The following paper presents a critical review of the book by Pamela A. Collins and Ryan K. Baggett, titled "Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection". The book was published in the year 2009. The review offers a summary of the book and its description, as well as the explanation of its strengths and weaknesses. I will also give my recommendation and opinion about the use of the text by homeland security community.
Summary of the Book
The book "Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection" offers an insightful analysis of the existing gaps in the provision of security in America. The text offers protection plans and future options that the homeland security community in America must choose in the future, in order to keep its important infrastructures from all threats. The first chapters give a debrief background on the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, and how critical infrastructures have evolved in the US past the 9/11. The initial chapters also offer a review of important presidential directives, major legislations, and approaches that have been used to assess the major infrastructures in the provision of security. The following chapters deal with the classification of security infrastructures that fall under the federal management, including the National Incident Management Systems, Assessments for Infrastructure Protection, Energy Systems Fossil Fuels Nuclear Reactions, and Transportation Sector Marine, Road, Rail and Aviation.
The third section of the text gives a clear-cut analysis of the hazards that the United States of America faces in terms of insecurity from all perspectives. It also highlights on the role that the Homeland Security Department can play in averting the occurrence of an insecurity incident. The section also dwells much on the four pillars of homeland security, which must inform the practice of offering a safe environment in the wake of numerous hazards facing the country. The four pillars are listed as prevent, prepare, respond, and recover.
Similarly, in a professional manner, the text evaluates issues of facilities and national icons, public safety, weapons of mass destruction, natural disasters, and geological hazards, as well as accidents, which do occur in various working environments. Other areas that are extensively discussed, include environmental agriculture and food chemicals, and electronic transmissions. The text also offers notes on the issues discussed in different chapters, as well as bibliographies and index. In a nutshell, Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection" offers a compelling and complete evaluation of current vulnerabilities and security gaps, which can jeopardize the provision of security in the United States of American. The text extensively reviews the various systems that are currently in place and the available options to be used in the future in order to keep essential resources from attacks by terrorists.
The critical resources identified in the text include areas of banking, finance, food, water, transport, and telecommunication. The necessity to come up with the various ways of protecting the resources and infrastructure forms the major concern of the homeland security. The authors have proposed various methods of protecting critical infrastructure, including the establishment of standard security systems and measures. They also come up with the need to invest in the areas of information sharing, continuity planning, and creation of buffer zones, intelligence, and public-private partnership.
In their analysis, the authors focus on the most serious threats that each infrastructure component may face. They then proceed and give an analysis of how these infrastructures can be protected with recommendations of what should be done to guarantee a safe future. The book offers graphical analysis in figures and tables, as well as halftones, which reinforces the importance and relevancy of their analysis in relation to the creation of a secure environment in the United States of America. The highlight of the text is that it offers a professional analysis and evaluation of all essentially critical infrastructures, and recommends ways of protecting them from terror attacks. The analysis of what is being done and what needs to be done is excellent. It is done with a major focus on a situation, where the increasing security threat in the aftermath of the terror attack on the country is considered. Generally, the text offers a one-stop shop for all security agencies, and the synergy required to provide security in the country.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The authors' view is that critical infrastructures consist of aspects of economic, political, and social systems that a nation relies on so strongly. Therefore, they believe that any disruption would bring negative consequences. The main argument in the text is that, because the United States of America relies on the identified infrastructures, their security is of great importance. Thus, they explore some of the critical infrastructure and how they can be protected from terrorist attacks.The analysis of the infrastructures and their respective threats is extensively discussed, giving a picture of the work that homeland security department, in collaboration with other agencies, needs to do in order to secure the nation from terror attacks. The authors also give their recommendations on the plans and steps that should be taken in order to achieve particular security protection mechanisms. The use of figures and tables helps to give a clear picture of the actual situation of critical infrastructure and the threats that they face.
From a professional point of view, the analysis of various sectors is exhaustively discussed. It is as though the authors are experts in each of these areas. The referencing is also done from credible, relevant, and current materials. All these make the text more compelling and authoritative, as a tool of reference by security agents, when planning for protection of their infrastructure. The text uses past incidences of insecurity, maximally to authenticate future recommendations on the provision of security services. The other strength is that the text offers case studies, analyses, and notes from other sources, which make it a credible source of diversified information on homeland security. The topics covered in the text are exhaustively discussed and touch in detail all the areas that concern homeland security. The scope of the text is wide enough to allow almost everyone concerned with the American security to get something informative and important from the text. The use of examples and illustrations provides a reader with sufficient information, thus, helps in gleaning information from other sources, which are credible and authoritative.
The weakness of the text is that it touches on so many issues in infrastructure protection within a limited space. The 234-page text is not sufficient to deal with a topic, which is as wide as protection of infrastructure resources. Thus, it fails to refer to all important parts in each of the areas discussed. Furthermore, the text mostly deals with the current challenges, without referring to future ones. The use of tables and figures is not exhaustively done, as a lot of information is left out from the text. Moreover, the fact that the book deals with so many areas of security, it is difficult to be able to find the relevant information in a first reading, without referring to the index offered.
Equally, most of the information presented with regard to identified security threats is recommendations for future solutions. It offers no immediate and tenable solutions to the challenges facing homeland security community. Moreover, the style of writing is also not well suited with limited security parlance. It might be caused by the fact that the authors are not security experts, but rather security analysts, who give their professional views of the protection of critical infrastructure in the provision of security. Finally, with a limited space of only 234 pages, the number of the relevant literature sources reviewed was limited. It means that some important information on the issue may have been left out.
The text is written by the experts in the area of critical infrastructure protection, and their analysis, reviews, and recommendations are in accordance to the existing security threats. Different sectors, which can form point of target by terrorists, are well explored. The book is recommended for use by all security agents, as well as public and private firms. It is a good reference text for all security enforcers, who want to plan and provide security to their infrastructures. It is highly recommended for homeland security community, as it offers a complete and insightful exploration of the areas that could be of interest to the community.
Furthermore, the bibliographies, endnotes, and index given at the end, can greatly help the users to get information from the text or refer to other sources of information, enlisted in the bibliography. The notes give the clarification of issues discussed in the text, and therefore, help the user to get relevant information without necessarily reading the whole text. The book is recommended to others because it offers a thorough and perceptive evaluation of homeland security, and protection of critical infrastructures in an environment full of security threats. The text is valuable to the extent that recommendations made by authors can be implemented. It is also useful because it offers numerous bibliographies that can help the user to get additional information to what is included in the text.