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Book Review: Introduction to Homeland Security, Second Edition

?CRC Press;; 410 pages; $71.95.

It was only fourteen years ago that the term �homeland security� first entered the American lexicon. The 9-11 attacks fundamentally redirected the security posture of the country from defending U.S. interests overseas to protecting citizens and critical infrastructure at home. Introduction to Homeland Security chronicles the evolving world of homeland security concepts, organizations, and initiatives. �

Authored by a team of academics and practitioners, this second edition is structured as a textbook and thus includes highlighted chapter objectives, key terms, and questions for discussion. The intended audience is the college student or the entry-level professional. The book aims to provide an examination of current and future challenges and ��how the United States has chosen to confront these threats with both its military and civilian agencies.�

The goal is a bold one especially considering the wide swath of functional areas that now fall under the homeland security umbrella. The authors accurately describe how U.S. homeland security strategy was initially concerned with only thwarting terrorist attacks from overseas. However, homeland security topics now include emergency management, natural hazards, domestic threats, epidemics, cybersecurity, and public-private collaboration. Providing information on all these aspects of homeland security is a complex challenge for the authors. They succeed when relating the many organizations, agencies, functions, and capabilities essential to a homeland security strategy; however, the organization of the volume is somewhat disjointed, and inaccuracies have found their way into the book.

With six authors and the wide range of subjects to be covered, uneven focus might be expected. The second chapter, for example, contains 20 pages of national security history that adds some context, but is not necessary. Is it reasonable to describe Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs as a domestic threat synonymous with terrorism? The 1981 murders of three American nuns and a missionary in El Salvador are described as an act of terrorism�in fact, that tragedy is a bit more complicated.�

Examples of errors in the book include a reference to the nonexistent Defense Investigative Agency, which probably should have been the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Also, the designations MI5 and MI6 are now formally referred to as the British Security Service and the British Secret Intelligence Service, respectively.

Despite these miscues, Introduction to Homeland Security provides a detailed examination of the many facets that comprise contemporary homeland security. It�s useful as an overview of today�s homeland security environment. For the student or young professional, there is ample material to learn the scores of organizations, stakeholders, and personalities. The authors do a commendable job informing the reader that security is not simply a function of armed personnel at fence lines and checkpoints. Disaster preparedness, mitigation, and recovery are critical capabilities that complement security planning. The homeland security practitioner should be as knowledgeable of natural threats (drought, tornadoes, hurricanes, and epidemics) as of terrorist groups. �

This book supports a holistic approach to threat management. First responders as well as executive planners need to broaden their horizons and be inclusive of other professional perspectives and standards. Can the FBI special agent learn from the federal government�s response to Hurricane Katrina? Can Customs and Border Protection officers perform more effectively if they are aware of critical infrastructure priorities? Can the private sector support the logistical requirements of disaster recovery? Questions such as these are the drivers of contemporary homeland security strategy.


Reviewer: Anthony McGinty, CPP,�is an intelligence analyst at Los Angeles International Airport; his focus is�on�terrorism-related threats to travelers, critical infrastructure,�and aviation operations.? He is a member of ASIS.