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Homeland security – A Robust Counter Terrorism Mechanism


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Homeland security – A Robust Counter Terrorism Mechanism

  1. 1. 1 Homeland Security – A Robust Counter Terrorism Mechanism Sanjay Sahay Introduction The attack on the World Trade Center in 2001 has been by far the single most important event in the history of the modern world and more so because it forced the world to change its perception on the nature of organization, the usage of technology, the responses, the consolidation of activities and spread of mechanisms needed to thwart the ever growing terrorism the world over. The creation of Department for Homeland Security in the US has been the singular event going in for transformational change in the philosophy, blueprint and execution of the counter terrorism initiative. Last 12 years stands as a tribute to the work being done ceaselessly by this organization and its demonstrated capability of keeping US safe and sound since 2001. Being an internal security expert with over two decades of experience, the natural tendency was to speak out my mind in seminars and workshops on this issue. I gave a presentation on this topic a couple of times in the year 2009-2010, the ones I remember vividly were the eGov Conference in Hyderabad and HCL CXO Summit at Udaipur. During these talks and discussions I had the first brush with the concept of Homeland Security in the US. As Public Safety and Security is meaningless without talking about the anti-terror mechanism which also takes care of most of the organized crime, I went on straying into this sector, till the time I realized that Homeland Security is the future of Internal Security. Homeland Security pertains to the anti-terror mechanism laid and operated in the US. The features and functionalities remain the same across the globe, the difference is manifested in the technical and police professional expertise and also the capability to legislate and lay down correct operating procedures and also put in place the monitoring, supervision and the oversight mechanism.
  2. 2. 2 In India a plug and play mechanism is still a long way off and so a technological framework is the need of the hour. In the FICCI Conference on Homeland Security in New Delhi in 2011, I proposed the Technological Framework for Safe and Secure Cities in India. This would lay a solid foundation for Homeland Security in India besides CCTNS and NATGRID projects which aims at providing information to the police in general and thus caters the anti-terror segment as well, sometimes directly and at other times indirectly. Mega City Mega City Policing Project initiated in 2005 underlined the criticality of big cities as the economic growth engines of the nation and a counter terrorism mechanism for these cities would be a formidable beginning in our against terrorism. The consolidation of the same would lead to the connecting of the cities on a national network, functionally and otherwise and help facilitate the extension of this network across the country at a later stage. Even if we consider 9/11 as the first major city terrorist attack, the intensity of which shook the world for all times to come there is no denying the fact that the world is replete with incidents when its major cities have been the target of terrorist attacks and the life in that city and country got completely paralyzed, getting back to normal a nearly insurmountable task, with economy shaken to the core. Mumbai 26/11 is a case in point and all Indians have nearly accepted the fact that terrorist attacks are a part of city living and we have to live with it. There is no single Indian big city which has not been the target of this attack. How do we leverage technology to counter terrorism is the question? The gaping holes in the technologies used for Homeland Security and its spread has a singularly dangerous impact on the counter terrorism scenario in the country. We intend to achieve the functionalities when the basic issues related to execution, backend processes and it its robustness is still in question. What is the need of the hour is the identification of technological platforms as the first foundation stone of Homeland Security in India. I proposed the Technological Framework for Safe and Secure Cities in India (TFSSC) at a FICCI Conference in June 2011 and since then gained acceptability at a very fast pace amongst the stakeholder community.
