Part 5

The Alternative Approach: A Description of Support Functions and

Efforts Needed for Maximizing Homeland Security


The following kinds of support functions and efforts are needed in order to help ensure homeland security:


~ emergency management and emergency medical management, including preparedness, mitigation, response, contingency planning, crisis management, consequence management, and recovery
~ individual, family, and neighborhood and community preparedness
~ business and industry preparedness, mitigation, and protection
~ regional, state, and local emergency management
~ infrastructure preparedness, protection, contingency management, crisis management, consequence management, response, and recovery
~ public communication, information, and education of everyone from the general public to those who are in positions of public responsibility
~ public awareness and education and the media
~ media awareness and support for a constructive role for the media
~ development and implementation of public alert and warning systems
~ development and deployment of alert, warning, and information-sharing systems that are designed to keep individuals in positions of public responsibilities informed and to help support collaborative efforts
~ educating, training, and supporting first responders
~ educating, training, and supporting public works responders
~ educating and training in the areas of preparedness, mitigation, and protection
~ education and training of individuals in roles of public responsibility, including education and training initiatives focusing on capability and skills development for individuals who are a part of local, state, and Federal workforces with homeland security-related responsibilities
~ organizational development and change involving government efforts
~ research development and application
~ innovation diffusion, including technology innovation and application
~ knowledge, research, and technology transfer efforts
~  thinktank-type efforts that track developments and recommend initiatives to decisionmakers
~  the development and operation of clearinghouses, including the identification of model programs, approaches, policies, and legislation; the compilation and proactive dissemination of lessons learned; and the providing of technical assistance and organizational change assistance
~  intra- and inter-agency relations, networking, and coordination
~  intergovernmental relations, networking, and collaboration
~  relations and collaboration with Congress and other legislative bodies at the State and local levels
~  public/private sector networks, partnering, information sharing, and collaboration
~  international relations, networks, and collaboration.


Some Approaches and Initiatives Based on the Alternative Definition of the Problem


A set of alternative approaches and initiatives for homeland security are offered here.   Many of these initiatives were noted previously in Paula D. Gordon (December 2001).  Other initiatives have been outlined in Paula D. Gordon, January 2002, August 2002, and 1998 and 1999.


Some Specific Initiatives That Are a Part of the Alternative Approach

The best approaches from the past need to be considered and applied where appropriate.  With respect to the restoration of economic security, this includes:


~ Instituting Policies and Programs that Foster Full Employment as a Means of Stabilizing the Economy and Strengthening National Security.  A top priority is finding gainful and useful employment for all who are unemployed or underemployed.  In addition to implementation of a stimulus package, this can be accomplished using a range of innovative means, including providing people with opportunities for part-time work and job-sharing that would allow them an opportunity to draw a salary while looking for work in their field or while retraining when retraining is necessary.


Other approaches include providing for microenterprise and small business loans, fostering the exchange of services ("time dollar" type approaches), and the exchange of commodities for other commodities or services.  Innovative low-cost approaches to housing need to be explored and implemented to stave off and reverse the increases in the homeless population.  Programs that address the growing problem of hunger in America are also direly needed.  Job fairs, online services, and counseling need to be fostered.   Other ways of connecting people up with jobs are needed.  More people need to be trained in employment services.


~ Sponsoring and/or Finding Sponsorship for Public Works-Type Projects.  The development by the public or private sector of the kinds of public works projects that brought the nation out of the Depression and the kinds of efforts that went into the implementation of the Marshall Plan. In those areas where government does not take the lead, then the private sector, the not-for-profit sector, and the general public need to take the initiative.


Individuals are needed to plan, develop, manage, and carry out public works projects, projects that will help rebuild and strengthen those elements of the nation's physical infrastructure that have been in need of attention for decades.   For the sake of national security, economic security, and personal and societal security, America's physical infrastructure is in dire need of attention.  (The American Society of Civil Engineers has done an excellent job of assessing the dismal status of the nation's physical infrastructure, ASCE, 2001. See Appendix 1.)   It bears noting that in The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets (February 2003), the authors express a very different view concerning the condition of the nation's physical infrastructure.  They state that "our infrastructure is generally robust and resilient."


~  Increasing Security-Related Efforts.  Increased attention needs to be given to addressing security needs that currently exist.  For instance, additional security personnel are needed in airports, mass transit systems, private and public buildings, nuclear power plants, chemical plants, refineries, and hazardous material facilities.  Additional personnel are needed in law enforcement.  Additional personnel are need in cybersecurity.  Persons are needed to develop continuity of operations plans, data backup systems, and backup telecommunication systems.
~ Shoring Up and Expanding Emergency Preparedness Efforts.  Individuals are needed who are skilled or who are interested in being train in any of the various aspects of emergency preparedness, including:  disaster mitigation, contingency planning, response, recovery, consequence management, and continuity of operations planning and operations.   Currently available training opportunities, including free training through FEMA that is available online, need to be more widely publicized. 


~ Developing and Implementing Education and Training Initiatives for Homeland Security.  Major education and training initiatives aimed at capacity building for addressing challenges relating to homeland and national security need to be undertaken.   (See Paula D. Gordon, August 2002 for specific recommendations.)


~ Expanding Knowledge Transfer, Clearinghouse Efforts, including Information Dissemination, Training, and Technical Assistance Efforts 

A central information clearinghouse is needed immediately, one manned by information specialists. ( that was launched by FEMA in November of 2002, could serve as the basis for such a service or that was launched by the Department of Homeland Security in February of 2003, or an amalgamated effort involving the two.
~ Augmenting Health and Medical-Related Services.   Social and mental health services, as well as health care services in general need to be expanded.  More people need to be trained to serve in such roles.


~  Strengthening National, Economic, Societal, and Individual Security in Other Ways.  Approaches need to be developed and implemented that will encourage the temporary (if not a long term) reconsideration of pay scales for those in both the public and private sectors.  Attention needs to be given to the examples of those individuals in the private sector who since September 11 have announced their intention to forego their annual bonuses and/or reduce their salaries.  Innovative approaches that companies can use to diversify products and services need to be explored.   Other ways of "saving" companies and enterprises need to be explored and information concerning interesting approaches needs to be made available, including employee ownership and investment options. Innovative ways need to be found to keep people usefully employed without resorting to layoffs.  Best practices need to be followed when layoffs cannot be avoided.  Business for Social Responsibility ( is one source of such best practices.    The growing number of layoffs needs to be stopped and reversed.




Undertaking such a multi-pronged strategy will have the effect of strengthening essential aspects of the nation's infrastructure.  The value of the strategy, however, may become increasingly compelling with time as layoffs continue and strains to economic stability become more apparent.  The abundance of good will, patriotism, and constructive and creative energy still available in the wake of 9/11 makes this an opportune time to build support for and implement such a strategy.  It is hard to imagine a better moment to join forces to do what we can to strengthen national security, economic security, and personal security.   The future of humankind may well depend on America's ability to remain a stable and steadying force in the world.


Different Approaches to Understanding and Assessing Vulnerabilities


How does one begin to consider or assess vulnerabilities in the post-9/11 world?  Indeed beyond what common sense can readily reveal, how much more effort is needed to gauge vulnerabilities?   What good does it do to analyze scenarios and their possible impacts if insufficient attention is given to taking common sense steps that would increase our chances of surviving, responding, recovering, and ensuring continuity in the wake of whatever may come our way?  Taking such steps, of course, could help minimize current vulnerabilities.




Return to Paula Gordon's Homeland Security Page or to Part 6