The Challenge H o m e l a n d Security (HLS) has become one of the f o r e m o s t challenges facing nations across the globe. The threat spectrum is getting more diverse, diffused and complex, with a curious mix of mix of crime, organised crime and terrorism. The vicious cycle of violence causing massive devastation and distress in many regions across the globe has religious as well as ethic overtones. A variety of technological, political, economic and cultural influences also continue to shape the contemporary risk spectrum.Internet, social media and evolving technologies are profoundly impacting the narrative. The dramatic capture of Mosul by ISIS, beheadings of Western and Arab hostages widely disseminated on social media, fear of radicalisation of youth, and explosive increase in cyber threats are all part of this increasingly complex narrative.
Against this backdrop, every nation’s security agencies have a critically important mission to safeguard the nation’s critical assets, most importantly its citizens. Axiomatically, these agencies now need more potent means and tools to perform their duties. In order to stay ahead of the bad boys, they must adequately understand and leverage technology. Homeland Security essentially relates to safeguarding national assets from potential threats that can lead to disorder, loss of citizen’s lives and destruction of public and private property. The ‘Homeland Security Management’ landscape primarily comprises of the following elements:
• Border management (air, land, sea, immigration, cargo)
• Critical infrastructure protection
• Counter terrorism (sense making & response)
• Public safety and providing an environment where business and commerce can flourish
• Disaster management
HLS Management – Need for a Comprehensive, Co-ordinated Approach
HLS Management involves actions along multiple areas of national focus and governance, and requires synergy of effort among various stakeholders – the Government, citizens and industry. In addition, in view of internationalisation of crime and terror (including at sea), and common consequences of environmental challenges and disasters across borders, there is a need for coordinated approach among nations of the world, most importantly with geographical neighbours.
A coordinated HLS approach would involve interconnected and complementary initiatives, which reinforce capabilities and not duplicate them. It involves an articulation of an overall strategy, policy and framework for security, safety and emergency management as well as detailed execution plan, earmarking of forces and providing them with capabilities to execute the tasks.
Some of the important action areas that would help in defining and achieving HLS objectives are:
Articulation of Strategy:
Outlining mission, objectives and key initiatives in various areas of national endeavour. The strategy must be dynamic and be reviewed periodically for relevance
Enunciating a Comprehensive Policy Framework:
This would involve laying down roles and responsibilities of participating agencies and parameters for private-public participation, including guidelines for periodic policy revision across agencies
Critical Infrastructure Protection Planning:
Creation of a comprehensive national critical infrastructure protection plan by active participation of experts from government and industry on IT, security, safety, business continuity, disaster management and cyber forensics. This will require harnessing and exploiting appropriate technologies to develop effective protective solutions.
HLS management would involve creation of a formal structure for intelligence management and institutionalised mechanism for inter-agency collaboration by leveraging IT systems
Modernisation of forces earmarked for response in terms of equipment and training. A clearly enunciated incident management and emergency response plan would form an important part of an overall HLS plan.
Medical Emergency Plan:
A comprehensive HLS plan must include earmarking and training of health care