**REPLY TO EACH RESPONSE 100 WORDS MIN EACH**
1. As I mentioned in my introduction week 1, I’m a resident of the great state of Wisconsin. While we’re known as “America’s Dairyland”, we also have a great deal of other agriculture in the state, most notable corn (maize). I actually just this morning watched a tractor till up the cornfield that my house backs up to! With that said, agriculture is near and dear to my heart, and I’ve learned more than I bargained for about the industry in my time living here. I’m inclined to agree with Tommy Thompson that it is amazing nobody has attempted to attack our nation’s food supply, and I firmly believe that when that attack finally does come, it will be on our nation’s corn crops. The reason I am so convinced the attack would come against corn crops is that corn has become absolutely ubiquitous. If you name a critical food staple, I’ll explain to you how corn contributes to its production. The field behind my house, for example, grew feed corn this year. Both beef and dairy cows (Yes, they are different breeds, and you wouldn’t want to eat a dairy cow!) eat corn-based feed products. If you destroy a feed corn crop, you not only decrease the dairy cow’s output, but you may kill off some of the population due to hunger, and the same is true of beef cows. In addition to those issues, there’s also the glaring problem of corn grown for human consumption being destroyed. This would not only affect corn sold on the cob, frozen, and in cans, but corn that is then refined into products like corn meal and high-fructose corn syrup. If we lose the corn crop, your favorite soda will likely go with it! Another consideration is that corn is also commonly grown for energy. Ethanol, a corn-based alcohol, is found in the majority of gasoline nowadays. While E85, an 85% ethanol-15% gasoline mixture, is somewhat less popular than it was circa 2010, it’s not uncommon to see up to 15% ethanol in gasoline pumps. It’s particularly common in higher concentrations in premium, higher-octane fuels used in premium and high performance vehicles because it is a cost-effective way to boost fuel’s octane rating. This is why you will often see mid-grade gasoline being sold cheaper than regular, because it has a higher ethanol content. Overall, I think it’s very easy to see why corn crops would be such a valuable target for potential agroterrorists. While corn has become an extremely useful crop, our dependence on a single crop for so much of our food supply and energy supply definitely opens up the possibility for wide-spread damage to the economy should that crop fail due to an agroterrorism attack.
2. When people think of a terrorist attack, images of explosions or 9/11 flash through their minds. When people think of CBRN attacks, they think of people gasping for breath or think of recent pictures of chemical attacks in Syria. But few people think about potential attacks against agriculture, or Agroterrorism. Agroterrorism is deliberate, attacks against a nation’s agricultural industry, most often focused on a nation’s food supply. Even though, economically, the U.S. agricultural industry is not the largest or the most powerful industry in the country, every single person relies on it. Imagine a biological agent (disease) was introduced to something as simple as wheat. This agent spreads quickly and completely destroys the wheat plants it infects. Wheat is used in almost every aspect of the food industry. Whether it’s bread, paper, pharmaceuticals, soaps, adhesives or feed for animals, wheat is used far beyond what most people believe. If a biological agent managed to infect the nation’s supply of wheat, every single industry mentioned above would be affected. Not only that, but many of wheat’s uses still involve being ingested or coming into contact with it, whether by people or animals. This in turn could lead to this sickness spreading or causing other illnesses. This in turn would cause a panic throughout the public, as fear of getting sick from their food would spread. Which could then lead to even greater economic downturn far beyond the wheat industry. Look what happens when there is a beef recall due to Salmonella or some other problem. If people found out that cattle had been eating tainted wheat, would they want to buy beef? Probably not. The threat of Agroterrorism is a far more significant threat than most people realize. The scenario above only looks at one type of agricultural product being attacked, even thought there a many more than just wheat. An attack on any type of agricultural product would have effects far outside the immediate product.
3. Focusing on HUMINT first, this is the collection of information provided by a human source either through oral conversation or documentation (ODNI, 2013). HUMINT is typically collected in either an overt or clandestine methodology. Considering this is the only intelligence discipline in which the collector speaks directly to the source, it has significant capabilities in the amount of information that can be collected. Example, HUMINT is often described as the intelligence discipline that can provide you the “Ground Truth”. It can penetrate a target in ways that no other discipline can. An example of this is to say you are trying to build a pattern of life of a specific building. You may be able to monitor it through ISR to observe people going in and out but it will be extremely difficult to gather everything that is going on inside. A HUMINT source on the other hand who has placement and access to this building could provide you details on specific intel gaps you have about that building. One of the limitations is the timeliness of HUMINT. Every step in the HUMINT recruiting and tasking cycle takes time… A LOT of time. You will not always get the answer you are looking for right away and that is something that people need to really understand about HUMINT if they are trying to leverage it real-time.
