In the spirit of the Lint Center’s aim to progress the next generation of National Security with support for well-rounded individuals, we are proud to present the Mid-Year 2012 Scholarship Winner essays to Lint Center affiliates.
The Intelligence Community: Sharing for Security
National Security threats have plagued the United States since our independence from British rule. As a nation, we have discovered ways to ensure the safety of our citizens, freedoms, and democracy. The establishment of myriad intelligence and law enforcement agencies has met the challenges that arise as a result of our democratic growth and development. These agencies have been organized to target and attack national security threats, both foreign and domestic. The public perception of national security threats are often associated with a range of issues, from narcotics smuggling, weapons, and human trafficking to domestic and foreign terror attacks.
As technology advances new threats emerge. Advanced technology has become an increasingly prevalent tool for radical/extremist groups to carry out threats against the US. With the world’s increasing reliance on technology, so too has the US’s reliance on technology for the operation of defense systems, natural resources management, and economic development. Disconcertedly, the heavy reliance on technology makes infrastructure itself susceptible to corruption and terror attacks from radical/extremist organizations. This vector poses a very viable threat to national security, one that requires a specific skill set to develop effective solutions to ongoing threats.
Until recently most agencies defended their targeted national security issues independently without much interest in sharing intelligence with the rest of the law enforcement and intelligence community. These agencies run operations targeting these threats independently, meanwhile, other agencies may be conducting identical operations and targeting the same threats. Thus, both agencies are conducting and developing their own intelligence and investigative leads, without sharing this crucial information with the other agency. Bridging these communication gaps will help solidify a cohesive investigation to target these threats and the investment in collaborative task forces will better defend the nation from multiple national security threats stemming from radical/extremist groups.
Most organizations, like the Sinaloa Cartel, do not solely threaten the US on one front. The Sinaloa Cartel’s illicit schemes encompass multiple national security issues in order to accomplish their overall goals. Though one of the most dangerous cartels in Mexico, they are still not considered a terrorist organization because their motives are financially-based, however, their actions still plague national security. In order to smuggle drugs into the US and secure power within Mexico, the Sinaloa Cartel must traffic humans, narcotics, weapons, and money to and from Mexico. The aforementioned crimes are national security issues investigated independently by numerous agencies from the FBI, ATF, DEA, Border Patrol, ICE Homeland Security Investigations to other state and local Law enforcement agencies. Greater collaborative or joint task forces could help bridge the intelligence and communications gap between agencies, as well as assist with jurisdictional concerns.
Many agencies also face jurisdictional dilemmas involving the investigation and prosecution of subjects and their illicit activity. With collaborative efforts agencies like the Tucson Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations can better use their unique resources to develop a better intelligence picture which can lead to successful investigations charging subjects on a multi-jurisdictional level. Partnering the Border Patrol with ATF can assist with the investigating and prosecuting of the smuggling of humans and weapons, meanwhile partnering with the FBI can bridge intelligence gaps for potential terror threats.
These partnerships can also encourage resource collaboration. The violence and the illicit activity along the southwest border far surpass the rest of the country. However, smaller agencies have not seen an increase in manpower in relation to the rising crime rates. Further, the majority of federal investigative agencies do not have the law enforcement personnel or the intelligence and enforcement resources needed to conduct the most comprehensive investigations. Larger agencies, like the Border Patrol and some State agencies, can provide the necessary resources needed to keep up with the larger more sophisticated organizations. Thus, combining these resources can enhance the ability for all law enforcement agencies to combat national security threats.
Collaborative or joint task forces are becoming and will be the most proficient way to conduct law enforcement operations in the future. In addition to joint task forces, many agencies within the law enforcement community are establishing a new collaborative effort in intelligence fusions centers. A fusion center’s sole purpose is to share resources and de-conflict amongst partnering agencies. De-confliction conveys to investigative agencies that their investigations are not being pursued by other agencies.
Ultimately, it is the goal of every agency is to ensure that the freedoms, safety, and democracy for all US citizens are preserved and protected against national security threats, and simply, this can be most effectively combatted through the means of collaboration.
To read about Joey Kirshy, the Lint Center’s Mid-Year 2012 Frank and Virginia Misselhorn Memorial Scholarship Winner, please visit our Scholarship Winners page.