so there are proper balances in place and American civil liberties are protected through laws and regulations. Intelligence oversight is a dynamic process and consists of multiple individuals and organizations. At the strategic level there is the President and their Intelligence Advisory Board and the Intelligence Oversight Board. Additionally, individual intelligence cabinets in congress provide oversight. Furthermore, there are other agencies involved like the National Security Council and the budget office. The intelligence oversight process has come a long since its creation. Intelligence oversight is absolutely necessary but it should always be improving. As the Intelligence Community acquires new technology, uses new TTPs, and it is counter new threats, intelligence oversight will also have to evolve. The intelligence oversight process seems a little overwhelming and that could pose a challenge for emerging threats or things that need to be done quickly. Additionally, some ethical considerations outside civil liberties would be members in congress playing politics. Some members in congress may hold funding or resources for some intelligence activities for political gain. Lastly, by having congress and government very involved in intelligence activities, there are a lot of opinions on those activities and what is ethical. Unless you are an intelligence professional it may be hard to understand why some things are done the way they are. For example, the waterboarding controversy. Some people are for it and some people are against it. Also, when the intelligence community is faced with situations that fall in a gray area. Do we sacrifice 1 life to save 100? Lastly, when it comes to domestic intelligence collection there is always a fine line between privacy and safety.
4. This is always an interesting topic to discuss. It is very controversial and relies on the ethical behavior and decision of elected leaders. This is a very hard process to trust given the political corruption in the last 30 or so years. This may have been attributed the social media, and the ability to find political corruption, versus in a time where social media was not present and the ability to find about political corruption was challenging. I do believe that there has been a shift ethical decision making by all branches of the Government, Federal Agencies, and DOD. The society that we live in today is more focused on self-service and driven by other motivations rather than serving the people. The main objective of intelligence oversight is to ensure that the IC is continuing intelligence operations, but operating within the parameters that will not violate the rights of American citizens. It is also a tough call if the system needs to be changed. I believe that the politicians need to be more removed from intelligence operations. There should be more internal oversight. There needs to less restrictions, and the IC needs to have access to information that could potentially save lives. With the consistent change of terrorist operating procedures, the IC needs to access information without the threat of inadvertently accessing private info, or violating citizens’ rights.
5. The aftermath effects of 9/1 has spotlighted some of the short comings and holes that we have had as a nation. Particularly, the inability to share information across agencies in the Intelligence community. However, one of the many changes that has happened was the creation of the establishment of the Nothern Command (NORTHCOM) errected under the leadership of President Bush. Inside NORTHCOM, there are many countries including the both continental and and OCONUS United States, Mexico, Canada and the surrounding water with a proximity of 500 miles. National Guard troops are set in place to protect the boarders and U.S. Customs when it comes to homeland security. The National Guard is able to immediately expand their surveillance, administrative, engineering, and mechanical skills to the agents already protecting boarders or providing services at the U.S. Customs level. The Posse Comitatus Act came about in 1878 and it causes problems for security of the nation. The Posse Comitatus Act does not allow any part of the Army or Air force to enforce the law unless it is authorized by the constitution or an act of congress. This act also lessens the ability for federal forces to impose on a state’s administration. In relation to homeland security there has been to many interpretations of what the Posse Comitatus Act means. It does not clarify when or how the government should send military forces or other DOD assets for emergencies or terrorist attacks to suppose the U.S. national defense.
6. US Northern Command (Northcom) was established after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 to defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States and its territories. Their mission statement reads: “The United States Northern Command partners to conduct homeland defense, civil support, and security cooperation to defend and secure the United States and its interests (Northcom, 2019)”. Northcom is also charged with providing defense support for civil authorities and resources to other agencies when approved by the President or the Secretary of Defense. Additionally, Northcom has provided operational support for civil authorities during disaster relief operations for Hurricane Katrina, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the Interstate 35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The National Guard plays an important role in homeland security by providing critical personnel and resources during a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Traditionally the National Guard is a state resource under the control of the governor. The governor can activate Guard members of state active duty to provide support to local agencies within the state. The National Guard can be activated for federal service under Title 10 of the US Code for military operations overseas or in support of a presidential disaster declaration like the response to Hurricane Katrina or the Deepwater Horizon spill. Under Title 32 the Guard can be activated and remain under the operational control of the governor but they are paid by the federal government. In this situation a dual status commander (DSC). This is usually a National Guard general officer who has received specialized training from Northcom to serve in this particular role. This allows for unity of command under a general officer who is familiar with the response agencies and procedures of a specific state (McKinley, C., Winnefeld, J. (2020). The Posse Comitatus Act states: “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both (Northcom, 2019).” The Posse Comitatus act does not apply to the Coast Guard or the National Guard under Title 32. This law doesnt normally allow for the military to participate in domestic law enforcement but exceptions have been made for counter-drug and trans-national criminal organization operations, The Insurrection Act and crimes involving nuclear materials (Northcom, 2019).
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