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Ever since occurrence of the September 2001 terrorist events, the United States has bolstered its security agencies with a view to enhancing safety of its citizens. The role of the military in promoting homeland security has expanded although roles of almost each agency involved in security have also increased. The current paper focuses on the management of homeland security with specific reference to the role that the military plays.
The Military’s Role in Homeland Security
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In the past, the role of the military was mixed. According to Kretchik (2011), for over hundred years, the military has concentrated on expeditionary warfare in foreign lands. Moreover, in many instances participation of the military in the internal affairs is sporadic in response to disasters. Following the growing threats to homeland security from activities relating to terrorism, the military has come under pressure to play a bigger role in enhancing homeland security (Wolf, 2007). The department of defense works in conjunction with federal, state, and local-level agencies towards attaining the objective. Significance of the military in contributing to homeland security is apparent given enormous and unique resources in its possession. Such resources are useful in fighting and deterring terrorism and other security threats.
The militry is crucial in intelligence matters. The military plays an integral role in collecting and analyzing intelligence reports (Wolf, 2007). Thus, it is not coincidental that the role of intelligence in improving security is well documented. As Wolf (2007) indicates, intelligence is useful in understanding activities of criminals, terrorists, and any other parties who pose security threats. Moreover, intelligence informs the military and security agencies about tactics that such parties intend to employ in undermining security. Consequently, the military is critical in ensuring security of the country.
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The intelligence role of the military is contentious. As Monahan (2009) observes, Homeland Security requires sharing of information among various agencies involved within the three-tier level of government. The primary concern rests on whether sharing information with state and local agencies compromises classified information on national security. Thus, it is a challenge for federal agencies to pass information to state and local officials. In this regard, the role of the military in homeland security needs reformation to ensure a harmonious working environment.
The military responds to specific issues. Despite the military’s possession of unique resources, there are specific instances when it is called upon to contribute to the country’s security demands. Firstly, the military resourcess are used in cases of extraordinary circumstances such as those that require air patrols or combat (Bluhm et al., 2004). Secondly, the military is called to action when emergency circumstances such as those involving catastrophes, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters occur (Andreas, 2003). Finally, the military is often required to provide security when special events (such as international sports like the Olympics) are taking place.
It is important to note that homeland security differs from homeland defense. On the one hand, homeland security is a collective national effort to control terrorism, lower vulnerability of the country to terrorism, and mitigate the damage resulting from terrorist events (Monahan & Palmer, 2009). On the other hand, homeland defense is military protection accorded within the United States borders in securing domestic populations and infrastructure against aggression from outside. The defense segment also encompasses routine state activities to deter aggressors and prepare the military to act when deterrence measures fail.
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In conclusion, the military plays an important role in contributing to homeland security. However, it is not clear how the contribution has affected the state of security given that security is a shared responsibility. In light of this, conducting a study to ascertain the contribution of the military to homeland security is necessary.
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