Homeland Security and Overseas Missions
Terrorism is one of the main threats to economic stability in any country as it inhibits the prevalence of a peaceful environment for institutions and private individuals to do business efficiently. High prevalence of insecurity cases usually leads to unfortunate economic situations, as witnessed among countries that have had such issues in the past. The United States, under the Department of Homeland security, however, has set up necessary structures and resources to ensure that the wellbeing of all Americans for economic stability. This paper discusses whether it is effective to have U.S elements in overseas missions, as there seems to have a divided consensus over such operations.
It is not an effective means of countering terrorism by having United States elements in a foreign land because it puts much pressure on the nation’s security budget. The United States is among the leading countries that spend highly on security in the world, which is not consistent with the nation’s budget. In 2018, the United States spent approximately 45 billion dollars on the department of homeland security, one of the highest amounts of capital spent on a security department as compared to other countries across the world (Department of National Homeland Security). The budget puts much strain on the nation’s budget, which was at a deficit of 779 billion dollars as of 2018. Although the issue of national security is critical to economic growth, the spending is not consistent with the countries budget as it has a recurring deficit that should be mitigated by minimizing spending as much as possible. According to Friedman, Harper, and Preble (2010), counter-terrorism is not effective in the long-term especially when carried in oversea territories as it leads to unnecessary government spending. In this case, having U.S elements in a foreign land is not as effective as it should be as it adds more pressure to the country’s overall security budget.
Moreover, using the available resources on oversea missions demands a significant amount of human resources, which leaves a national deficit on the security officers in the country. Military troops and other related officers on duty on missions outside the country make the country’s security incapable of addressing local threats whenever they happen. The above scenario leads to limited internal surveillance, which is the best viable option when addressing insecurity. In this case, Paing (2016) compares the effectiveness of sending troops for oversea missions to fight terrorism with the option of internal surveillance to conclude that they are ineffective. Besides, there is a significant loss of life in a foreign land of which, the threats could be minimal if operating within the borders.
On the other hand, having U.S elements in overseas missions improves that nation’s security as it gives the U.S. military a better chance of combating terrorist activities before they can spread to other countries. The decision to send agents for overseas missions comes from the military perspective that any activity conducted in a single place is likely to cause ripples to other parts. In this case, allowing terrorist to continue their malicious acts in their counties would ripple to neighboring countries and eventually find its way to the United States. The best scenario to explain this is the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. soil by A.L. Qaeda. Although the United States had not actively participated in overseas missions before, the attacks on U.S soil was a valid reason to join the war on terror. The strategic response to the attack by the Afghanistan militia was a well calculated move to attack their operation bases and make them incapable of carrying more attacks on U.S. soil (Taddeo, 2010). The decision was effective as there has never been a similar attack of such magnitude on the country again.
The U.S. elements in a foreign land are effective as they help the country to have more surveillance options to countries that have been considered enemies of the United States. Having these personnel helps the security department to be in tabs with the latest developments in global security. The primary approach here is to address insecurity from the source other than to prepare to address it in its latter stages. Given the cost that might be incurred in case, a terrorist attack happens, having oversea elements is far much effective than monitoring terrorist groups from the local stations. From an economic perspective, it is easier and effective to prevent insecurity than to fight it at the local ground as it would disrupt the business operations if not bring in losses in case of attacks. According to Drakos (2010), terrorism lowers investor sentiment and business activities that have a direct effect on a countries economy. In this case, it is better and far much practical to have such persons overseas monitoring and fighting terrorists whenever possible for the sake of the country’s economy.
U.S involvement in oversea activities has both negative and positive implications. On the negative side, it is quite costly to the country’s economy. It also exposes the country to internal threats that could be addressed if the number of personnel overseas was made available locally. However, from a positive aspect, it helps the country to thwart terrorist plans before they can ripple to other countries. Surveillance also enables the country to be more aware of the terrorist activities and possible plans in advance to mitigate any effects of such activities. These activities could bring in serious economic consequences to the economy, and therefore having overseas elements is the best applicable approach towards dealing with terrorism.
Drakos, K. (2010). Terrorism activity, investor sentiment, and stock returns. Review of financial economics, 19(3), 128-135.
Friedman, B. H., Harper, J., & Preble, C. A. (Eds.). (2010). Terrorizing Ourselves: Why U.S. counter-terrorism policy is failing and how to fix it. Cato Institute.
Paing, H. (2016). The War on Terror, How the Strategies Used by the United States against Islamic Extremism Have Been Ineffective.
Taddeo, V. (2010). U.S. response to terrorism: A strategic analysis of the Afghanistan campaign. Journal of Strategic Security, 3(2), 27-38.