4. Some of the capabilities of HUMINT is the collection efforts can be used in any situation and accomplished with minimal equipment. According to the United States Army (2006), operators can deploy in all types of environments and support offensive, defensive, stability and reconstruction operations, or civil support operations. HUMINT operations are done through overt, covert, or clandestine means. It uses human sources to identify elements, intentions, composition, strength, dispositions, tactics, equipment, personnel, and capabilities. Information is obtained through observations, elicitation, debriefings, and exploitation of documents or media. Some of the limitations of HUMINT collection and operations are the human error factors and the time it takes to establish rapport and develop leads as reliable and credible sources. Some of the capabilities of technical collection, such as SIGINT, IMINT, and MASINT, are that all three technical collection disciplines employ electro-optical and radio frequency-based systems to provide unique collection capabilities. These methods enable collectors to intercept signals or communications transmitted electronically through radars, radios, or weapons systems. These transmissions help identify equipment type and locations, i.e. cell phone activity and credit card purchases. Some of the limitations to technical collection are the expensive costs to develop and implement. Technical collection is also limited by the technological capabilities of the intelligence organization. Some technology is relatively easy to out date and countermeasures are often simple (IOSS, 1996).
5. Risk management is pretty much the first step for homeland security to be effective in their goal to protect the nation. Risks must be identified first before any planning can take place with the goal of preventing or dealing with them. “Improved homeland security depends on connecting information about risks, activities and capabilities and using this information to guide prevention, protection, response, and recovery efforts. The establishment of sound risk management practices across DHS and the homeland security enterprise will help protect and enhance national interests, conserve resources, and assist in avoiding or mitigating the effects of emerging or unknown risks.”(Risk Management Fundamentals, 2011) Simply, you can not protect without first determining what you must protect against. In the case of not being able to protect against something, steps and actions must be taken to make the impact less severe and resilience easier. Cyber-security factors into Critical Infrastructure Protection and risk management being that a cyber attack on any of our critical infrastructure sectors could leave us vulnerable and open our nation to other attacks. With updated and more modern technology, all our systems have been connected to the internet in some way. “Because the computer network is tied to the internet, hackers can compromise the industrial control system and wreck havoc on everything from the power grid to transportation networks and more.”(Why Cyber Security is Vital for Homeland Security) Cyber-security wasn’t really an issue in the past, but now, you can achieve almost anything online.
6. This week we are to answer what specific roles does risk management play in homeland security efforts and how does cyber security factor in critical infrastructure. Risk management plays a huge role in risk management. So much in fact that in April of 2011 the Department of Homeland Security published Risk Management Fundamentals Doctrine. In this doctrine they cover a wide array of risk management. Topics such as internal and external source of risk and he risk management process to homeland security. This is not all as throughout homeland security there are various programs and documents outlining steps to avoid risk. One area is under Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security (CISA), the name is National Risk Management Center (NMRC).”The National Risk Management Center (NRMC) helps fulfill the Agency’s risk advisor role by leveraging sector and stakeholder expertise to identify the most significant risks to the nation, and to coordinate risk reduction activities to ensure critical infrastructure is secure and resilient both now and into the future”(CISA, 2020, Para 3). Similar to the DHS and their doctrine it outlines the steps to avoid risk, CISA’s being Identify, Analyze, prioritize and manage (CISA, 2020). Another area I would like to highlight is under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the National Preparedness System. The National Preparedness System is broken up in six components all aimed the management of risk. The six are all steps taken to achieve the national Preparedness goal. Homeland Security in its self is a form of risk management because risk is a form of danger, threat or hazard. The Homeland Security enterprise assess and manages threats and hazards of all kinds, using various documents like the threat assessment. As technology develops it plays an increasing role in our daily life including our infrastructures. If a critical infrastructure were to be hacked it could spell disaster depending on which infrastructure is hacked. CISA plays a huge role in this field by using functions like the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). Operating nonstop “the NCCIC shares information among the public and private sectors to provide greater understanding of cybersecurity and communications situation awareness of vulnerabilities, intrusions, incidents, mitigation, and recovery actions” (CISA, 2020,para 4). Furthermore, they work hard with all levels of government and law enforcement to minimize risks associated to the infrastructures by increasing knowledge amongst sectors and employing Computer Emergency Response teams (CERTs) (CISA, 2020). There are more programs geared in the protection of the infrastructures like Cyber safety, insurance and governance to name a few In short cybersecurity plays a huge role. Have a good week
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