  3. 3. 3 Technological Framework (TFSSC) Technological Framework intends to be the game changer for Homeland Security, providing the precursor to generating the functionalities, the output of the Homeland Security System. Lack of standardization and uniformity of technological platforms has been the major drawback. This is the basis for the creation of smart cities and their integration, a technological framework on which the nations Homeland Security Mechanism would function. This would lead to the creation of National Homeland Security Resource Base and Incident Support System. (NHLS – RBISS). I would be discussing the main components of the TFSSC in the ensuing paragraphs. Command and Control Center (CCC) City based command and control centers integrating all feeds radio, audio, video, text, data, images and graphics from different channels, through a viable command and control center software, creating in the process a state of art C4I command and control center. It would have the capability to handle worst of the terror attacks and natural disasters at one end and day to day responsive policing at the other end. Interception Systems (IS) The capability to monitor and penetrate into any mode of communication and storage for the required suspected information/data and the capability to analyze and connect to our requirements on a real time basis is the urgent need and utility of the Interception Systems which needs to be put in place, upgraded or scaled up, as the case may be. City Based Video Surveillance System (CBVSS) CBVSS has the proven track record for providing the best information (video footage) to investigators of terror attacks across the globe, Kasab, being the prime example here. Technologically, way ahead of CCTV networks, with video analytics in built into the system, it helps find meaning in hours and hours of video footage, giving the precise output and the connects the investigator is looking for. A deterrent and a must for any big city today.
  4. 4. 4 TETRA Radio Network (TRN) TETRA telecommunications system takes the Police Communication to the fully digital mode with a complete integration of all communication gadgets and delivery of high quality voice/data and other related outputs. TETRA eludes India. In reality it is an excellent public safety communication network, improves our response to War on Terror, organized crime and disaster management. Geospatial Technology for HLS (GTHLS) Conventional inputs are unable to provide actionable data. The map of today is geospatial imagery/information, the third eye as it is nicknamed. Geospatial products and intelligence are critical to planning, preparation and response to terror attacks, natural & other disasters and supports incident management. It is a great tool for regulation, enforcement, monitoring and supervision. ERP Solution, RDBMS and Integration (ERI) RDBMS is critical to the functioning of any organization and ERP provides for populating the data on a real time basis, bringing the complete functioning of the department on the ERP, in Karnataka, the POLICE IT. Then integration of the legacy
  5. 5. 5 systems with the ERP provides for the functionalities with which the end users have been accustomed for long, on a single sign in sign out concept. Managerial Response to War on Terror (MRWT) Gap analysis shows a huge gap in the learning, skills and attitude of internal security managers which ought to be bridged. The human resources should be better than the technical system created and made functional. Utility is how best we utilize. Innovative methods inclusive of outbound learning needs to inculcated as a part of high end training. Change management is the most critical component of our way forward. Professionalism leading to globally accepted deliverables is the ultimate value addition. Integration to NHLS – RBISS All the technologies are extremely complex given the nature of planning, execution, robust functioning for a country of the size of India and differential levels of technologies and differential levels of mental frames in existence in the establishment. All the above mentioned technologies has to be executed at the division level in each of the seven cities, then integrated intra at the city level and integrated inter at the national level. For technologies that cannot be broken down to the division level, the infrastructure has to be created at the city level and integrated at the national level. Needless to say, it will not need intra city integration. The national integration of a single technology can be done at any desired place depending on lot many critical inputs and the integration of all technologies, I feel should be done in or around Delhi and a mirror image of the same at a strategic location selected after considering all critical inputs. This integrated network would be called as National Homeland Security – Resource Base and Incident Support System. (NHLS – RBISS)
  6. 6. 6 National Homeland Security Blueprint The beginning of this grandiose plan set to have a transformational impact on the Homeland Security scenario of the country is yet to be made. The world’s best buildings were a blueprint one day. A blueprint is the first to crystallize our thoughts, it could take a large number of revisions, nonetheless it has to start. Time seems to be running out. A documentary shape to this dream can be given by way of National Homeland Security Blueprint, which would later become a proof of concept and finally a working document ushering in the Homeland Security age in India, a robust Homeland Security functional mechanism, thus taking this dialogue to its logical conclusion. Conclusion The American experience and its successes have been the reference points world-wide, our journey at its best can be marginally different. The integration of administrative mechanisms, the geographies, the technologies and an ideal managerial component to create and run the system is only way out of the whirlpool, we are in. Any delay will lead to resurrection more and more difficult and the chance of catching up with the enemies of mankind and beating them might be lost for a considerable time to come which unimaginable adverse impact on the economy, society, polity and the Indian psyche. National resolve is to solve the most intractable issue that terrorism is.
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