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Technology and Homeland Security

17 Jan 2017Science and Technology Essays

The title of the article is “Technology and Homeland Security” written by Kevin Coleman and was published last March 6, 2003 in the Technolytics journal. The article is about the role of technology in the aspect of homeland security, especially now that we are living in a world driven by science and technology. There is a need for improved technology in order to cope up with the changing times. This is because technology is not only being used for a good cause but also for evil purposes like terrorism (Coleman, 2003).

There is an implied research question in the article, which is about how technology can be used in the context of homeland security. It dealt with the implications which technology have on homeland security and defense. In relation to this, concepts like weapons of disruption and destruction are defined, because it belongs to the offensive purpose of technology on homeland security. Another is regarding the defensive aspect of technology, wherein it can be used as tools of detection and tools of protection (Savino, 2003). These are applied to terrorists’ cases, wherein there is both the need for an offensive and defensive strategy, for the homeland security to become fully functional.

There is a hypothesis being implied by the article in relation to homeland security. It is about the application of technology in this context, whether it can be used as an offensive means, a defensive tool, or both. The offensive application refers to any resource or technology which can be used as a means to destroy the enemy and their resources, consequently stopping or preventing them from continuing acts of terrorism in the country.

Some examples of these offensive applications include bombs, missiles, tanks, and many more. On the other hand, the defensive application refers to any resource or technologies which can be applied in order to reduce the destructive capabilities of an enemy, which is in this case, are the international terrorists. Some examples of this are radars, sensors, satellite detection tools, intelligence gathering networks, and many more.

With the article, the author is able to answer the “so what” question, as he was able to stress the importance of technology in the aspect of homeland security. With reference to previous incidences of terrorism suffered by the country, the author presents statistics of the number of lives being lost to terrorism. This is an obvious consequence of terrorism, which, according to the article, can be averted with the use of modern technologies. It is convincing in a sense that you wouldn’t want any of those things to happen again, which would encourage you to think of possible ways to avoid it, and further improving the technology of the homeland security is one way of doing so.

The study is unique in a way that it proposed two possible facets of improving the technology of the homeland security, which are the defensive and offensive applications. The output of an improvement in technology would usually one sided, depending on what would be the focus of the improvement. But in the aspect of homeland security, there is a need for both the offensive and defensive applications, if they really want to end the threats of terrorism.

The points made by the article are on two aspects, the offensive applications of technology to homeland security and the defensive applications. This is because it deals with the two aspects of homeland security simultaneously, explaining how one could affect the other’s situation. The paper also pointed out concepts like white operations and black operations, or essentially how the technology is being deployed. White operations are the ones which are visible or disclosed to the public, like upgrades in monitoring systems, or new policies that they would follow in homeland security.

One the other hand, black operations are the technologies or resources which are not visible or disclosed to the public, as the information being withheld is essential or strategic for the employment of homeland security. An example would new surveillance tools being deployed to enemy bases which are not obviously seen by the terrorists (National Terror Alert, 2007).

There is no literature review included in the article, as there were no sources cited. Because of this, the article clearly lacks integrity, and the truthfulness is questioned. In order for an article to become a reliable source of information, it should also be able to cite where the information it uses comes from. Because the article being reviewed lacked the necessary references and citations, the information it contains is not valid and is highly questionable.

The author doesn’t clearly describe the method of collecting and analyzing data. It just presents the information as it is, with no attribution or further explanations of how they arrived with such information. In relation to this, the author only mentioned of a possibility of investigating the application of technology in four specific areas on homeland security and defense. It doesn’t clearly explain what it wants to do and what they aim to achieve. Again because of this, the paper lacked reliability and so, it cannot be considered as a valid source of information.

There is no discussion of variables in the article, though it stressed on points like the offensive and defensive applications of the technology and what types of operation should be conducted, whether it is white or black. The possible variables being described could be the type of offense or defense it could be used, depending on the purpose of using it. The author readily gives information about alternative point of views, like how technology can be used either for protection or for aggression, or whether information would be disclosed to the public or should it remain secret for a period of time.

The studies findings are merely affirming the obvious stand even from the start, which is about the uses of technology, either as an offensive application or defensive application. It shows that the technology is useful in both ways, as it can be used to destroy the terrorists, as well as promote peace and order to the rest of the population. These results are not valid because it is not supported by statistical data and computations, and it also doesn’t have any reference to the results of previous researches and studies. The consequence of this would be biased results, as it has already been injected with the opinion of the author.

The conclusion follows from the evidence provided, however, the evidence provided are not really arranged in any logical order, and it lacks attribution, referencing and citation, which is why its credibility and reliability is very questionable. Because of this, I am not truly persuaded by the article, as I don’t have any means of proving whether it is true or not. With the amount of information readily available for anyone during these times, it is really hard to trust which content is really truthful and reliable.

The author addresses the implications of these results, as it tackles about the future of homeland security with the application of technology. The author has also made a long range technology forecast regarding how weapons would get personal by 2015, which he does not support with any valid evidence. He also forecasted about new types of weapons, those which possesses alternative intelligences so that it could target specific inpiduals. Again, this far-fetched idea is not supported by any references, which makes it useless and unreliable.

Finally, when it comes to the strengths and limitations of the study, it only boils down to one concern – the validity of the information contained by the article. We can’t fully trust it because the opinions and facts contained in it are not really cited properly or makes references of previous works. The strengths would be more on the future forecast approach, wherein it focuses on the long term effects of technology to homeland security, as well s the short term benefits that can be achieved from it. However, the limitations of the study include the proximity of the ideas, as it based solely in the situation of the United States, and is not really proven to be applicable in other countries as well.

References:

  • Coleman, K. (2003). Technology and Homeland Security. Retrieved June 27, 2008, from http://www.directionsmag.com/article.php?article_id=302&trv=1
  • National Terror Alert. (2007). Homeland Security. Retrieved June 27, 2008, from http://www.nationalterroralert.com/overview/
  • Savino, D. (2003). CDI Terrorism Project Factsheet: The Sky Marshal Program. Retrieved June 27, 2008

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