Preparing for the Unexpected
Since the September 11th attacks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented plans to prevent terrorism and enhance security throughout the nation. The most recent Department of Homeland Security Strategic Plan supports these missions and includes plans to sufficiently prepare for crises and deter events like terrorist attacks.
Along with the strategic plan DHS already has in place, DHS can use the following problem solving techniques to stay prepared for catastrophic crises:
- Specialized scenario-based training to prepare for unexpected attacks
- Coordination with local law enforcement to identify potential threats
Scenario-based training helps employees practice about how to react during “real world” situations. It is often applied to law enforcement or disaster first responders, for example. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Introduction to Scenario-Based Training guide compares scenario-based training to playing the piano. The most basic piano playing involves learning a specific arrangement of notes to form a song. However, advanced piano players learn to adapt to their environment and are always prepared to play any song at the request of their listeners.
Through more frequent and expanded use of scenario-based training, DHS would put its personnel through realistic scenarios and evaluate how each employee reacts and makes quick decisions. Through this training, each DHS employee, especially those who regularly interact with potential acts of violence, gains experience about how to react during unexpected situations.
In addition to scenario-based training, coordinating with local law enforcement agencies is also important to identifying potential threats. While local law enforcement officials primarily focus on keeping the immediate area free of crime and violence, they can also help solve larger-scale problems by reporting potentially dangerous individuals or groups to the proper Federal agencies.
Though DHS has a strategic plan in place to address terrorism, this plan must constantly evolve to adapt to new and emerging threats. Advances in technology and growing terrorist groups are increasingly putting the United States at risk, which means DHS and other Federal agencies must always be as prepared as possible for the unexpected.