The current paper examines the problem of counter-terrorism from the perspective of a network of transnational organizations. This topic is chosen for a number of reasons. First, all questions of homeland security represent a significant interest both at a micro- and macro-level. Second, in order to generate progress in this field, it is necessary to apply the systems approach and examine it as a complex social network. The purpose of the paper is determining the key principles of the optimal counter-terrorism system that should be implemented under current conditions. Optimizing homeland security challenges from the perspective of a network of transnational actors allows determining objective criteria for the rational allocation of scarce resources and achieving the synergic effect. Lens III will be applied in the paper.
First of all, it is necessary to explain what the chosen topic means to me. I recognize that the over-simplistic representation of the problem of counter-terrorism cannot lead to long-term positive results. Therefore, it is reasonable to examine it as one of organizational design problems. It is especially important for me as I believe that I may contribute to the optimization of the necessary measures in this field. Consequently, a more efficient coordination of all key elements may be achieved. In my opinion, the network governance structures may help to specify the most reliable tools for selecting the necessary interventions.
It is also highly important for the field of investigation. At the present moment, the terrorist threat is widely recognized as one of the main potential danger for society.
However, there is a lack of objective and reliable solutions for it. The majority of recommendations is mostly subjective and is based on authors’ personal interpretation of the essence of the issue and optimal responsive strategies. In particular, the rationale for resource optimization and actions under the conditions of global uncertainty is not adequately developed. Moreover, qualitative considerations are not properly integrated with quantitative decisions.
Another current problem is additional threats creates by counter-terrorism policies. As they are not based on the evaluation of all secondary outcomes, some measures lead to the restriction of citizens’ rights and liberties. In many cases, the considerations of national security prevail over those of individual liberty. It seems that this approach is absolutely unacceptable and can lead to even more significant problems than terrorism per se. Therefore, there is an objective necessity in the introduction of new approaches in this field.
The chosen research topic is also significant for society. Society may develop only under the conditions of mutual respect and peaceful cooperation. Terrorism directly violates the most basic principles of a democratic society. At the same time, the current counter-terrorism practices do not allow adequately addressing this problem. Consequently, society experiences a number of negative effects. First, it suffers direct material and non-material losses from terrorist acts. Second, all social members are under a permanent terrorist threat and experience constant psychological pressure. Third, the global uncertainty does not allow implementing many long-term projects aimed at the satisfaction of community needs due to additional risks.
Therefore, this research topic addresses the most relevant issues that may be observed at different social levels. The effectiveness of counter-terrorism measures directly influences the long-term rates of economic growth and people’s safety perceptions. It is also important to evaluate all existing risks and indirect consequences. All social systems are very complex, and some real outcomes may substantially differ from the expected framework. Thus, it is reasonable to develop a complex network of responses to a whole set of possible challenges.
As this problem may be addressed from various perspectives, it is reasonable to select the most rational approach. It seems that Lens III provide the most developed option. Homeland security may be viewed as one of the organizational design problems because it is possible to optimize all response strategies as elements of the entire organizational network. Correspondingly, terrorism may be viewed as a complex network of transnational terrorist organizations. A better understanding of the essence of terrorist organizations may help to introduce a more efficient system of counter-terrorism measures.
The current centralized systems are comparatively inefficient in dealing with decentralized terrorist organizations. The introduction of the proposed system may create a new network structure that will be much more flexible and adaptable. It may be able not only respond to the dominant challenges but effectively prevent them. If the counter-terrorism system becomes more decentralized and flexible than terrorist organizations, the scope of this problem may be minimized. As a result, a large fraction of public funds may be economized and directed to the realization of other productive projects.
Under the proposed system, national interests may be properly protected without any limitations of people’s liberties and rights. Thus, it is the only system that addresses all secondary consequences of interventions in all their complexity. Moreover, its implementation is comparatively inexpensive as decentralized systems are much more efficient and less expensive in comparison with centralized ones. Its implementation in the US may affect the global counter-terrorism system and encourage other countries to introduce similar systems.
It is reasonable to present an annotated bibliography of the three relevant sources for this research.
Kiltz, L. & Ramsay, J. (2010). Perceptual framing of homeland security. Homeland Security Affairs, 8(15), 1-26.
The authors describe four lenses that may be used in addressing current terrorist threats. The first three lenses are independent approaches while the last one refers to a complex mixture of other approaches. The authors stress that homeland security is a complex field that consists of numerous interrelated elements. Terrorism challenges provide the general framework of changes that should be introduced in order to improve the general situation in society.
Lens I examines terrorism from a criminal justice perspective. According to it, terrorism is a crime, and corresponding measures should be implemented in order to minimize or neutralize its impact. Lens II analyzes homeland security in the broad system of international relations. Correspondingly, terrorism is viewed as a modern type of war. Thus, the government should play a central role in dealing with it. Lens III examines this problem as a subset of organizational design issues. A system of transnational actors is closely examined. Lens IV incorporates all abovementioned perspectives and evaluates the impact of economic, political, and other relevant factors. These lenses also outline the types of people’s perception of this problem.
Chen, S. Y. & Tenforde, T. S. (2010). Optimization approaches to decision making on long-term cleanup and site restoration following a nuclear or radiological terrorism incident. Homeland Security Affairs, 6(1), 1-17.
The authors demonstrate that potential terrorist attacks present significant threats for the national security especially if they are based on the use of radiological devices. Chen and Tenforde explain that the majority of the developed methods deal primarily with primary stages of the responding process while latter stages are not properly developed. The authors address long-term consequences including radioactive contamination. They evaluate the expected negative effect on both private and public property.
Two main factors affecting the decision-making process are determined. They include cost considerations and the stakeholder acceptance of the selected goals. The first one is necessary for specifying the structure of costs and investments that should be adopted. Counter-terrorism measures cannot neglect economic considerations and should propose reliable solutions that will be economically correct in the long run. The second factor takes into account subjective perceptions of people involved. Effective counter-terrorism measures should include not only objective responses to specific threats but a corresponding state of the public opinion as well.
Kahan, J. H., Allen, A. C., & George, J. K. (2009). An operational framework for resilience. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 6(1), 1-48.
The authors propose a framework of resilience that may be implemented in relation to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). They address the needs of stakeholders at all levels. They have outlined three main objectives in this context; they are absorption, restoration, and resistance. The authors claim that the main attention should be paid to the planning stage as it is the most important in establishing the necessary safety standards.
It is also reasonable to determine main functions in critical systems. The analysis of costs and expected effects should provide a rationale for determining the optimal structure of investments in security programs. Additional testing may be introduced in order to verify the expected effects of the proposed solutions. The authors recognize the expected difficulties and additional risks. However, they suggest that the expected benefits and higher safety standards will cover these expenses.
It may be concluded that the issues of homeland security and counter-terrorism may be examined from various perspectives. Although different approaches have their corresponding strengths and weaknesses, it is reasonable to solve this problem as one of the organizational design cases. This approach proposes a number of innovative insights as well as evaluates a complex network of social interactions. Moreover, the proposed system is decentralized that is especially relevant in dealing with modern terrorism challenges. On this basis, scarce economic resources may be correspondingly allocated, and the overall social effect may be maximized. The state of the public opinion should also correspond to the structure of introduced reforms for achieving the synergic effect.