Protecting the Homeland in a Post-9/11 Society

My law school colleague Amos Guiora will be testifying Thursday before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. The hearing is titled "The Resilient Homeland: How DHS Intelligence Should Empower America to Prepare for, Prevent, and Withstand Terrorist Attacks."

Amos' blog has a link to the webcast of the hearing as well as his testimony. Here are some highlights:

To ensure a resilient homeland in a post-9/11 society, the United States must have a homeland security strategy that (1) understands the threat, (2) effectively counters the threat while preserving American values, (3) establishes a system of accountability, and (4) creates public-private and federal-state partnerships facilitating intelligence sharing and the continuity of society in the aftermath of an attack.

It is necessary to work with clear definitions of the terms and concepts that frame this strategy for resiliency. As I have previously articulated, "one of the greatest hindrances to a cogent discussion of terrorism and counterterrorism has been that the terms lack clear, universal definitions." For this reason, I provide clear, concrete definitions of terrorism, counterterrorism, homeland security, effectiveness, accountability, and resiliency—the key terms in articulating the strategy for a resilient homeland. In addition to these definitions, I include two critical matrices for: Determining Effectiveness and Implementing Accountability.

The central focus of this testimony examines the dire consequences of the break-down in communications following both 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, which suggests that in order to realize resiliency in the future, it is paramount that there is clear cooperation and coordination between the public sector and the private sector. Effective resiliency will ultimately be tied to establishing public-private partnerships.

The idea of public-private partnerships in this area is an interesting one that I hope Congress will carefully consider.