Meeting the Challenge of Facility Protection for Homeland Security

Ernest Sternberg 1  and George C Lee 2
  • 1 University at Buffalo, State University of New York
  • 2 University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Terrorism casualties in the U.S. have been caused primarily by attacks on facilities. In earthquake, hurricane, infectious disease outbreaks, hazmat releases, and other disasters, peoples’ safety often depends on the facilities they occupy. Yet strategic homeland security documents issued by the White House and the US Department of Homeland Security focus on the protection of "infrastructures," understood to consist mainly of utility systems, and rarely on facilities per se. For other than federal office buildings and infrastructure nodes, federal plans barely acknowledge the urgent task of protecting civilian facilities. This article gives evidence for the importance of facilities to homeland security. Are facilities so varied and numerous that it would be cost-prohibitive to implement a national protection strategy? The article argues that it would not be. Economies of scope in multi-hazard protection, existing legal and accreditation frameworks, new possibilities for integrating information systems, and the nation’s many facility-safety professionals are all valuable resources on which to build. The U.S. should identify facility protection as a distinctive field of homeland security policy and proceed by supporting decentralized initiatives.

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The Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (JHSEM) publishes original, innovative and timely articles describing and assessing research and practice in the fields of homeland security and emergency management. JHSEM promotes a comprehensive and dynamic perspective, providing readers with up-to-date information regarding the evolving nature of the homeland security and emergency management fields.