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Rethinking Homeland Security: A Global Security Firm Executive's Thoughts for Making the Nation Safer

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2004 Pages: 8,10,12,13
Sanford Wexler
Date Published
January 2004
4 pages
This article presents proposals for domestic counterterrorism security offered by Michael Cherkasky, president of Kroll Inc., a leading international security firm, and author of "Forewarned," an assessment of U.S. domestic security measures against terrorism.
Cherkasky has warned that Americans on American soil are no more safer today than they were before September 11. Although the Federal Government has established a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and maintains that it is taking terrorist threats seriously, Cherkasky believes that most of what has been done has given the appearance of greater security without providing substantive change in intelligence and security procedures. The 18 agencies of the DHS have brought different cultures and systems that carry the seeds of a massive bureaucratic failure, and the FBI and the CIA, 2 of the primary agencies involved in national security, are not part of the DHS. Cherkasky envisions a national security program with a multilayered approach, which he calls the Proteus Plan, named after a son of Neptune who was known for his wisdom and ability to predict future events, as well as his ability to quickly change his shape. The Proteus Plan is intended to help security agencies foresee future terrorist attacks and is designed for maximum flexibility, capable of being rapidly adjusted and modified in accordance with changes in the level and nature of the threat. The network of security measures would involve the individual, the corporation, the government, and the international community. Corporations would be legally required to secure the infrastructure that they control, such as power plants, pipelines, and airlines. Local and State governments as well as the Federal Government would be required to safeguard government-owned facilities and public infrastructure. The Federal Government must engage other nations in the design and implementation of structures of cooperation regarding security issues of mutual interest, such as the control of weapons materials and technology, as well as the sharing and coordination of intelligence. Cherkasky further advocates the creation of a Domestic Intelligence Bureau (DIB) that would partner with State and local law enforcement agencies. The DIB would engage in domestic spying that would include surveillance and wiretapping. All three branches of the Federal Government would oversee the proposed DIB. Cherkasky also proposes the creation of a "national identity card" that would contain information already widely available to government agencies and big businesses through electronic databases. The cards would be used to address many of the practical problems of security. The identity of the card holder could be protected by a biometric screening device. Port security is a significant security problem, and Cherkasky believes it is possible to keep close tabs on every shipping container that enters the United States by means of an identification system linked to an international database. Cherkasky recognizes that an effective security system will require public education about the nature of the domestic threat and the committed leadership of politicians who can withstand the criticism that many proposed security measures will bring.